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The Pull of the Stars

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

By Emma Donoghue

An Atmospheric and Heartbreaking Story Full of Compassion, Tragedy and Hopefulness.



Nurse Julie Power is the acting matron at an understaffed hospital in the center of Dublin, Ireland. It’s 1918 and the country is currently racked by both war and influenza. Nurse Julie works in the Maternity/Fever Ward where expectant mothers who also come down with this terrible new Flu are quarantined together. She is assisted in the ward by Birdie Sweeney, a young inexperienced volunteer and by Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a Sinn Fein rebel on the run from the police. Over a period of three days these three women lose patients to the pandemic and at the same time bring new life into a treacherous world.

“You can't be a little bit dead. If you're not in the ground yet, you're one hundred per cent alive.”

“I'd never believed the future was inscribed for each of us the day we were born. If anything was written in the stars, it was we who joined those dots, and our lives were the writing.”


THE PULL OF THE STARS is an atmospheric, heartbreaking story full of tragedy, compassion and hope. The read is intense and captivating, particularly as it relates to our current unbelievable pandemic.

The main characters, Julie, Birdie and Doctor Lynn are the pillars of the story. Much like our nurses today, they are full of strength and fortitude putting their very lives at risk to serve others during a deadly pandemic. With doctors in short supply because of the war, Nurse Julie, trained as a midwife, is doing the best she can.

Written just before our pandemic, Author Emma Donoghue’s writing is profound and beautifully descriptive of a time and place that is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, much like what we are experiencing now. She effortlessly blends the backgrounds and personal lives of these three characters with their current experiences in the maternity/fever ward. These women come alive on the page, and are full of empathy, courage and strength.

The audiobook for THE PULL OF THE STARS is narrated by Emma Lowe whose voice perfectly aligns with the story. Her pacing, tone and inflection are pitch perfect for this gripping and emotionally profound story

Author Emma Donoghue is an award-winning Irish playwright living in Canada. Her previous novels include Akin (2019), The Wonder (2016) and Room (2010) among many others.

“Here we are in the golden age of medicine—making such great strides against rabies, typhoid fever, diphtheria—and a common or garden influenza is beating us hollow. No, you’re the ones who matter right now. Attentive nurses, I mean—tender loving care, that seems to be all that’s saving lives.”

“We could always blame the stars...That’s what influenza means, she said. Influenza delle stelle—the influence of the stars. Medieval Italians thought the illness proved that the heavens were governing their fates, that people were quite literally star-crossed.”

“Nursing was like being under a spell: you went in very young and came out older than any span of years could make you.”

Publisher Little Brown and Cpompany

Published July 20, 2020

Narrated Emma Lowe

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