Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £11.99

Buy Now for £11.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. The Pull of the Stars is the Sunday Times best seller from the acclaimed author of The Wonder and Room.

The old world dying on its feet, a new one struggling to be born....

Dublin, 1918. In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue tells an unforgettable and deeply moving story of love and loss.

 Shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards - Eason Novel of the Year

The Telegraph's 'Best Novels of 2020'

Guardian's 'Brilliant Books to Transport You This summer', 'Best Books of 2020'

Cosmopolitan's 'Best Books to Read this summer'

Stylist's 'Best summer Reads

©2020 Emma Donoghue (P)2020 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic reviews

"Stunning." (Emily St. John Mandel)

"Narrator Emma Lowe's layered characterizations include distinct Irish accents and diction that illuminate the backgrounds of the protagonists and hospital staff. The pregnant women in their care are depicted with particular sensitivity; their pain, joy, and loss are all keenly felt. As circumstances around the women intensify, so will listeners' investment in the outcomes of their stories. (AudioFile)

"An immersive, unforgettable fever-dream of a novel." (The Times)

More from the same

What listeners say about The Pull of the Stars

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    367
  • 4 Stars
    133
  • 3 Stars
    48
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    379
  • 4 Stars
    86
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    321
  • 4 Stars
    104
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary

What an amazing story, beautifully written and heartbreakingly compulsive listening! Highly recommended, especially during the current pandemic.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

incredible

This was an incredible read, so well researched from a Midwifery/Birth and pandemic perspective. As a midwife I found myself at the edge of my seat either cheering for a good outcome and in contrast feeling the sadness that envelopes when tragic events happen. The historical references to midwife/nursing in 1918 and the poverty/stigma/exclusion brought the reader into the actual corridors and minds of those working through the flu pandemic. As a midwife working through Covid I was struck by the commonalities in care advise that we've been practising/given, obviously notwithstanding how lucky we are to be working within a modern healthcare system. It was a great tribute to many of the women who experienced institutionalised care that their stories were told with compassion and at last their experiences have been given a voice in some way.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant author and narrator

This is a harrowing but captivating account set over the course of three days. The immediacy and intimacy of the narrative make it difficult to put down. It has obviously been painstakingly researched and is brilliantly written.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not sure whether I enjoyed or not

I thought the narration was very good - however the story went on a bit too much about childbirth and the treatment of mothers in Ireland.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Timely and poinient

Narrated with a lovely Irish tone, this book kept me guessing until the end. A lovely story which highlighted many current issues and got me thinking deeply.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Immersive novel

As a midwife I really enjoyed this fictitious account of life as a midwife in Ireland in 1918 during the flu pandemic. A must read or listen. I found myself totally immersed in the story and enjoyed the performance of the narrator on Audible. Details of the cases are well researched and feel very real.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A timely look back

Emma Lowe is the perfect narrator for this book. It's set in a 'flu/obstetrics ward in Dublin as the 'flu takes over from the death toll of WW1. It takes place over three days, focusing on the graphic details of childbirth and death from 'flu, written from the viewpoint of an overworked, dedicated nurse on the front line of patient care. Other aspects of the background are the growth of the IRA and the inhumane treatment of orphans and unmarried mothers.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Audio - enjoyed listening to this book.

I really enjoyed this book. Narrated very well. A slow starter - but kept me listening.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great “slice of life" from post WW1 Ireland.

Great narration (the shouting shocked me a little!)

Very well written, not too much plot though (apart from the odd ending). It felt almost like a journal from a particularly hectic couple of days in a flu maternity ward.

If you are interested in what people went through, listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling and timely book.

I simply couldn't stop listening! It was beautifully narrated and was so relevant to Covid times that it was difficult to imagine it was set 100 years ago. I loved every moment.

1 person found this helpful