Emma Donoghue’s Best Books 📖

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-Canadian author who has made a name for herself with her unique and insightful writing. She has written a diverse range of books, including historical fiction, contemporary drama, and children’s literature, and has won numerous awards for her work. 

Emma Donoghue

Irish-Canadian Novelist

Her most famous novel, ‘Room,’ was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film. Her other novels range from the gripping historical drama of ‘Frog Music’ to the feminist retellings of classic fairy tales in ‘Kissing the Witch.’


Room‘ is certainly the author’s best-known novel, in no small part due to the film of the same name the book inspired. This novel tells the story of a young boy named Jack and his mother, who are held captive in a single room.

The novel is narrated by Jack, who is five years old at the time the novel’s events are taking place. His understanding of the world determines what readers can figure out about their situation and if there’s any possibility of the two ever escaping the captivity. 

Room‘ was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It is a powerful exploration of the bond between mother and child and the resilience of the human spirit. 

Frog Music 

Frog Music‘ tells the story of a 19th-century murder case of a frog catcher. It is based on a true story and was published in April 2014. The book takes place in 1876 in San Francisco while the city is dealing with the smallpox epidemic. 

The bulk of the story takes place after a young woman is shot dead, and her surviving friend risks everything to track down her murderer.

The Wonder 

Set in rural Ireland in the 1850s, ‘The Wonder‘ follows an English nurse named Lib Wright, who is sent to observe a young girl who has supposedly gone without food for months. The book is a haunting exploration of faith, mystery, and the limits of human endurance.

A film inspired by the book came out at the end of 2022 and was directed by Sebastián Lelio. It starred Florence Pugh. 


Hood‘ was another early novel that was published in 1995.  This is similar in many ways to the author’s first novel, Stir Fry.‘ But this fiction novel follows a young woman dealing with the aftermath of her girlfriend’s death. The book takes some of its inspiration from James Joyce’s famous novel ‘Ulysses.’

When the book opens, it’s been a week since the main character’s girlfriend was tragically killed in a car accident. The story is composed of a series of flashbacks that describe their relationship, the country of Ireland, and the way her death changes the protagonist’s life. 

Stir Fry 

Stir Fry‘ was Emma Donoghue’s first novel. The book was completed in 1994 and is a unique coming-of-age novel following an Irish woman. The book was a finalist for several literary works and helped establish Emma Donoghue’s reputation early on in her career.

The Pull of the Stars 

The Pull of the Stars was written in 2020 and was long-listed for the Giller Prize the same year. It takes place during the influenza pandemic in 1918 in Dublin, Ireland. The protagonist is a nurse named Julia Power, who struggles to get through day-to-day life at a busy hospital in the center of the city. She meets with life-changing characters, including Dr. Kathleen Lynn, who is based on a real-life person.

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins

The is a collection of 13 stories that were inspired by fairytales. She uses classic characters that almost every reader is going to be familiar with and changes their stories in radical ways that reveal far more about who they are. 

The stories featured in this book include “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” and “The Little Mermaid.” Each story features a different female character who is grappling with issues of gender, power, and identity.

The Sealed Letter

The Sealed Letter‘ was published in 2009 and based on a real-life scandal in Victorian England. This novel tells the story of a divorce case that exposes a web of secrets and lies. It is a gripping historical thriller that explores the role of women in society and the tension between public and private life.

The book follows Miss Emily Faithfull, an activist in the mid-1800s in England. The novel progresses into a thrilling and surprising courtroom drama made all the more scandalous by the time period in which it takes place.


Haven‘ is a recent novel published in 2022 that takes place on Skellig Michael. It follows a few characters who embark on a dangerous quest to discover an island where they believe they can explore their faith in full. 


What is Emma Donoghue’s best book? 

Emma Donoghue’s best book is a matter of personal preference, as her work spans a variety of genres and themes. However, ‘Room‘ is generally considered to be her best.

Is Room worth reading? 

Room is definitely worth reading, as it is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that explores themes of love, trauma, and the human condition. It has won numerous awards and has been praised for its gripping narrative and vivid characters.

What is Emma Donoghue known for? 

Emma Donoghue is known for her unique and insightful writing style, which combines historical accuracy with a modern sensibility. She is particularly skilled at portraying the rooms and experiences of women, as well as exploring issues of sexuality and gender.

What style does Emma Donoghue write in? 

Emma Donoghue writes in a variety of styles, depending on the genre and subject matter of her work. She is known for her attention to historical detail and her ability to create vivid and complex characters. Her writing is often characterized by a sharp wit and a keen eye for social commentary, as well as a deep empathy for her subjects.

Who writes like Emma Donoghue?

There are several authors who write like Emma Donoghue in terms of their focus on character-driven stories, exploration of social issues, and historical accuracy. Here are a few authors: Sarah Waters, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Margaret Atwood.

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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