MLA Platinum Award Press Release

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls Summary and Reviews

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls

A Novel

by Ursula Hegi

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi X
The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi
  • Readers' rating:

  • Publishes in USA 
    Aug 18, 2020
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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 island's 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. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls. After the tragedy, Lotte's 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 isn't 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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"A writer at the height of her powers. I can't think of a better way to 'endorse' a novel than to say I will be gifting it to my book-loving friends and family―a gift, mind you, not a loan, as I want to keep this title in my keeper bookshelf along with several others of my favorite of Hegi's novels." - Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Saving the World, and most recently A Wedding in Haiti

"The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls is a novel full of marvels...but the greatest marvel is Ursula Hegi's shimmering, radiant, vivid prose. Her characters, and their lives full of love and longing, leap off the page and into the reader's heart." - Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The information about The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Mary Anne R. (Towson, MD)

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
This was a difficult novel for me to get into at first. The beginning scenes enveloped me in sadness. Maybe because of the pandemic I had trouble reading further but I am glad I did. Once the characters,so many characters, appeared on the scene I wanted to know them and their story.
The author has created a society of people where there is loss, heartache, deceit, abandonment and love. It is love that weaves its delight in the story. She has also created a place where non-human elements such as the Nordsee, the Zircus, the home for the girls are injected with life.
The author's characters have such depth.even the ones met a few times. I liked the author's writing style. Often it is beautifully poetic.
I think this is a good book for a book club discussion. There are many emotions involved in the novel that it would be interesting to get the opinion of others.

Patricia A. (Estero, FL)

A story of grief and love - The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
It's been a while since I have read one of Ursula Hegi's novels, but in reading "The Patron Saint of Girls" I was quickly reminded of why I like her books so much. Hegi has again written an original and moving novel with a huge cast of fantastic characters that weave their way into your p head. I loved this book and the people in it, they are lovable and tragic and very human.

The nuns take in young pregnant girls, care for them, teach them and their children or arrange for the adoption of their babies. Tillie's baby is torn from her arms although she is desperate to keep her. However, poor Tillie is only eleven years old and has nowhere to go as her parents will not take her back. She is too young to be responsible for a child as she is a child herself.

The story is set in the land of dikes and windmills in the 19th century where the land floods frequently. This is primarily the story of Lotte and Kalle and of their tremendous loss. Three of their four children are pulled into the sea and drown in a hundred-year wave.

The year is 1878, a glorious summer day when the circus (zirkus) is in town, an event looked forward to all year. We meet the members of the circus, considered misfits or outcasts by some, but Hegi draws them with tremendous respect and tenderness. Each of these people are worth knowing and enriches the story of Lotte, Kalle, and Tillie.

Sabine, who sews costumes and the beekeeper who loves her and her and her daughter, Heike, who will always have the mind of a child but has the gift of playing the cello, even the jugglers and acrobats all enrich the story.

Part of the book goes back to 1842-45 when the nuns establish the school and home for the young unwed girls. But it is the year of Lotte's and Kalle's denial and unimaginable grief and their creation of an alternate reality the builds up a terror of what might lie ahead that grips the reader with fear.

Janice A. (Chippewa Falls, WI)

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
The characters in this book are complex and their backgrounds are slowly revealed. As I discovered more about each character, I developed a further understanding of the loss the character experienced, their reaction to this loss, and the strength they found. At times, I found the number and complexity of the characters to be confusing. Like me, other readers may initially struggle with the writing style. However, if you can adapt to this style you will discover an intriguing and interesting story.

Juli B. (Prosper, TX)

A story to savor in a quiet corner.
The storyline of this highly anticipated novel by respected writer Ursula Hegi is filled with mystical situations, poetic language, rich characterizations, and heartbreaking details about family relationships presenting readers with a truly emotional experience. The exquisite writing style is best savored in a quiet reading corner to appreciate the complex emotions of grief, unconditional love, and parenting that are unveiled slowly throughout a series of flashbacks as well as real-time dramatic moments. Losses are profound, but treated with beautifully detailed language that places words where only emotions generally live. Overall the storyline is often confusing. The timeline weaves a fairly complicated plot swirling around multiple characters and a sometimes choppy paragraph alignment moving too quickly between situations, but Lotte's belief in miracles will guide readers forward with hope that happiness will win over her crushing self-imposed guilt in the end.

Pamela F. (Sun City West, AZ)

Well done!
I have to agree with some of the other readers of this book. I, too, found it a little difficult to get into. But please stick with this one. So many interesting characters...you just want to dive into their lives. A good read indeed!

Sherry K. (Lufkin, TX)

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
In 1878 the remote German village of Nordstrand lies amid a thick yellow growth of rapeseed and the Nordsee with its grays and blues.
This story is about people who love and whose lives are laced together, who respect, no, venerate their elders. 'The old people' are revered for their knowledge and experience . An annual festival festival is held honoring the eldest person in the village -- --- a coveted honor. It is acknowledged however that many of their stories may have been picked up through gossip. The men fish, the women tend their houses, cook, clean and care for their children. They attend mass at the stately St. Margaret's church where the nuns care for pregnant Girls, birth their babies, and find homes for them. The nuns provide a broad education for the Girls… physics, geography, theater, dancing, art. A circus comes to town once a year, thrilling everyone. Life in this tranquil village is anything but idyllic or simple. Unbelievably, a tragedy occurs in the wake of a tremendous wave, a surge that only occurs every 100 years. Three children are lost to the wave. The entire village is devastated. The story of how they were affected, both immediately and for the rest of their lives is exquisitely told by the writer. Lives become intertwined throughout the devastation and sorrow. It is a story of women, mothers, wives, girls, nuns...young and old. I loved this book, the characters and the realism. I had a problem, however with so many Germanic words and phrases which interfered with my thought process like hitting a bump in the road while enjoying a beautiful bucolic country ride.

...5 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Ursula Hegi

Ursula Hegi is the author of thirteen books, including Stones from the River, Children and Fire, Floating in My Mother's Palm, and Tearing the Silence, and is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards. She teaches in the Stony Brook MFA program and lives with her family on Long Island.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Death in Mud Lick
    Death in Mud Lick
    by Eric Eyre
    When Eric Eyre, investigative and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Daily, began ...
  • Book Jacket
    Orange World and Other Stories
    by Karen Russell
    Karen Russell has a tremendous gift for crafting uncanny, through-the-looking glass worlds that are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book of Longings
    The Book of Longings
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the life of Ana, a woman born in the Galilean city of ...
  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.