A novel in which an English nurse brought to a small Irish village in 1859 to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.
...[an] exquisite new novel ... These rooms of Donoghue’s may be tiny and sealed off, yet they teem with life-and-death drama and great moral questions ... Donoghue manages to engage these larger mysteries of faith, doubt and evil without sacrificing the lyricism of her language or the suspense of her story line. Anna may or may not be a genuine 'living marvel,' but The Wonder certainly is.
...a fine work, adept and compelling in voice, plot, and moral complexity ... Donoghue tightens the tension, gradually adding small elements that in the end will come together in a sad and frightening picture, one tinted with the dark shades of Ireland’s brand of misogynistic, flesh-denying Catholicism ... Donoghue deals out the cards with real skill. If the ending itself does not seem entirely believable, I, at least, could not have wished it arranged otherwise.
After making my way through several recent novels written in tiresome hey-look-at-me prose, The Wonder arrived as a welcome relief. Donoghue’s prose is as sturdy and serviceable as a good pair of brogans, but never nondescript. There are occasional flashes of lyricism but Donoghue’s main purpose here is story, story, story, and God bless her for it ... Anna’s plight and Lib’s efforts to save her (initially reluctant, ultimately frantic) make this book, flawed though it is in some respects, impossible to put down ... less palatable is the distracting romance Donoghue loads onto the second half of her tale ... flaws, but not fatal ones. For the most part, The Wonder is a fine, fact-based historical novel, an old-school page turner.