It is no wonder (see what I did there?) that Donoghue is a celebrated author, she is an incredibly gifted storyteller. With the rise and fall of her prose, we are transported to a sleepy Irish town in the latter half of the 19th century. Lib Wright is an English nurse that is brought to Ireland to care for Anna O'Donnell, an 11 year-old girl who has appears to have been touched by God because she can survive without food. She has not eaten since her birthday which was four months ago. Lib, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, and a nun have been assigned round-the-clock care of the girl.
The plot moves incredibly slow and builds frustration in the reader which echos the frustration Lib has in her quest of discovering what is really happening with this little girl. Is she surviving without food, or is there something else going on?
Lib is isolated in her new home and Donoghue projects this onto the reader. At times I felt isolated and claustrophobic, like I was being swallowed up in the mystery, and the darkness. It's like I couldn't separate the facts and the truth from perception, and that I was reading Irish folklore versus historical fiction.
Although slow at times, I was enchanted with Donoghue's work and can't wait to see what she has in store for readers next.