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The Pull of the Stars

Narrated by: Emma Lowe
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Non-member price: $18.22

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Publisher's Summary

The old world dying on its feet, a new one struggling to be born....

Dublin, 1918. In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue tells an unforgettable and deeply moving story of love and loss.

From the bestselling author of The Wonder and Room.

©2020 Emma Donoghue (P)2020 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic Reviews

"Stunning." (Emily St. John Mandel)

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What listeners say about The Pull of the Stars

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Couldn't stop listening

The Irish accent is always a beautiful one to listen to and Emma Lowe does an amazing job narrating, playing all the roles so well, right down to singing the wee ditties. Loved it. Emma Donoghue thanks for another great story. I enjoyed being taken back in time to Dublin and imagining their lives.

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Great book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters and events were so well drawn. It drew me in and kept me intrigued the whole way. Lovely to have strong female characters and definitely a timely insight into facing widespread illness with no idea of how to conquer it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-07-2020

Extraordinary

What an amazing story, beautifully written and heartbreakingly compulsive listening! Highly recommended, especially during the current pandemic.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Love
  • 31-07-2020

Brilliant author and narrator

This is a harrowing but captivating account set over the course of three days. The immediacy and intimacy of the narrative make it difficult to put down. It has obviously been painstakingly researched and is brilliantly written.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Hayley Reilly
  • 26-07-2020

Timely and poinient

Narrated with a lovely Irish tone, this book kept me guessing until the end. A lovely story which highlighted many current issues and got me thinking deeply.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-07-2020

Not sure whether I enjoyed or not

I thought the narration was very good - however the story went on a bit too much about childbirth and the treatment of mothers in Ireland.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-08-2020

A timely look back

Emma Lowe is the perfect narrator for this book. It's set in a 'flu/obstetrics ward in Dublin as the 'flu takes over from the death toll of WW1. It takes place over three days, focusing on the graphic details of childbirth and death from 'flu, written from the viewpoint of an overworked, dedicated nurse on the front line of patient care. Other aspects of the background are the growth of the IRA and the inhumane treatment of orphans and unmarried mothers.

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  • Byers
  • 06-08-2020

captivating

a great story , if a little sad in places . Emma Donoghue description was so good it made me homesick for Dublin.

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  • Molly brown
  • 06-08-2020

a wonderful account of nursing and midwifery

As a retired nurse I found this book fascinating. The comparisons between the management of the Spanish flu epidemic, and the current covid 19 are interesting.
the characters are authentic and well rounded.

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  • George
  • 06-08-2020

harrowing, grusome but truely lovely story

wow, what a story made me cry and laugh all in the same chapter. Listened to many books during lockdown but this is my unexpected favourite. Although set in the during the war so many of the themes still utterly relevant. I feel this book covers many different subjects War, Disease, Abuse, Mental Health but is lighten by how love can happen despite adversity

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  • Katharine Kirby
  • 05-08-2020

Exquisite narration of a shattering three days

Creating claustrophobic chambers full of human interest are Emma Donaghue's tour de force. This deeply moving, exciting and completely believable book is superb, a total winner, perfectly timed for our Covid days - although written before the pandemic and produced during it all.

Most of all I was grateful to have had the benefit of Emma Lowe's pitch perfect gorgeous Irish accent reading it to me. She did the job beyond marvellously. I especially loved her treatment of real life Dr. Lynne (the one real life character) with her quiet, educated, aristocratic speech compared to the beautiful Bridie Sweeny's girlish, eager Irish orphan's tones. The voice of Nurse Julia Power was warm, friendly, competent, reassuring and very thoughtful. All through I was comforted by those authentic voices, I felt closed in that small annex of the Fever/Lying in ward with them, to the extent that I had to stop everything else and follow the dramas going on in that cramped place.

Maybe too much medical, obstetrical, gynaecological information, for some, be warned it is gory, but as a mother of three myself nothing really shocked me. However what I did feel was the hopelessness of the fight against the microbe which could only be endured and ameliorated never overcome, except by good luck. In those days nursing was rather different, no technology, just comfort, attention, adherence to discipline, and kindness in buckets. My mother who lived to a great age and nursed through the second world war would have recognised that way of nursing very well.

There are themes of same sex relationships which ring true, and a straightforward accounting of the cruel days of Mother and Baby homes run by nuns such as in the film Philomena. Also PTSD affecting the soldiers back from the trenches and the terrible poverty endured in Dublin at the time. Violent Irish political struggles, the emergence of women's suffrage are all meticulously researched and described. A gem of a book, whose timing is almost magical, and so moving I wept at the end, impressed by the strong characters, the rays of hope and wise words that hearten even in the midst of a hellish situation. Mesmerising listening, I felt I had made friends that I was saying goodbye to - reluctantly.

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  • Ms S Fitzpatrick
  • 05-08-2020

Brilliant

Great read. Really enjoyed it. Couldn't put it down. Such a lovely story. Highly recommend.