Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Midwife of Venice

The Midwife of Venice
by Roberta Rich

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers-a gift aided by the secret "birthing spoons" she designed.  But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn.  A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea.  Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman?  Hannah's choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life.  Not since The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.
From the back of the book

Review:  This book is very readable-it's fast paced, an easy read and engaing.  But there's not enough depth to the book.  I didn't really feel the characters or their actions.  I felt like I was watching the action rather than being drawn in to be a part of it.  The descriptions of the city of Venice and Malta were very exact and perhaps too honest.  I didn't need to read all about the sewage in the city and the disgusting smells of people.  There was too much of that and too much description of childbirth and other things related to newborn.  I also felt that there wasn't enough meat to the story.  There didn't seem to be enough storyline to make a 300+ page book but yet it held my interest.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

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