The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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.
About the Author
Ursula Hegi is the author of over a dozen books, including Stones from the River, Children and Fire, Floating in My Mother’s Palm, and Tearing the Silence, and has received more than thirty grants and awards. She teaches in the Stony Brook MFA program and lives with her family on Long Island.
Praise for The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
“Mesmerizing…Hegi’s command of the plot and ability to render poignant characters create a satisfyingly emotional story. Hegi’s fans and devotees of literary fiction will treasure this.”
“Compassionately observant…The offbeat characters enhance the quasi-dreamlike effect, but the scenarios they face are starkly real…Their emotional hardships are satisfyingly leavened by softer moments of romantic and familial love.”
“[Hegi is] 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 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 marvels—children with missing fathers, girls too young to be mothers, nuns who cherish their charges, circus acrobats, the beautiful northern light—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, 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
“Brilliant…Mesmerizing.” —Chicago Tribune
“Marvelous.” —Alice McDermott
“Devastatingly honest.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Masterful.” —The Washington Post