If you’re reading to escape thoughts of our current pandemic, this probably isn’t the book for you. However, if you’re willing to give it a chance, this novel set in Ireland during the 1918 influenza is worth the time. The main character is a nurse working on the maternity ward caring for pregnant women suffering from the flu. There are many tense scenes of childbirth and illness, and some very timely references to masks and social distancing, but also discussion of Ireland, World War I, the Catholic Church, and women’s lives in 1918. This is a beautifully written book that’s hard to put down.
Donoghue offers vivid characters and a gripping portrait of a world beset by a pandemic and political uncertainty. A fascinating read in these difficult times.– Booklist (starred review)
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)