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A Spark of Light

Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 12 hrs and 57 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The masterful new novel from the number one best-selling author of Small Great Things.

The Center for women's reproductive health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice.

Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.

Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.

Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point.

And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose. 

©2018 Jodi Picoult (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Do not judge actions of others. 7

Not a comfortable way to read of events. No person has the right to judge another's actions. We are not creators. We are not meant to make judgments.

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Another Jodi masterpiece

Another great read (or listen) from Jodi with her usual wonderful ability to illustrate multiple perspectives on a moral issue.

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  • 03-21-19

My least favorite book by this author.

Not at all because of the content or my opinion on abortion but I was not drawn into the story or characters at all. I found it segmented and it was difficult to follow characters

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4 Hard Hitting Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Hard Hitting Stars

#TriggerWarnings - Abortion / Racism / Rape


The story starts out at 5pm at a Clinic in Jackson Mississippi, a gunman has opened fire inside the Abortion Clinic locally known as “The Center” the story then takes us backwards to the start of the day, and we find out why the characters are there.

Hugh McElroy is a hostage negotiator, at 5pm he gets called to the scene and immediately gets all of the details he can, and starts to communicate with the gunman, at the same time his phone starts to vibrate, when he looks at the text he has just received, he is horrified to find out that his daughter Wren and his sister Bex are inside the clinic!

The Center is somewhere women can go to get Contraception, Gynaecological examinations, General Women’s Health check-ups, and Abortions.

There are always Anti-Abortion protesters outside of The Center, trying to grab the women before they make it into the front door, they are handing out “gift bags” and trying to guilt them into changing their minds.

The Gunman is called George, and he is angry because he has found out that his daughter had an abortion at this clinic recently, not only does he shoot the doctor that performs the abortions, he shoots others as well, and Hugh’s daughter Wren might be one of them!

Tangled in this story is another, this story is about Beth, she took the difficult decision to terminate her own pregnancy, and now because of the Mississippi Abortion Law, she is facing murder charges, and could go to prison for 20 years if she is found guilty.

This story doesn’t try and sway you either way in your beliefs, and it doesn’t feel preachy at all, but I do like the way that Picoult tries to make you see both sides of the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice argument.

Regardless of your beliefs I think this is a great book to have for a Book club and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

🎧🎧 – Narrated by the amazing Bahni Turpin.

This was my main reason for picking up this book, she could literally narrate a recipe for a fruit cake and I would be there One Clicking like a lunatic! The woman can do no wrong in my eyes and makes any book into a fantastic read.

This is certainly one to pop into your basket.

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Not as good as others

The moral dilemma was a good and topical one but I hated the way it started at the end and worked it's way backwards. Whilst this was an interesting literary technique I'd advise against doing it again!

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  • Mrs
  • 11-29-18

Started good but lost its way

The swearing throughout was so unnecessary. I gave up half way through as the story line became so far fetched.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Courtney
  • 11-16-18

Audio production could be better

As this story is told in differing perspectives I feel that more attention could have been paid to ensuring that it was clear when the perspectives changed. I felt that the narration seemed to rush from one paragraph to the next and, combined with often-repeated descriptions of other characters, I found it quite hard to track who’s perspective was being followed.

I am no veteran of Jodi Picoult’s writing, but have read a couple of other books by the author and I have to admit I enjoyed this one the least so far.

I felt that the backwards timeline of the book added very little to the story, and ultimately felt like an unnecessary gimmick.

The subject matter was interesting, and I was impressed by Picoult’s ability to sympathetically write from extremely different perspectives on the abortion debate in the USA.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • bernadette oneal
  • 04-14-19

Disappointing

I didn’t like the subject matter and felt I was being preached to on abortion issues. Didn’t like all the details included about how abortions take place. I also disliked the style of constantly jumping around timelines. Not up to her usual standard and I would not recommend it to anyone

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fionne Jones
  • 10-01-19

Pro life or not - thought provoking

Great story and well read. I am against abortion unless mums life is at risk and if a foetus is formed I do wonder how anyone can say it isn’t a human being!
A very thought provoking story

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  • Heather Shaw
  • 08-22-19

Great story about an important issue

Picoult strikes again, writing an enthralling, engaging story that covers the many facets of an important issue. Brilliant book. highly recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • melanie
  • 08-02-19

A touching story on a sensitive subject.

Excellent storyline and narrated very well. confusing in places when moving from character to character and time periods. I personally would have enjoyed it more if I had read it rather than listen to it in small parts at a time.

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  • Janet Matthews
  • 07-23-19

Good topical story but frustrating.

I wanted to know about the individuals caught up in this tragedy but too much of end revealed and then going back hour by hour spoiled it for me. I'm going to read the book again from final chapter and then come back to epilogue. With the current proposed change to abortion law in US well worth a read. so having read chapters in reverse and finish with epilogue, I cou lot follow sequentially and realised how much I had missed and this is great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kayleigh Lynch
  • 06-05-19

amazing

Such a great read/listen same as all Picoult's books. Have listened while walking the dog and has really got me thinking.

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  • HFC
  • 05-16-19

Poor narration

Dull and boring story my least favourite book by this author and the narrator was dull and her voice irritating

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  • Miss R L Lawrence
  • 04-14-19

Amazing and thought-provoking listen

A truly engaging and thought-provoking listen that is full of twists and turns. couldn't stop listening to this great novel

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-17-19

Great, easy listening book

Absolutely loved it! Love Jodie Picoult's writing style. Loved the narration too. Just wonderful and superb.

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  • Arna Attewell
  • 02-08-19

Not Picoult's best

The story was start stop, and I'm still confused with how quickly it ended. Jodi Picoult has written some amazing novels. This would not be one of them.

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  • Donna
  • 01-24-19

Bit slow

The subject matter is important and the author handled it well. But I found the storyline slow to evolve and I got bored. This book just isnt for me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-13-19

Well researched.

Excellsng book. Well written with great character depth. Empathetic points of view from all angles about a controversial subject that affects us all. No judgements, just stories and more questions. You are left to make your own decisions on where you stand.

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  • Gayle Mason
  • 01-06-19

Awful as an Audiobook.

I have listened to 100’s of Audiobooks and this one simple doesn’t work. The story is fine but it has Avery very confusing timeline that is hard to follow.
Best get a hard copy!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anne Boyd
  • 12-22-18

not the best

I really struggled to finish this book. I found it very repetitive. it would not put me off purchasing another book by this author though.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-19-18

I read it for book club

I had to read this for book club. It’s nicely written however I personally don’t enjoy these kind of books as I find them boring. This one has some confronting issues that are tackled in a creative way, however I just didn’t like the style it was written.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-18-18

It didn't finish....

I felt that there was still to many questions at the end.

To many questions about pivotal characters... What happened to Elizabeth, Izzy and Joy? Did the clinic reopen?

The story will make you angry, sad and amazed at times. There was some parts that lingered just a little too much. Not one of my favourites from Jodi Picoult.

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  • Christine
  • 11-30-18

Not her usual style

A different style and I am not a fan.
I dont like short stories and this is basically a collection of short stories about the same topic. The usual gritty storyline that you can get your teeth into just wasnt there I'm afraid. Not one of her better books.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelsey
  • 11-29-18

Nice concept...but I didn't enjoy it

I have previously loved all Picolt's novels, but I felt the backwards timeline didn't work. Already knowing the outcome for some characters made several 'twists' very predictable.