The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
"A joy to read." New York Times Book Review
From beloved bestselling author Ursula Hegi, a new novel about three mothers, set on the shores of the Nordsee, perfect for fans of Water for Elephants and The Light Between Oceans.
In the summer of 1878, the Ludwig Zirkus arrives on Nordstrand in Germany, to the delight of the islands people. But after the show, a Hundred-Year Wave roars from the Nordsee and claims three young children.
Three mothers are on the beach when it happens: Lotte, whose children are lost; Sabine, a Zirkus seamstress with her grown daughter; and Tilli, just a girl herself, who will give birth later that day at St. Margarets Home for Pregnant Girls. After the tragedy, Lottes husband escapes with the Zirkus, while she loses the will to care for their surviving son. Tilli steps in, bonding with him in a way she isnt allowed to with her own baby, taken away at birth. Sabine, struggling to keep her childlike daughter safe in the world, forms a complicated friendship with Lotte. But the mothers' fragile trio is threatened when Lotte and her husband hatch a dangerous plan to reunite their family, and Tilli and Sabine must try to find a way to pull them back to reality.
As full of joy and beauty as it is of pain, and told with the luminous power that has made Ursula Hegi a beloved bestselling author for decades, The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls is a shining testament to the ways in which women hold each other up in the most unexpected of circumstances.
Praise For The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls: A Novel…
Praise for The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
How can a novel that begins with a drowning and probes the depths of loss, grief and longing be such a joy to read? Part of the answer can be found in Hegis rhapsodic conjuring of the natural wonders of Nordstrand, in her depiction of the warmth of its people and the emotions that move them, sometimes against their best interests. Theres also her ease in deploying a large and varied cast of charactersNordstrand is full of surprises.
New York Times Book Review
Deeply compassionateA surprisingly sunlit tale of grief and rebirth, drawing on history and folklore to create an indelible portrait of a family and community forged in crisisHegi performs a kind of alchemical cartography, transporting readers to a place so vividly rendered they may undergo culture shock upon reentering our own damaged world.
The Washington Post
MagicalA lyrical meditation on motherhood and mourningHegi is gentle with her characters, offering them consolation in their shared humanityUltimately transforming.
The Boston Globe
The novels canvas resembles a feminist take on those hectic old Flemish masterworksAs Hegi perhaps prefers, we can choose to submit to untidiness to magical descriptions of a liminal landscape, to the rhythms of characters living and dying, thinking and acting in ways far removed from our own and yet intimately, perfectly familiar.
Los Angeles Times
HauntingUplifting, a celebration of women, mothers and daughters.
A searing tale of loss, strength and the power of perseverance.
Hegi presents fortunate readers with a new tour de forceHer women, whether conniving, tender, or briskly competent, will draw you into their welcoming arms. Thoroughly recommended.
Historical Novel Society
MesmerizingHegis command of the plot and ability to render poignant characters create a satisfyingly emotional story. Hegis fans and devotees of literary fiction will treasure this.
Compassionately observantThe offbeat characters enhance the quasi-dreamlike effect, but the scenarios they face are starkly realTheir emotional hardships are satisfyingly leavened by softer moments of romantic and familial love.
[Hegi is] a writer at the height of her powers. I cant think of a better way to endorse a novel than to say I will be gifting it to my book-loving friends and familya gift, mind you, not a loan, as I want this title in my keeper bookshelf. As in a circus after a particularly riveting performance, The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls deserves a thunderous round of applause.
Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and Afterlife
The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls is a novel full of marvelschildren with missing fathers, girls too young to be mothers, nuns who cherish their charges, circus acrobats, the beautiful northern lightbut the greatest marvel is Ursula Hegis shimmering, radiant, vivid prose. Her characters, and their lives full of love and longing, leap off the page and into the readers heart.
Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Praise for Ursula Hegi
An outstanding talent. The New York Times Book Review
A writer of grace and immediacy. Meg Wolitzer
Epic, daring, magnificent. Los Angeles Times
Unforgettable. The Washington Post
Stunning. Los Angeles Times
Deeply moving. J.M. Coetzee
BrilliantMesmerizing. Chicago Tribune
Marvelous. Alice McDermott
Devastatingly honest. San Francisco Chronicle
Masterful. The Washington Post
Flatiron Books, 9781250156822, 288pp.
Publication Date: August 18, 2020