The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
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 has come to the island Nordstrand in Germany. Big-bellied girls rush from St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls, thrilled to see the parade and the show, followed by the Sisters who care for them. The Old Women and Men, competing to be crowned as the island’s Oldest Person, watch, thinking they have seen it all. 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, still just a child herself, who will give birth later that day at St. Margaret’s. And all three will end up helping each other more than they ever could have anticipated.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 shattering portrait of marriage and motherhood, and of the ways in which women hold each other up in the face of heartbreak.

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls Details

TitleThe Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
Author
ReleaseAug 18th, 2020
PublisherFlatiron Books
ISBN-139781250156822
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls Review

  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    I read Stones from the River many years ago, so when I had the chance to read this one, before release, I jumped at the chance! Hegi has a way of making the extraordinary seem more ordinary and vice versa, with characters that are unique. This has a varied cast of characters: a family who loses three children, and how they react to the terrible tragedy; a disparate group of compassionate nuns living in an abandoned mansion they have restored, along with the various pregnant girls they take in; I read Stones from the River many years ago, so when I had the chance to read this one, before release, I jumped at the chance! Hegi has a way of making the extraordinary seem more ordinary and vice versa, with characters that are unique. This has a varied cast of characters: a family who loses three children, and how they react to the terrible tragedy; a disparate group of compassionate nuns living in an abandoned mansion they have restored, along with the various pregnant girls they take in; the traveling circus group and all of their idiosyncrasies and problems in their lives; the town people who vie to be crowned the oldest person; to the interactions among all of these people. I knew it wouldn't be an ordinary novel, and it wasn't! Some of the people with the worst problems grasp and embellish on a local myth for self-soothing, to the point of true belief with possible dangerous consequences. I was almost holding my breath towards the end! I do like endings that don't leave you wondering what happened, but it did seem like it was finished very quickly at the end. I could have used a little more wrap up, but I did enjoy it! Thank you to Ursula Hegi, Flatiron Books and NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Im often curious to see why certain books attract me, and there were several reasons why I couldnt pass up a chance to read this one: a) the Nordsee setting in the mid 1800s, which promised an interesting background to an unusual story; b) Comparison of the book to WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, which I loved (even though I am always wary of comparisons to popular books); c) it had a circus in it! d) I wanted something character driven, quirky and unusual, and this one certainly fit the bill.I am happy to I’m often curious to see why certain books attract me, and there were several reasons why I couldn’t pass up a chance to read this one: a) the Nordsee setting in the mid 1800s, which promised an interesting background to an unusual story; b) Comparison of the book to WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, which I loved (even though I am always wary of comparisons to popular books); c) it had a circus in it! d) I wanted something character driven, quirky and unusual, and this one certainly fit the bill.I am happy to say that Hegi’s book with the unusual title THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS lived up to all my expectations. Set in the mid 1800s, it centres around the stories of four different women who are loosely connected by the setting and the terrible accident that happens right at the beginning of the book: the tragic drowning of three children when a freak wave rips them out of their mother’s arms. Whilst this event forms the a big part of the story, it is only one thread among many others, musing about pregnancy, motherhood, female friendship, marriage, loss, grief and womanhood in general in Germany in the mid 1800s. Hegi’s writing is lyrical and descriptive and vividly painted the characters and the setting for me right from the start.What I love most about historical fiction – apart from learning about different eras in history – is trying to put myself in the character’s position and reflect on how I would act, how different my life would be. Being a woman in the 1800s was no picnic: childbirth was hazardous for mother and child, and many infants didn’t survive long, claimed by illnesses and complications that are easily treated today. And if you were unlucky enough to be young and pregnant outside of marriage, an even grimmer fate would await you: death at the hands of some backyard abortionist or escape to homes for unwed mothers, where the child would be taken from you straight after birth. And yet womanhood held some of the same joys, hopes and dreams as we experience today.THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS was a slow, reflective read that gently took me on its journey. I won’t be a good fit for readers who want action, or a definite progression of the journey towards a finale, or even a central plot, because this story isn’t like that. Instead, it flowed gently, like a gurgling brook, not reaching any destination. I was in the mood for such a story and appreciated the emotions the story awakened in me whilst reading, and the reflections it prompted. I can see that it will not appeal to everyone, but if you like that kind of story that rolls out in dreamlike pictures and landscapes, then I would urge you to give it a go. 3.5 starsThank you to Edelweiss and Flatiron Books for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*
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  • Aisling
    January 1, 1970
    Hmmm. A brilliant writer and brilliant writing but the book still falls down... maybe under the weight of the grief. No, not really. Although this book deals with some devastating stories ( an 11 year old pregnant from incest, a mother whose three children drown in front of her, a single mother with a learning disabled daughter) the real problem with this book is not the themes or plot (although the ending was so jarringly out of character it did not work for me) it is the voice; there are so Hmmm. A brilliant writer and brilliant writing but the book still falls down... maybe under the weight of the grief. No, not really. Although this book deals with some devastating stories ( an 11 year old pregnant from incest, a mother whose three children drown in front of her, a single mother with a learning disabled daughter) the real problem with this book is not the themes or plot (although the ending was so jarringly out of character it did not work for me) it is the voice; there are so many voices it's a cacophony. And switching from third person to the first person perspective was so jarring it took me right out of the book as I tried to remember who was speaking.I found it hard to get involved in this book and even once I did I really only began to enjoy it when I gave up on figuring out relevance or cohesion and just enjoyed the phrases and words of the author It did all start making sense toward the end. But it was a little bit too much work and not a good payout. For me the difficulty is that two of the women and their attending 'worlds' (the circus for one, the home for unwed mothers for another) are exposed in a kind of realistic way while the third story has elements of fantasy which are then immediately dropped.I enjoyed it because of the beautiful writing and the imaginative stories but this felt like a very, very early draft of a book.
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  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Oh boy! I just got this from NetGalley. Incredible writing. Its not being published for months but I couldnt wait to start reading. Oh boy! I just got this from NetGalley. Incredible writing. It’s not being published for months but I couldn’t wait to start reading.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    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 has come to the island Nordstrand in Germany. Big-bellied girls rush from St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls, thrilled to see the parade and the show, followed by the Sisters who care for them. The Old Women and Men, competing to be crowned as the islands Oldest Person, 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 has come to the island Nordstrand in Germany. Big-bellied girls rush from St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls, thrilled to see the parade and the show, followed by the Sisters who care for them. The Old Women and Men, competing to be crowned as the island’s Oldest Person, watch, thinking they have seen it all. 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, still just a child herself, who will give birth later that day at St. Margaret’s. And all three will end up helping each other more than they ever could have anticipated.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 shattering portrait of marriage and motherhood, and of the ways in which women hold each other up in the face of heartbreak.The story begins at the sea on an island in Germany at a time when the town is abuzz because the Lugwig Zirkus has come to town. But tragedy strikes when a Hundred Year Wave takes three young siblings out to sea and lives on the island are changed forever. Three mothers in particular are the focus of this story. Lotte, whose children are taken by the wave, Sabine, whose daughter will always remain a child, and Tilli, a child herself who gives birth to her own baby amidst the tragedy. Hegi brilliantly weaves the lives of these three women together as they all fight their own demons and attempt to overcome their struggles and find peace. From marriage to motherhood, Hegi illuminates the struggles that humans face as they live the lives that fate has handed them. There is a also a mystical aspect to this story as the Old Women weave lore and legend into the lives of these women. I enjoyed the novel greatly, even though i had a bit of difficulty keeping track of all the characters, and how they related to the main storyline.
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  • Hana Correa
    January 1, 1970
    I did find this book a little in the unusual side, all at once whimsical and charming while also deeply fraught with some very heavy emotions. Set in the late 1800s on the small island of Nordstrand in Germany, three vastly different women confront different aspects of love and loss. All share a special connection through a unique school/ orphanage/ church where pregnant girls who are cast out by their families for their sin can find a safe haven. Many of the babies are adopted out, those that I did find this book a little in the unusual side, all at once whimsical and charming while also deeply fraught with some very heavy emotions. Set in the late 1800’s on the small island of Nordstrand in Germany, three vastly different women confront different aspects of love and loss. All share a special connection through a unique school/ orphanage/ church where pregnant girls who are cast out by their families for their sin can find a safe haven. Many of the babies are adopted out, those that are not are raised by the industrious sisters. Many of the girls return to their families after having their babies, while others that have nowhere else to go stick around to assist as needed. It is here that Sabine, Tilli, and Lotte find themselves. Sabine has spent much of her life protecting her developmentally challenged daughter, Tilli who fell pregnant at age 11, and Lotte who lost three of her four children in a freak 100 year wave. While their backgrounds are very different, each girl comes to serve a valuable place in the each of the other girls lives. While I did get slightly lost here and there, especially in the flash backs, generally the story held together well and is at times both hopeful, and melancholic. A worthwhile speed read notable for its ability to impart the unique perspectives of three extraordinary women on the reader while weaving an intricate period tale that is almost 150 years old. Thank you to Netgalley for early copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Leslie Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    Three mothers, one circus, a one-hundred-year wave, a droned town, coupled with grief, parenting, and the ways women hold each other up through challenging times. It's the summer of 1878 and the Ludwig Zirkus (circus) has come to the island of Nordstrand in Germany. Big-bellied girls from the nearby St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls are thrilled to see the parade and the show as are the Sisters who care for them, so begins THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS by Ursula Hegi (forthcoming from Three mothers, one circus, a one-hundred-year wave, a droned town, coupled with grief, parenting, and the ways women hold each other up through challenging times. It's the summer of 1878 and the Ludwig Zirkus (circus) has come to the island of Nordstrand in Germany. Big-bellied girls from the nearby St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls are thrilled to see the parade and the show as are the Sisters who care for them, so begins THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS by Ursula Hegi (forthcoming from Flatiron Books, August 2020). Lotte and her husband, Kalle, a toymaker are near the ocean when a one-hundred-year-wave roars from the Nordsee and claims the lives of three of their young children. Lotte is holding Wilhelm, the baby, and he is spared. Yet, Lotte and Kalle, childhood sweethearts are bereft with grief. On the beach that day are three mothers: Lotte, whose children are gone except Wilhelm, Tilli, an 11-year old girl who just gave birth at the home and had her baby adopted, and Sabine, a seamstress for the Zirkus, and single mother of Heike, a mentally disabled young woman. Each experiences heartbreak in their own unique ways...which is what I would say is the overarching theme of THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS. Kalle leaves his wife and infant son and joins the Zirkus, Lotte is unable to nurse her remaining child and so Tilli steps in and becomes his wet nurse, but also bonds with him in ways his mother is unable to. There are some very tough themes in THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS, which is told in a deeply moving, metaphorical manner, but there are a good many POVs, voices, and plot lines that may make reading a bit of a challenge. The structure of THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS is not linear at all, we vacillate between past and present, slip into the lives of various characters and their experiences, and often I had difficulty discerning which character was telling the story. What I think this might speak to is the cacophony of grief, that there is not one single way to experience it, but it ebbs and flows, much like the Nordsee, the setting of this near-fantasy tale. Parental bonding--or lack thereof--is a theme in THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS, as is childhood incest and pregnancy, shunning, wanderlust, adoption, mentally challenged individuals, single mothers, and more. There's also a nun who was forced to give up her child 41-years ago. Part folklore, part literary fiction, part historical, THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS is a luminous and powerful story of friendship and heartache. I felt the story could have been sharpened a bit; there seemed to have been too many loose ends and not a clear story arc, but this could just be me and my reading experience at this time (being smack in the middle of a worldwide pandemic), and I felt the ending, while ultimately satisfying, I didn't find to be congruent with the way the characters had been behaving all along. I do think readers of historical fiction will enjoy this title. I especially reminded of THE BOOK OF SPECULATION (Erika Swyler) meets WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, THE MAGDALENE GIRLS (V.S. Alexander), INDELIBLE (Adelia Saunders), and the work of Kate Hamer (THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT and THE DOLL FUNERAL). For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book.Special thanks to Flatiron Books for this review copy. All Thoughts are my own.
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  • Erika
    January 1, 1970
    --I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are purely my own and not influenced in any way.--I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting with this book, but I do know that this wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I read the synopsis. I'm an avid historical fiction fan, so I did like some of the settings of late nineteenth century Germany, and I actually liked the exploration into how grief can make you believe what you want to believe only for reality to --I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are purely my own and not influenced in any way.--I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting with this book, but I do know that this wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I read the synopsis. I'm an avid historical fiction fan, so I did like some of the settings of late nineteenth century Germany, and I actually liked the exploration into how grief can make you believe what you want to believe only for reality to come crashing down. That said, that's not really enough to build a book on, so we apparently had to add in all sorts of characters and a randomly switching narrative (seriously, most of it's in third person, but one perspective is in first person). There's nothing that denotes a new perspective, so some of the switches can be rather jarring. There are FAR to many character perspectives in this, and many of which add NOTHING to the plot (the Old Women? Added nothing. The many people in the house for pregnant women? Keep one or two, but it becomes kind of stale when everyone is saying and experiencing the same thing), but instead bog down an already bloated story. There's simultaneously too much happening (circus, house for pregnant girls, and the grown subplot) and nothing happening. For so much going on, I was amazed at how bored I was reading this, maybe because the many alternating point of views made it difficult to connect with anyone since you never really KNEW anyone. I feel like this would've been better as a series of short stories rather than a constantly wandering narrative. For what it's worth, I don't necessarily think the ideas presented were bad, but I find that presenting them all at once makes for a cluttered and confusing read.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*The premise of this book intrigued me, but unfortunately it wasn't what I expected it to be. I feel bad having the first 1 star review, but I have to be honest about my experience. This one just wasn't for me. When I first started, I thought the story was a little strange, but the writing was beautiful, so I was willing to see where it would go. But eventually, the writing became the biggest obstacle for me. It's lyrical and *I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*The premise of this book intrigued me, but unfortunately it wasn't what I expected it to be. I feel bad having the first 1 star review, but I have to be honest about my experience. This one just wasn't for me. When I first started, I thought the story was a little strange, but the writing was beautiful, so I was willing to see where it would go. But eventually, the writing became the biggest obstacle for me. It's lyrical and rich, but it's heavy handed. I couldn't follow the plot because it was hidden behind the prose, metaphors, and the strange shifting perspectives between first person and third person. I just finished the book minutes ago, and I couldn't tell you what happened. There were also several things that were described in such a weird way that it just made me uncomfortable to read.There were also far too many characters and plot points going on at once. There was the drama with the wave, the circus, the sisters, the pregnant girls, the beekeeper, and so much more I don't even remember. I know the author was trying to weave all the threads of plot together, but it just got messy and made it even more confusing to understand. I feel like either half of the characters and plot points needed to be cut out, or this should have been more of an anthology following each of the characters in this world.I understand this is an early copy, and I'm sure there's time for the author to edit and improve this story to make it palatable. But for me, I don't think there could be a dramatic enough change to shift my rating.
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  • Elle
    January 1, 1970
    * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *When a rogue wave sweeps Lotte's three eldest children out to sea, she is bereft and tosses her youngest into the surf in an attempt to trade God one child for the other three. In their mourning, her husband Kalle deserts her, leaving town with the traveling Zirkus that comes each year. Lotte is moved in with the sisters of St. Margaret's and her child is wet nursed by young Tilli, who has lost her * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *When a rogue wave sweeps Lotte's three eldest children out to sea, she is bereft and tosses her youngest into the surf in an attempt to trade God one child for the other three. In their mourning, her husband Kalle deserts her, leaving town with the traveling Zirkus that comes each year. Lotte is moved in with the sisters of St. Margaret's and her child is wet nursed by young Tilli, who has lost her own child via adoption at the tender age of 11.The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls is a good multifaceted view of grief and hardship, following how the human mind and soul deal with loss. Highly character driven, the story provides bits and pieces of Lotte, Tilli, and Sabine (the Zirkus seamstress) as they process their own personal moments of grief. The character driven approach provides insights, but can be frustrating because it feels like there is so much potential in the outlines that exist. So much more could be explored beyond the boundaries that are tested.This is a weird and winding narrative that feels more like a series of short stories loosely intertwined than a full-fledged novel. For me, there wasn't enough here. The stories felt outlined and unfinished--giving a taste of the depth that could be fleshed out without actually achieving it. I was left terribly underwhelmed and, though I liked the writing of it, I didn't like where it ended.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    I read 25% and I couldnt finish this book... the premise was so interesting and I was excited to read it but man, I just couldnt do the writing style. It was confusing and jumpy and I had the hardest time following or trying to understand what the author was trying to portray. I couldnt tell what emotions I was supposed to be feeling by certain encounters. The perspective changing wasnt handled well and a lot of background info was thrown in with no setup or context and was hard to follow. I read 25% and I couldn’t finish this book... the premise was so interesting and I was excited to read it but man, I just couldn’t do the writing style. It was confusing and jumpy and I had the hardest time following or trying to understand what the author was trying to portray. I couldn’t tell what emotions I was supposed to be feeling by certain encounters. The perspective changing wasn’t handled well and a lot of background info was thrown in with no setup or context and was hard to follow. Others who have liked the book have mentioned the ‘poetic’ writing as a factor. To each his own. To me, an example of poetic writing is The Book Thief. This didn’t feel poetic. Just because you use one word sentences and run on sentences and big beautiful words doesn’t make it poetic. I don’t read it and say ‘This is so so confusing so it must be so deep that I can’t grasp the importance and intentionality.’ Who would? What’s the point of poetic writing if it doesn’t illicit emotion or take the reader on the proper journey? I was frustrated because I wanted to see it through and I want to see where it goes but I just can’t take the writing. I can only read so many books in a year and I didn’t want to continue wasting my time to read something that just frustrated me. **Thank you NetGalley for the ARC and I’m sorry I couldn’t give a better review for this one**
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    After reading an intro to The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi , I immediately requested an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. I was hooked by the cover and the title as well as the description and was thrilled to have it sent to me. I wasted no time diving in and the author wasted no time in introducing the reader to the tragedy that sets this story in motion. Shortly after that, though, things really began to simmer down for me. I had a hard time sticking with After reading an intro to The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi , I immediately requested an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. I was hooked by the cover and the title as well as the description and was thrilled to have it sent to me. I wasted no time diving in and the author wasted no time in introducing the reader to the tragedy that sets this story in motion. Shortly after that, though, things really began to simmer down for me. I had a hard time sticking with the story. Each character faced so much despair with topics of grief, abandonment, homosexuality, incest etc. that it took me more than a month to make my way through it. I should mention that this did remind me of Water for Elephants (which I LOVED) as it is a circus based story but that is where the similarity ends. I just didn't want to jump back in again and again but I also wont walk away from a book prior to finishing with the hope that things will pick up. The description that reads "as full of joy and beauty as it is pain" was off the mark for me. I just didn't see the joy or feel it through this book. I did find myself caring about some the characters in this story but wanted so much more for them. Although this book was not for me, others may enjoy this read that is set on a small island of Germany in 1878.
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  • Tristan Munoz
    January 1, 1970
    I was very excited to begin this book after reading the description. The premise sounds amazing and the setting and cast of characters sounded promising. On a German island, a giant wave takes out three young children belonging to the Jansen family. Mothers from the Ludwig Zirkus, from St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls, and from the island town come together to aid each other through grief and other life experiences. I found the writing extremely difficult to follow. The point of view I was very excited to begin this book after reading the description. The premise sounds amazing and the setting and cast of characters sounded promising. On a German island, a giant wave takes out three young children belonging to the Jansen family. Mothers from the Ludwig Zirkus, from St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls, and from the island town come together to aid each other through grief and other life experiences. I found the writing extremely difficult to follow. The point of view jumped all over the place without a smooth transition. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and reviewed the book in December. This leaves several months for editing and I would be interested in trying this book again if there were any changes made. It was much too difficult to enjoy the story line the way it's currently written.The women from various backgrounds that were able to assist each other through their difficult life experiences was very touching. I also enjoyed learning more about the obstacles faced during life in the 1800's. Many thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to review this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars.*I download this one based on an online recommendation of upcoming feminist literature.I wasn't a huge fan. It was an interesting story-although I struggled to make sense of the characters and the time frame. It takes place in a small German village in 1878, and all of the lead up conjured up the impression that I'd be back in Water for Elephants. The only real similarity was the circus. I struggled to relate to any of the characters and the imagery and allegory was just lost on me. It 3 stars.*I download this one based on an online recommendation of upcoming feminist literature.I wasn't a huge fan. It was an interesting story-although I struggled to make sense of the characters and the time frame. It takes place in a small German village in 1878, and all of the lead up conjured up the impression that I'd be back in Water for Elephants. The only real similarity was the circus. I struggled to relate to any of the characters and the imagery and allegory was just lost on me. It is the story of Lotte and her husband Kalle who suffer following the tragic drowning of three of their four children. They village where they live is home to a former monastery that has been converted into a home for pregnant girls run by nuns. It is also the story of 11-year old Tilli, a pregnant girl who comes to care for Lotte's surviving son after her baby is taken from her and Lotte cannot function after the loss of her other children.I really enjoyed the writing style and the imagery. I just didn't connect with the story.*with thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Cheri Schuler-faust
    January 1, 1970
    Three mothers in 1878 Germany form a friendship circling around events in their lives revolving around their children. Lotte lost her three oldest children to a 100 year wave and tries to sacrifice her youngest, a baby, to bring her others back. She fails, but at the same time has no interest in nursing her last remaining child. Tilli, who is impregnated by her twin brother is sent to St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls to have the baby, which she has to give up. Because of her lost, she is Three mothers in 1878 Germany form a friendship circling around events in their lives revolving around their children. Lotte lost her three oldest children to a 100 year wave and tries to sacrifice her youngest, a baby, to bring her others back. She fails, but at the same time has no interest in nursing her last remaining child. Tilli, who is impregnated by her twin brother is sent to St. Margaret's Home for Pregnant Girls to have the baby, which she has to give up. Because of her lost, she is given the task of nursing Lotte's baby. Sabine, falls in love with a trapeze artist and when she becomes pregnant, he leaves her. Sabine's daughter is born and has a mental handicap, not being able to get past a kindergarten mentality I usually love Ursula Hegi's writing but this one never grabbed me. I didn't care for any of the main characters, I felt the book was extremely disjointed and at times leaned toward fantasy which I don't care for at all. I really wanted to like this book.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi is a historical fiction piece that has many elements added: folklore, fantasy, history. The elements fuse into a novel that is rich in imagery, emotion, and invokes a response from deep within. I enjoyed this book immensely as it was slightly out of my normal genre, however it was totally worth the experience. I was not sure where this book would initially take me, but as it progressed, the plot quickened and I quickly became immersed. The ending The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi is a historical fiction piece that has many elements added: folklore, fantasy, history. The elements fuse into a novel that is rich in imagery, emotion, and invokes a response from deep within. I enjoyed this book immensely as it was slightly out of my normal genre, however it was totally worth the experience. I was not sure where this book would initially take me, but as it progressed, the plot quickened and I quickly became immersed. The ending was quite satisfying and impressive.Definitely a great read. 5/5 starsThank you NetGalley and Flatiron Books for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.I am submitting this review to my GR account immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Bookbub, and B&N accounts immediately.
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  • Traci Wilmoth
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this book. I wanted to love it, but I felt it ended a little abruptly. The characters are amazing, but the plot feels a little meandering.The book is set in a small community on the water. One day, Lotte is walking with her four small children in the water, when three of them are tragically swept away from her, leaving only her baby son, Wilhem. The book follows her story, how it affects her marriage, her relationship with her remaining child, and even her sanity. There is also a convent I liked this book. I wanted to love it, but I felt it ended a little abruptly. The characters are amazing, but the plot feels a little meandering.The book is set in a small community on the water. One day, Lotte is walking with her four small children in the water, when three of them are tragically swept away from her, leaving only her baby son, Wilhem. The book follows her story, how it affects her marriage, her relationship with her remaining child, and even her sanity. There is also a convent that offers a home for young girls to give birth to their children conceived out of wedlock., And, a traveling circus that is full of interesting characters.There is a lot to like in a book with all of these features, and I certainly did, but I do wish the story had more cohesiveness, and I still had a lot of questions at the end.
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  • Beck
    January 1, 1970
    I was very much attracted to the premise of this book and that is what ultimately lead to my requesting the title. Spoiler alert: I'm so happy I did!This book takes place in the Summer of 1878 in Germany. During a parade, the unthinkable happens. A tidal wave occurs, sweeping up three young lives. The mothers that are present when this tragedy takes place end up supporting and bringing unanticipated change to one another's lives.The three main characters, Lotte, Sabine, and Tille all had very I was very much attracted to the premise of this book and that is what ultimately lead to my requesting the title. Spoiler alert: I'm so happy I did!This book takes place in the Summer of 1878 in Germany. During a parade, the unthinkable happens. A tidal wave occurs, sweeping up three young lives. The mothers that are present when this tragedy takes place end up supporting and bringing unanticipated change to one another's lives.The three main characters, Lotte, Sabine, and Tille all had very interesting storylines. That is what really kept me interested in the novel. I was motivated to find out what would happen to all of them. The character development was very well done.Any historical fiction fan would really enjoy this book!
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  • Heather Brock
    January 1, 1970
    "...perfect for fans of Water for Elephants and The Light Between Oceans.I think this one is lost on me. I enjoyed Water for Elephants and adored The Light Between Oceans, but The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls fell flat. Certain passages are beautifully written, and have a dreamy quality to them. The writing can feel very fragmented, and sometimes it can seem a teensy bit hard to follow. There are themes of incest, mental difficulties, grief, longing, sex, and love. I had high hopes for Patron, "...perfect for fans of Water for Elephants and The Light Between Oceans.I think this one is lost on me. I enjoyed Water for Elephants and adored The Light Between Oceans, but The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls fell flat. Certain passages are beautifully written, and have a dreamy quality to them. The writing can feel very fragmented, and sometimes it can seem a teensy bit hard to follow. There are themes of incest, mental difficulties, grief, longing, sex, and love. I had high hopes for Patron, but I should have tempered my expectations. There were certainly be readers who love this book, and others like me who just aren't enraptured. I do appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book courtesy of Flatiron Books.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Many, many eons ago, according to the Old Women of Strand, a humungous wave of the Nordsee came and totally buried the neighboring town of Runholdt. Ms Hegi uses this legend as she carefully creates a lyrical and beautiful impressionistic tale of the present town of Strand. Her spot-on descriptions of many of the characters and their contributions help to explain why the town is so successful. By adding psychological details about some of the residents she explains what the Legend means to them, Many, many eons ago, according to the Old Women of Strand, a humungous wave of the Nordsee came and totally buried the neighboring town of Runholdt. Ms Hegi uses this legend as she carefully creates a lyrical and beautiful impressionistic tale of the present town of Strand. Her spot-on descriptions of many of the characters and their contributions help to explain why the town is so successful. By adding psychological details about some of the residents she explains what the Legend means to them, and how it will influence their lives. She carefully weaves love, in all of its forms, throughout.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advanced Readers Copy and was looking forward to reading this book. I remember loving Stones from the River so many years ago and this book has some of those same qualities. But overall, this book failed to capture me. It took me weeks of picking it up and putting it down again--I read 4 other books before I managed to finish this one. I love so much of the writing and description and interesting characters, but ultimately, this book was all over the place. It didn't seem to settle I received an Advanced Readers Copy and was looking forward to reading this book. I remember loving Stones from the River so many years ago and this book has some of those same qualities. But overall, this book failed to capture me. It took me weeks of picking it up and putting it down again--I read 4 other books before I managed to finish this one. I love so much of the writing and description and interesting characters, but ultimately, this book was all over the place. It didn't seem to settle on one story, but jumped around too much. I would have loved more about St. Margaret's house, the sisters there, and Tilli. The story veered off and lost me.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Patron Saint of Pregnant GirlsMy thanks to #NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review. Reminiscent of Like Water for Elephants, Ursula Hegi, brings together the fanciful world of the folklore and fantasy with historical fiction. The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls is filled with rich imagery and vivid descriptions which tell the story of women and girls, families, and marriages, all told together in a mish-mash of a winding plot. The plot is slightly convoluted and a little hard Patron Saint of Pregnant GirlsMy thanks to #NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review. Reminiscent of Like Water for Elephants, Ursula Hegi, brings together the fanciful world of the folklore and fantasy with historical fiction. The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls is filled with rich imagery and vivid descriptions which tell the story of women and girls, families, and marriages, all told together in a mish-mash of a winding plot. The plot is slightly convoluted and a little hard to follow at times, but it’s worth the trip. Hegi builds a story filled with joy and pain, beauty and sorrow. It is a tribute to the monumental strength of women.
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    Into the North SeaOn an island in the cold North Sea, Lotte loses three of her four children to a rogue wave. The story of the island community is entwined with the natural surroundings...freak waves, starlings, pregnant girls, and the circus coming to town.The writing is beautiful and evocative. Most of the characters and the settings become well known. But -- and this is a BIG but -- the characters and settings change so abruptly that it is confusing. One changes to another before I had a Into the North SeaOn an island in the cold North Sea, Lotte loses three of her four children to a rogue wave. The story of the island community is entwined with the natural surroundings...freak waves, starlings, pregnant girls, and the circus coming to town.The writing is beautiful and evocative. Most of the characters and the settings become well known. But -- and this is a BIG but -- the characters and settings change so abruptly that it is confusing. One changes to another before I had a feeling for the first one. What should have been a beautiful story was confusing and frustrating for me.
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  • Tisha G
    January 1, 1970
    * I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways.*This is not an easy book to review. I loved much of the writing, the strong sense of place Hegi evokes and the honest and ultimately celebrative portrayal of community. But the choppy writing style, which switches often between prose and a sort of poetry and between first and third person perspectives, kept jolting me out of the story. I found myself frequently having to reread sections.All in all, I * I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways.*This is not an easy book to review. I loved much of the writing, the strong sense of place Hegi evokes and the honest and ultimately celebrative portrayal of community. But the choppy writing style, which switches often between prose and a sort of poetry and between first and third person perspectives, kept jolting me out of the story. I found myself frequently having to reread sections.All in all, I liked the idea of it more than I actually did the reading of it.
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  • Marilynn Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the writing and the stories of all the amazing women, from unwed mothers to nuns to women associated with the circus, to women with mental and physical challenges to mothers and their love of their children. But, it was difficult to get into because it jumped from the different environments a bit too much. I was just getting into the story of the nuns when it would pop out to the circus. But, the stories of the women once I sorted them out were loving and supportive and the way Hegi uses I loved the writing and the stories of all the amazing women, from unwed mothers to nuns to women associated with the circus, to women with mental and physical challenges to mothers and their love of their children. But, it was difficult to get into because it jumped from the different environments a bit too much. I was just getting into the story of the nuns when it would pop out to the circus. But, the stories of the women once I sorted them out were loving and supportive and the way Hegi uses words knocked me over. Great writing.
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  • Maryann
    January 1, 1970
    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi is a very deep and philosophical novel that makes one think about life in the 1800s and the dilemmas faced in that era. Of course there is the Home for Pregnant Girls that dominants the plot line but there is also an interwoven plot involving infidelity, loss, circus life and a family that loses three of their four children because of a rising tide! All of this is touched upon in this story, For someone who is interested in a challenging and The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls by Ursula Hegi is a very deep and philosophical novel that makes one think about life in the 1800s and the dilemmas faced in that era. Of course there is the Home for Pregnant Girls that dominants the plot line but there is also an interwoven plot involving infidelity, loss, circus life and a family that loses three of their four children because of a rising tide! All of this is touched upon in this story, For someone who is interested in a challenging and multi themed novel thiis the book for you.
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  • Joann
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Stones from the River years ago, and was excited to delve into this new one. While I wasn't left disappointed, it definitely wasn't what I expected and I was left feeling a little "meh" at the end. I liked the premise of the pregnant girls and their home, the traveling circus, and how things wove together. However, at times it did seem a little scattered and hard to follow. Narration point of view would switch, not solid transitions between settings too. Good solid ending. I enjoyed this I loved Stones from the River years ago, and was excited to delve into this new one. While I wasn't left disappointed, it definitely wasn't what I expected and I was left feeling a little "meh" at the end. I liked the premise of the pregnant girls and their home, the traveling circus, and how things wove together. However, at times it did seem a little scattered and hard to follow. Narration point of view would switch, not solid transitions between settings too. Good solid ending. I enjoyed this read, and am thankful for the ARC from Netgalley!
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  • Denice Langley
    January 1, 1970
    Ursula Hegi has written of a town divided by circumstance and prejudices that gives a perfect picture of how a natural disaster can change people in an instant. A town's celebration changes to disaster in a few seconds, leaving the survivors clinging to each other. While the book centers on women and children, it definitely portrays how extreme measures can bring together those who would never step outside their routine to help the others. This is definitely a must read.
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  • Danelle The Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure- I only read 32% of this book. I liked Stones from the River all those years ago, and I was looking forward to this one. I have no qualms with the authors writing. She is a wonderful writer. I just found this story difficult to follow. There seemed to be lots of background and little random asides. It was hard to follow which protagonist was speaking. I kept waiting for the storyline to become clear.I hope someone else likes it- sadly it just wasnt for me.#netgalley #arc Full disclosure- I only read 32% of this book. I liked Stones from the River all those years ago, and I was looking forward to this one. I have no qualms with the author’s writing. She is a wonderful writer. I just found this story difficult to follow. There seemed to be lots of background and little random asides. It was hard to follow which protagonist was speaking. I kept waiting for the storyline to become clear.I hope someone else likes it- sadly it just wasn’t for me.#netgalley #arc
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  • Kookie9200
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to review this book!I found this book to be oddly scattered. I would get into the story, and then the point of view and voice would change. One second it would be 3rd person, and then it would be 1st person. It threw me out of the narrative every time. What this book boils down to is the intersection of 3 women's lives: Lotte, Tilli and Sabine. However, I never felt like there was a real focus, and new characters popped up constantly. It Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to review this book!I found this book to be oddly scattered. I would get into the story, and then the point of view and voice would change. One second it would be 3rd person, and then it would be 1st person. It threw me out of the narrative every time. What this book boils down to is the intersection of 3 women's lives: Lotte, Tilli and Sabine. However, I never felt like there was a real focus, and new characters popped up constantly. It just never felt cohesive to me.
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