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Publisher's Summary

An 11-year-old girl stops eating but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse sent to investigate whether she is a fraud meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue's The Wonder - inspired by numerous European and North American cases of 'fasting girls' between the 16th century and the 20th - is a psychological thriller about a child's murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.

©2016 Emma Donaghue (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robin
  • LORIENT, France
  • 01-06-18

Not Room

A bit slow, a bit redundant, but the story gets better if you can wait it out a bit

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

wonderful book

wonderful book. the telling was not so clear although. but still overall very arresting read.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story, unfortunate narration

This is a powerful tale involving characters who strive to comply with the demands of the cultures they are embedded in. Whilst at the same time colliding with the differing beliefs of others. The result is ongoing collision involving issues of gender superiority, fervent religious beliefs vs science to name a few. This occurs at the expense of the vulnerable main character. Dark secrets emerge which deepen the complexity of this psychological thriller. Unfortunately the narrator brings a pantomime like emphasis to the characters which eclipses the strength of the narrative.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Moving story about love and life

Would you listen to The Wonder again? Why?

Probably, I have already read the book:)

What does Kate Lock bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Irish accent, Anna's intonation and voice

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Lib talked about her daughter

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isolde
  • 12-08-16

Offence of narration

This great book by an Irish author was once again destroyed by an ignorant English narrator putting on cartoon accents that made it all but unlistenable. Aside from having one Irish character sound like Bosco and another like Bob Geldof, her overall reading is melodramatic and careless, often getting the names of characters wrong. This recording should not have passed any quality control for a publisher

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • O. McLean
  • 11-02-16

Intriguing story

Story twists and turns drew me in. as an Irish listener, found Kate Lock's Irish accents occasionally a bit too heavy on the Leprechaun so became a bit of a distraction.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cabaspre
  • 10-14-16

It brought out every emotion possible.Well written

Any additional comments?

I continued to think that I had heard this story before but this must be because it is an event that keeps occurring throughout the world in many cultures/religions. I was in turn horrified, puzzled, but mostly furiously indignant. The narrator was wonderful with so many accents and she voiced the girl with such sympathy. What a wonderful writer. I expect, like myself many people tried this book after having loved Room. This is different but still a kidnapping in effect.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Katie
  • 10-11-16

That is NOT and Irish Accent, Just Stop.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

On twitter I described this as the most painful audiobook I've ever listened too and really that isn't far from the truth. The tag line should be 'British women butchers Irish accents in a way that's frankly offensive'. The way should does the Irish characters accents makes them come off as the most ill educated, naive idiots the world ever laid eyes on. Not one Irish person's accent was accurate. Also in 1850s Ireland not all Irish people in Athlone would've spoken fluent English.

The story seems fairly decent and I may stick the print copy on hold at the library but don't put yourself through this monstrosity its not worth it.

Also audiobook producers there are 5 million Irish people out there, could you not have asked one of them to work in tandem with Kate Lock and do the Irish accents? Seriously, the Irish have had their culture erased for long enough!

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JackieM
  • 10-09-16

Another superb narrative from Donoghue

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, a very atmospheric book, which throws into light questions about religion, faith amongst so many other things. Delightful depiction of the girl.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lib - I really disliked her at the beginning, but she grew on me the more I listened. A very conflicted and complicated character.

Which character – as performed by Kate Lock – was your favourite?

Lib again, I think. The Irish accents seem quite false to begin with, but I got used to them and I found them quite charming in the end!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

An young girl hasn't eaten for four months - can a Nightingale nurse discover the truth before it's too late?

Any additional comments?

This is a brilliant mystery that kept me guessing until the end - highly recommend it!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wras
  • 12-18-16

Anna's body had learned to make do with less.


An exploration of belief and faith exposed to the abrasive demands of reality and methodical scrutiny, a study of how we arrange what we want to believe through the power of imagination and religious guilt and fear. A celebration of love and rational thought defeating dogma with intelligence and imagination.

A beautifully written book that is intelligent and hopeful, while holding the reader in suspense till the very end. The characters are crisp and clearly drawn, the plot opens and develops with every turn of the page, making the drama of this people's lives real and concerning.

A lovely find that surprised me as much as it pleased.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • barjil
  • 10-20-16

Disappointing

Excited to listen to this book after the brilliance of 'Room', but was disappointed. The 'Irish' accents were often inaudible or too thick to understand at all and often in places where it was important to the story line. But the basic premise was interesting so I plodded on to the too-tidy end.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • d
  • 01-10-18

Unforgettable!!

An absolutely brilliantly crafted tale - I feel as if I’ve been LIVING in 1850s Ireland. The story is harrowing. But the ending? Spectacular!! Loved it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Hello
  • 12-27-17

Good book, terrible narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It’s very disappointing that the ever-excellent prose of Emma Donoghue was given to a reader who can’t do an Irish accent. For a recording of a book set in Ireland. In which every character but one is Irish.

Lock wouldn’t be a bad reader if she was reading a book set in England, but she’s a terrible choice for The Wonder: her fluting faith-and-begorra voices make every Irish character sound like leprechauns, not people, which kills the book. I’m actually returning this, it’s so bad.

Sorry, Ms Lock, I’m sure you’ll be fine if you stick to books that don’t demand accents beyind your range. But if the publishers are reading this: please do another version. Irish actresses who learned to speak RP English are not hard to come by, and that’s what you need. I would like to listen to this book, but this recording is unlistenable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-12-17

Simply brilliant!

I read this wonderful story and was so impressed listened to it again through audible. it was a wonderful story, made all the more enjoyable by Kate Lock's outstanding storytelling. One of the best books of 2017

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joana
  • 09-28-16

not a psychological thriller

This was marketed as a 'psychological thriller' but unfortunately it was not. I had enjoyed the author's previous book Room and was drawn in by the premise of this novel's story but while listening to it, was never excited at any point.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-17

A gradual captivating story

The more you read, the less you wish to put it down. The story is written and read quite well, however there were times when I wished it was read differently. The slow calculating voice that runs throughout works wonders in many sections, but loses reality in others. But it's the story itself that gets a five our a five.

Emma Donoghue understands perfectly well about the life of Irish folk in the 19th century. Not just from way of life, but even little details like burning cans and horse and cart riding. The main character, Elizabeth Wright, who is a well-trained nurse, is also a observant and stringent woman. Her personality is captured well.

I do wish, however, that the reader was a little more stringent in her performance.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • BookwormDownUnder
  • 11-12-16

The Wonder

Not a bad book but a little boring in parts, too much going over and over the same description. Probably the last two chapters were the best. Didn't hate it but not very enthralled by it either.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 11-09-16

great book

I really enjoyed this book. read well, great characters different and interesting plot and great ending

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Not Half
  • 11-04-16

Enjoyable, but nothing like 'Room'

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No, I have enjoyed other audiobooks much more than this that I'd recommend first.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

In hindsight, I suppose it was predictable, but I didn't see it coming until late in the story.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed the interactions between Anna and Lib, where Lib would tell the girl riddles. The whole situation was a riddle and I think this is what Donoghue was trying to express.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I wouldn't say 'moved', but when Anna was on the brink of death, it was sad.

Any additional comments?

A very slow paced story which made for a good bedtime listen, as it lulled me off to sleep very well.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kristi
  • 10-24-16

ok but not great

The story was just a little weak for me. I couldn't believe some key plot points.