Friday, October 7, 2016

Review: The Wonder; and Mini Reviews: Anatomy of Evil, and The Art of the Con

Title: The Wonder
Author: Emma Donoghue
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Psychological Mystery/Suspense
Recommended If You Like: the mysterious, religion, medicine, ethics

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

The Book:

Lib Wright is a nurse trained under Florence Nightingale, who has been sent to keep watch on a young girl who has refused to eat for months--Anna O'Donnell is convinced she is being kept alive solely through manna from heaven. Lib is highly skeptical, and expects to solve the mystery quickly and go back to her old life. But the case runs far deeper than first appears, and Lib finds herself pulled in ways she never anticipated.

What I Liked:

This is a suspenseful book. From the start, readers are pulled in, not only through the mystery of how Anna has survived so far, but through investment in the characters.

These are complicated, complex characters. Nothing is how it first appears, not even Lib. There are constant surprises--sometimes the characters even surprise themselves.

Anything I Didn't Like?

Really, there was nothing I didn't like about this book. It is a beautifully written, gripping read.


What could have been a slow, dragging read in a lesser author's hands (girl won't eat, nurse tries to get girl to eat) becomes a twisting, deeply felt mystery and relationship study in Donoghue's capable hands.

Donoghue does not shy away from the difficult issues of religion, obligation, ethics, familial ties, sin, and science. This is a powerful read that will surprise you, and stay with you long after the final page is turned.

It is not an easy task to put a new spin on the tale of Jack the Ripper, but Thomas does an excellent job. 

His genius lies in inserting his already established and well-liked detective characters, Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn, into the fray. Barker, a private enquiry agent, and Llewelyn, his assistant, are drawn into temporarily working with Scotland Yard in an attempt to catch the fearsome Ripper. 

Barker and Llewelyn are great characters, reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and Thomas' take on the Jack the Ripper mystery is a strong one. I really appreciated and admired that Thomas did not shy away from offering his own solution to the unsolved crimes.

Amore does a very good job of discussing the overarching issues of art forgery and fakery through specific cases throughout the modern age.

Covering everything from the use of ebay to the purchase of old canvases at flea markets, forged signatures to expansive lies surrounding provenance, Amore creates a really interesting and comprehensive read.


  1. These all sound great but I really want the Anatomy of Evil as I love Jack the Ripper books! :)


    1. It was a really good entry in a really good series :) I love Jack the Ripper books too :)