The Welsh Fasting Girl

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Twelve-year-old Welsh girl Sarah Jacob can live without food or drink–a miracle that draws the attention of not only her small community but people all over Wales, and the world. Confined to her bed in her Welsh village, Sarah receives visitors and, often, their gifts. As the excitement grows, a reporter in Brooklyn named Christine Thomas gets wind of the story and travels to Wales to report back for her paper. Christine is drawn to the story, and to Wales itself–the homeland of her husband, James, who went missing during the war and is presumed dead. Leaving behind her children, Christine meets Sarah and is immediately horrified by what she understands to be dangerous fraud. Living without food is impossible; someone must be secretly feeding her. When the community insists on a round-the-clock watch, Christine knows the only outcome will be a disaster for Sarah. The only question, in the end, is who is most to blame.

Believers and nonbelievers, curious onlookers and angry demanders of proof–all are drawn to Sarah and are affected by her ordeal. O’Connor employs multiple points of view to reveal the depth of anguish behind this seeming miracle. Though the legal trial that results may produce a villain, we understand clearly that the true-crime for Sarah and the other real-life fasting girls of her time is the community’s unwillingness not only to accept scientific reality but to speak out to save a life.


Reviewed By:

Author Varley O'Connor
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Bellevue Literary Press
Publish Date 2019-05-07
ISBN 9781942658627
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2019
Category Popular Fiction
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