Told over the span of a couple of days, Emma Donoghue’s latest release is an intimate account of nurse Julia Power’s dedication to the Maternity-Fever ward at the hospital where she works.
The consequences of war and plague have left Dublin in a devastated condition. And health personnel are called to work overtime to keep up with the admitted patients.
When a volunteer with no background in medicine lends a helping hand, Julia finds in her the strength to carry on.
I normally don’t read a lot about war or books where characters work in the field of medicine. But I had a feeling that the writing in this one would appeal to me a great deal, and I was right!
Emma Donoghue’s writing style is unrestrained, flowy, and driven by the character’s actions. It is structured slightly differently, in the sense that the dialogue is not separately placed with quotation marks. It ebbs and flows along with the descriptions.
The author does not shy away from baring all the gritty details of death and ailment. If you are a sensitive reader, you might want to proceed with caution, because there are quite a few sections where the delivery procedures are covered in detail.
Bridie Sweeney, the volunteer, presents a beacon of hope amongst all the despair. Her personality is vivid, innocent and brimming with enthusiasm. You can witness just how much of a difference she makes to the environment in the ward.
I love that the entire book spans just a couple of days, but because of the depth in the narrative you don’t realise that.
The ending left me in tears. What a beautiful story this is. Kudos to the author!