Set in Ireland in the 1860s (not long after the famine), this book provides impeccable detail into an investigation into a fantastical claim that an 11 year-old girl hasn’t eaten for four months: a miracle or a scam? The investigation requires close observation (24/7) and as Margaret Mead postulated long ago – observation changes behaviour. One of the observers is an English nurse, so there are Irish-English issues as well. There are strong religious overtones but at its heart, this is a story about motherhood (so in that regard, somewhat similar to The Room). Donoghue is a fabulous story teller, nominated for the Giller.
This is a very different book from Room. Frog music is set in 1896 San Francisco, a time of small pox and rampant racism towards Chinese immigrants. There are two compelling women characters: Blanche is a dancer/prostitute and Jenny is a cross-dressing free spirit. Essentially, the book is a murder mystery and is very entertaining.