State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Dr. Annick Swenson has fallen out of contact with the company she works for while developing a new fertility drug in the Amazon rainforest. Fearing the worst, the company sends in a rescue team, including Dr. Marina Singh. The team locates Annick, but find much more than just the missing woman. She is living amongst a tribe of Amazon natives with a special gift- the women are able to bear healthy children much past the years when it is generally accepted in the west that women are past their childbearing years. Some women in the village are pregnant in their 70's and 80's. The secret seems to lie in a substance found in the bark of a local tree- the women chew the bark, while still attached to the tree every day. At first, Dr Swenson refuses to leave, stating that her research isn't finished yet, but soon it becomes obvious that the real reason she wants to stay is that she is expecting- in her 60's. As Marina tries to convince Dr Swenson to leave, she can't help but be caught up in the miracle of these late life pregnancies, having struggle with infertility herself, and having thought her chance to have children had passed her by. An immensely engaging novel that explores morality and miracles, Ann Patchett has done it again.
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