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Publisher Description

In Dublin, 1918, a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu is a small world of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love, in "Donoghue's best novel since Room" (Kirkus Reviews).

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over 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 once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

Fiction & Literature
July 21
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Digital, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Fresno Mary ,

Quick & entertaining read

This story moves quickly, the characters are well written, and interesting & likable. I wish the ending was longer. It seems like it ended in a hurry but I guess they were in a rush to publish it during the pandemic. I would have liked an extra chapter or two to finish it up a bit, but all in all a good read.

Bdawgno1 ,

Okay. It’s okay

Started this book at the start of this current pandemic. Gave it several months rest before I started reading it again. I admire Emma Donahue writing this detailed story of Irish hospital birthing ward in the midst of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Truly a very detailed day to day on how midwives, nurses, Sisters, physicians and others coped with difficult patients. I can’t imagine what they went through. They did everything with nothing and survived. Story reminds me that our current pandemic has everything to end it yet so many people are selfish and don’t care about others.

Well done Emma for depicting all that is good in humanity when they had nearly nothing to offer to patients. Great book.
We are repeating the 100 year old pandemic whereby science and compassion are with the caregivers yet the patients think their personal liberty is meant to harm so many fellow human beings by not even wearing a simple face covering! By the way, we have a vaccine for prevention of death now!

jimmiepainful ,


I read this book, first for the love of the author, but also because I have been in the company of women such as Julia, Nurse Power personally and professionally. Over the past year I have witnessed my collective crew question their choices, their methods but still they have come together just as Nurse Power did to rectify a wrong, find love in a sea blood, and they too have watched as the Pandemic of 2020-21 has stolen their patients. This book spoke to me as a family birth nurse of 27 years, a mother for 32 years and a woman of 56. What a time to have penned a novel, for the past has revisited our healthcare and stolen our loved ones. Thank you Emma, heartbreaking, yet beautiful in each written word.

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