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Publisher's Summary

The masterful new novel from the number one best-selling author of Small Great Things.

The Center for women's reproductive health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice.

Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.

Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.

Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point.

And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose. 

©2018 Jodi Picoult (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about A Spark of Light

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    2 out of 5 stars

Nice concept...but I didn't enjoy it

I have previously loved all Picolt's novels, but I felt the backwards timeline didn't work. Already knowing the outcome for some characters made several 'twists' very predictable.

3 people found this helpful

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Not Picoult's best

The story was start stop, and I'm still confused with how quickly it ended. Jodi Picoult has written some amazing novels. This would not be one of them.

2 people found this helpful

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Bit slow

The subject matter is important and the author handled it well. But I found the storyline slow to evolve and I got bored. This book just isnt for me.

2 people found this helpful

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Awful as an Audiobook.

I have listened to 100’s of Audiobooks and this one simple doesn’t work. The story is fine but it has Avery very confusing timeline that is hard to follow.
Best get a hard copy!

2 people found this helpful

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It didn't finish....

I felt that there was still to many questions at the end.

To many questions about pivotal characters... What happened to Elizabeth, Izzy and Joy? Did the clinic reopen?

The story will make you angry, sad and amazed at times. There was some parts that lingered just a little too much. Not one of my favourites from Jodi Picoult.

2 people found this helpful

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Not her usual style

A different style and I am not a fan.
I dont like short stories and this is basically a collection of short stories about the same topic. The usual gritty storyline that you can get your teeth into just wasnt there I'm afraid. Not one of her better books.

1 person found this helpful

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Skip

Not one of her better ones, and clearly biased toward a specific agenda. Uneven and cliche in parts.

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Closure

I love this author and I will continue to read her books however this book didn’t provide closure on the many key characters which is a huge missing for me. The timeline went backwards which was confusing and although I found it an interesting read, I wish I knew how the characters moved forward after being held hostage.

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Difficult subject matter

This took me a while to get into. The backward story line had me confused until I found the rhythm and could follow it more easily. The story is a powerful one of choice, faith and controversy which tugs at the reader’s heartstrings for a number of reasons. There is never a valid reason to rampage anywhere, let alone through an abortion clinic which is full of women making difficult decisions, and the author tackled the subject respectfully.

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excellence in words - my first Jodi Picoult book.

the character development and way she gets into people's head to show two sides of a very complicated debate from very personal perspectives is talented

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  • V_Nerdbooks
  • 27-01-2019

4 Hard Hitting Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Hard Hitting Stars

#TriggerWarnings - Abortion / Racism / Rape


The story starts out at 5pm at a Clinic in Jackson Mississippi, a gunman has opened fire inside the Abortion Clinic locally known as “The Center” the story then takes us backwards to the start of the day, and we find out why the characters are there.

Hugh McElroy is a hostage negotiator, at 5pm he gets called to the scene and immediately gets all of the details he can, and starts to communicate with the gunman, at the same time his phone starts to vibrate, when he looks at the text he has just received, he is horrified to find out that his daughter Wren and his sister Bex are inside the clinic!

The Center is somewhere women can go to get Contraception, Gynaecological examinations, General Women’s Health check-ups, and Abortions.

There are always Anti-Abortion protesters outside of The Center, trying to grab the women before they make it into the front door, they are handing out “gift bags” and trying to guilt them into changing their minds.

The Gunman is called George, and he is angry because he has found out that his daughter had an abortion at this clinic recently, not only does he shoot the doctor that performs the abortions, he shoots others as well, and Hugh’s daughter Wren might be one of them!

Tangled in this story is another, this story is about Beth, she took the difficult decision to terminate her own pregnancy, and now because of the Mississippi Abortion Law, she is facing murder charges, and could go to prison for 20 years if she is found guilty.

This story doesn’t try and sway you either way in your beliefs, and it doesn’t feel preachy at all, but I do like the way that Picoult tries to make you see both sides of the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice argument.

Regardless of your beliefs I think this is a great book to have for a Book club and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

🎧🎧 – Narrated by the amazing Bahni Turpin.

This was my main reason for picking up this book, she could literally narrate a recipe for a fruit cake and I would be there One Clicking like a lunatic! The woman can do no wrong in my eyes and makes any book into a fantastic read.

This is certainly one to pop into your basket.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alesha Harley
  • 20-09-2021

Jumped around a lot

It was a bit annoying how the book was jumping all over the place and back and forth for the characters. I think I would of preferred it if the characters were introduced one at a time. But otherwise was a good story and a good concept

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  • cmtbookies
  • 06-07-2021

Food for Thought

I enjoyed the passions demonstrated by the characters about their beliefs. The book confirms that the world is shades of grey not black and white.
I enjoyed the narrator but the movement back and forth in time can be confusing when listening not reading. All in all a good listen.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 26-06-2021

loved the book.

Well researched and great narration. I really loved this book. Probably my favorite book by Jodi Picoult so far.

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  • Alison Cope
  • 26-12-2019

Should be 7 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have enjoyed a number of Jodi Picoult’s books, but none as much as this one. It handles a difficult issue with balance and sensitivity to both sides of the argument. It has helped me to see the other point of view from a clearer perspective.
Thank you, Jodi.

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  • Mervyn
  • 20-07-2019

Do not judge actions of others. 7

Not a comfortable way to read of events. No person has the right to judge another's actions. We are not creators. We are not meant to make judgments.

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  • Judith Wilson
  • 01-05-2019

Another Jodi masterpiece

Another great read (or listen) from Jodi with her usual wonderful ability to illustrate multiple perspectives on a moral issue.

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  • A
  • 21-03-2019

My least favorite book by this author.

Not at all because of the content or my opinion on abortion but I was not drawn into the story or characters at all. I found it segmented and it was difficult to follow characters

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  • Jacqui
  • 30-12-2018

Not as good as others

The moral dilemma was a good and topical one but I hated the way it started at the end and worked it's way backwards. Whilst this was an interesting literary technique I'd advise against doing it again!

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  • Mrs
  • 29-11-2018

Started good but lost its way

The swearing throughout was so unnecessary. I gave up half way through as the story line became so far fetched.

7 people found this helpful

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  • bernadette oneal
  • 14-04-2019

Disappointing

I didn’t like the subject matter and felt I was being preached to on abortion issues. Didn’t like all the details included about how abortions take place. I also disliked the style of constantly jumping around timelines. Not up to her usual standard and I would not recommend it to anyone

4 people found this helpful

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  • Courtney
  • 16-11-2018

Audio production could be better

As this story is told in differing perspectives I feel that more attention could have been paid to ensuring that it was clear when the perspectives changed. I felt that the narration seemed to rush from one paragraph to the next and, combined with often-repeated descriptions of other characters, I found it quite hard to track who’s perspective was being followed.

I am no veteran of Jodi Picoult’s writing, but have read a couple of other books by the author and I have to admit I enjoyed this one the least so far.

I felt that the backwards timeline of the book added very little to the story, and ultimately felt like an unnecessary gimmick.

The subject matter was interesting, and I was impressed by Picoult’s ability to sympathetically write from extremely different perspectives on the abortion debate in the USA.

6 people found this helpful

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  • kitsune
  • 01-03-2020

Not her best

I really wasn't a fan of this one.

The narration didn't help at all, and in fact just made the story even more confusing - in a novel where the story is told backwards, you *need* chapter announcements and pauses.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-2021

Imperfect humans

A spark of light offers an engaging story, which beautifully ties together the fates of women, pro life and pro choice alike.

The authors note in the end is a perfect bowtie on top of a well delivered message to the reader, and to the current climate in the U.S, I can't give this book any deductions, it filled all my anticipations and more.

If you want to learn more about the abortion climate in the U.S, this book is for you.

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  • Joanne Anderson
  • 12-04-2021

Wonderful eloquent brave Jodi!

Another perfectly written story by Jodi. A heavy subject covering all bases and perspectives. Emotional from the start to the end.

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  • Amy W
  • 19-11-2020

Thought provoking but hard to follow

Jodi Picoult is the only author I actively follow, I love her books but I found this one very hard to follow, I started with the actual book and had to start again and listened to it as an audiobook which did make it easier to follow.

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  • Boxie
  • 16-10-2020

Brilliant, albeit confusing

I love Jodi picoult’s work. This is the first book I have listened to rather than read of hers. I loved the story and the characters... however I did find the backwards time frame tricky to get my head around until I realised what was happening as without seeing the time stamps it took me a good third of the book to realise it was working backwards.! The story itself though was flawless and as someone in the uk I had no idea the issue of abortion was still so taboo in parts of the US... and genuinely I was gobsmacked

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  • Miss E
  • 10-09-2020

Took me a while to get into.

Not sure why but I found it hard to get into this audible book. The story does jump around a bit & I think with it being narrated, it sometimes wasn’t clear enough to me, that the story had changed to a different character, or from the past to the present & vice versa. That said it might just be me so don’t let me put you off.

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  • Jasmine Oakes
  • 12-08-2020

Not her best

I have read a lot of Picoult in my time and usually enjoyed them, but I found this one hard to get into - I found myself waiting for it to be over. I'm not sure whether I would have enjoyed it more if I were reading a hard copy because it was confusingly structured, and it took a while for me to realise the plot was jumping around.

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