The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

It’s 1918. The story takes places over three days in a maternity/fever room in Dublin at the height of the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Expectant mothers who have contracted the flu are placed in this supply closet, a makeshift ward with room for just 3. Midwife Julia Powers is left in charge. Fortunately Julia has the assistance of volunteer Bridie Sweeney, who has no formal training but is a quick learner willing to help. Julia and Bridie do their best helping the women who are facing the challenge of childbirth while suffering with the deadly flu.

A controversial historical figure, Dr. Kathleen Lynn makes appearances in the ward. She was an Irish Sinn Fein politician, activist and medical doctor. Dr. Lynn joined the Irish Citizen Army and was the chief medical officer during the 1916 Easter Rising.

The book is graphic and is not a happy ever after story. Written before the COVID-19 pandemic, many parallels exist between 1918 and now.




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