1850's rural Ireland is a hard place. The people are poor and often hungry. Many of them are devout Catholics and as such, could use a miracle to lighten their dark and joyless lives.
Anna O'Donnell appears to be that miracle. She has lived for months without taking food, surviving on manna.
A committee is struck and Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to come and observe the girl to verify or falsify the miracle. Her job is to, in 12 hour shifts, make sure that Anna doesn't eat anything. She inspects the girl's room thoroughly and takes physical measurements everyday. A nun is chosen as her co-worker, to take the shifts when Lib is resting.
Is Anna a miracle? Her very life is at stake as Lib tries to unravel the mystery of her survival. Once the women are employed to observe, Anna begins to fail physically. Her nurses try to shield her from curious tourists and predatory press. Lib vows to save her, but how?
For me, The Wonder, started slowly but still drew me in. Then at about 2/3 of the way through, there was more drama and revelation of secrets.
Short-listed for the Giller prize, The Wonder, is good bit of historical fiction.
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