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A Sarah’s Vignettes Book Review: Waiting for the Miracle by Anna McPartlin | @ZaffreBooks | #BlogTour

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Waiting for the Miracle by Anna McPartlin with you.

My thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Zaffre for sending me a hardback copy of the book in return for this honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what Waiting for the Miracle is about.

~ From the back of the book ~

2010

Caroline has hit rock bottom. After years of trying, it’s clear she can’t have children, and the pain has driven her and her husband apart. She isn’t pregnant, her husband is gone, and her beloved dog is dead.

The other women at her infertility support group have their own problems, too. Natalie’s girlfriend is much less excited about having children than her. Janet’s husband might be having an affair. And then there’s Ronnie, intriguing, mysterious Ronnie, who won’t tell anyone her story.

1976

Catherine is sixteen and pregnant. Her boyfriend wants nothing to do with her, and her parents are ashamed. When she’s sent away to a convent for pregnant girls, she is desperate not to be separated from her child. But she knows she might risk losing the baby forever.

~ My thoughts ~

Once again, Anna McPartlin has broken me. She did it with The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes – one of my all-time favourite books – and with its sequel Below the Big Blue SkyWaiting for the Miracle is entirely separate from the Hayes family and their story, but it is just as heartbreaking.

Waiting for the Miracle is a dual-time narrative. In 1976, sixteen-year-old Catherine is sent to a mother and baby home in Cork after becoming pregnant by her boyfriend. This part of the story focuses on the horrific treatment of young mothers and their babies by nuns and the church, working the girls to their bones as punishment for doing something natural to them, and how their babies were given away, often without the mother’s permission. In 2010, the story follows Catherine, Ronnie, Natalie, and Janet who are all part of the same infertility support group. It focuses in detail on each of them, their families, and their stories of trying to get pregnant. There’s a real emphasis on female friendships and female strength. 

I can’t personally relate to Catherine’s pain, nor can I connect to Catherine, Ronnie, Natalie, or Janet’s heartache at trying for children, but Anna McPartlin’s writing is as beautiful and compassionate as ever, I felt every bit of raw emotion and pain that her characters did.

I don’t know what they put in the water in Ireland that makes Irish writers natural-born storytellers but Anna McPartlin’s words just flow off of the page. She has a way of touching my soul and making me cry so much that the words become blurred on the page. This takes real skill to provoke such a reaction. 

One thing I love about Anna McPartlin’s writing is that I’m crying one minute and then laughing the next at the Irish wit and humour. I can hear the Irish accents of these characters in my head as I read. Anna McPartlin has a great ability to include just enough humour to make it as true to life as possible. Anna McPartlin shows real humanity in her stories.

~ Where to find Waiting for the Miracle ~

Waiting for the Miracle by Anna McPartlin is out now in hardback, eBook, and audio formats. You can buy from all good bookshops and from Bookshop.org (affiliate link).

~ About the author ~

Anna McPartlin is a novelist and scriptwriter from Dublin, who has written for TV serial dramas featured on BBC UK, RTE Ireland and A&E America. She has been writing adult fiction for over ten years, and also writes for children under the name Bannie McPartlin. She lives with her husband Donal and their four dogs.

To learn more about Waiting for the Miracle follow Anna on Twitter at: @annamcpartlin & Instagram: @mcpartlin.anna

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the Waiting for the Miracle tour!

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