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Emma Donoghue can do what she wants.

I've now read three of her books, and they just. keep. getting. better. She is one of those authors who never does the same thing twice, and it's such a thrill to discover what she'll do next.

This time around, she zooms in close on a tiny Irish village, where an eleven-year-old girl named Anna has, it is claimed, been living for four months without food or sustenance of any kind. The locals, all devoted Catholics, call it a miracle. Lib, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale herself, is decidedly more skeptical. Hired to watch over the girl and ensure that she isn't surreptitiously breaking her fast, Lib assumes the girl is a cheat and a liar, plans to expose her as such, and wrap up her vigil within a couple of days. However, as the days pass and she gets to know Anna better, it seems the truth will be more complicated—and heartbreaking—than Lib expected.

For an outwardly quiet, meditative historical novel, The Wonder is surprisingly suspenseful. I read it last week while on vacation, and I'm so glad I had Adam sitting right beside me in the airport as a captive audience, because every few minutes I just had to turn to him and make googly eyes over the latest development. “The shit's really hitting the fan now!” I'd say, and then ten minutes later I'd have to retract and say, “Okay, now it's really hitting the fan! I mean REALLY!” Not until the very last pages was I sure how it was going to turn out—and don't even get me started on the pain and suffering I experienced when I had to stop reading to board the plane at 94% read! I almost wish my Kindle hadn't told me how close I was to knowing the final resolution, because it was exquisite torture having to wait to finish it.

Emma Donoghue is one of my top five favorite writers. I absolutely loved The Wonder, and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

With regards to Little, Brown and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale today, September 20!

Find it at your library!

Calling all book clubbers! Behold the Dreamers is a book you won't want to read without friends to discuss it with. Pour the wine and pop the popcorn, because you will want to pick apart every decision these characters make.

Jende and his wife Neni have worked harder than most of us can imagine to emigrate from their native Cameroon and build a life in America. When Jende is hired as a chauffeur for an executive at a massive financial firm, their dreams seem to have finally found solid footing, especially when Neni is invited to work for the executive's wife on a temporary basis.

However, it's impossible for Jende and Neni to work for their new employers without getting involved in their lives. They see and hear everything. They're privy to secrets both personal and professional, and despite their wealth, their employers' private lives are not always pretty. Further thickening the plot are Jende and Neni's own struggles to remain in the country legally.

How far would you go to build the life you've always dreamed of? Are some bad choices excusable depending on the circumstances? I suspect there will be many differing opinions on this score, as even Jende and Neni don't always see eye to eye on it. I loved all the questions this book brought to my mind, but I have to admit, I wished for an ending with a little more impact. It's a minor quibble, though, when the surprises and twists were so effective.

With regards to Random House and Goodreads for the advance copy, which I was lucky enough to win in a recent giveaway. On sale August 23!