Anna O’Donnell is an 11-year-old girl living in Ireland in the 1830’s. She claims not to have eaten food for the past four months and is living on manna from heaven. A local committee has hired Lib Wright, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale, along with a Catholic nun, to watch Anna 24 hours a day for two weeks to see if they can catch the girl sneaking food. Is this a hoax or a miracle? Or is it murder? Lib is determined to find out as she fights against superstition.
This is a beautifully written book and explores the power of religion over a young person’s mind. I found it to be completely spellbinding and fascinating. The depth of the bond that grows between little Anna and her nurse is breathtaking. Ms. Donoghue has pitted love against evil, doubt against faith, and has come up with a powerful and heart wrenching psychological thriller that takes a scathing look into the lives and beliefs of the Irish following the potato famine.
Highly recommended. This has surpassed “Room” as my favorite Donoghue book.
I won a copy of the book through Goodreads with the understanding that I would give an honest review in return.