Friday, November 21, 2014

429 (2014 #57). The Reluctant Midwife

by Patricia Harman

I'm not sure why I received this advance reader edition - I don't remember requesting it.  While my offspring resulted with the assistance of a certified nurse-midwife, I'm not so enamored of childbirth that I'd really want to read about it.

Fortunately, this book is more about life in rural West Virginia in 1934-35, in the midst of the Great Depression and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Widowed nurse Becky Myers, the main character, has come back to the (fictional) town of Liberty along with her former boss, Dr. Isaac Blum, who is in some sort of catatonic state after the death of his wife in an auto accident.

Through a set of misfortunes, she winds up in the former home of midwife Patience Murphy, now married to the local veterinarian with one child and another on the way.  Becky gets pulled into delivering babies, particularly as Patience's own pregnancy issues make it impossible for her to do so.

Becky also gets hired as a part-time nurse for a CCC camp.  That, for me, was the most interesting part of the story.  I got a little tired of the stories about deliveries - I'm not really interested in reading those sorts of details.  I also found the situation with Dr. Blum to be rather unrealistic and (in some scenes) uncomfortable.

The author, Patricia Harman, is a midwife and has an interesting background.  The book is easy to read, divided into five parts by season of the year, with short chapters and even shorter subchapters within each.  Enjoyed the historical aspects of the book; not so much the characters or the childbirth.

© Amanda Pape - 2014

[This advance reader edition will be passed on to someone else to enjoy.]

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