Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Midwife of Hope River

The Midwife of Hope River
by Patricia Harman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  A debut novel featuring Patience Murphy, an Appalachian midwife in the 1930s struggling against disease, poverty, and prejudices-and her own haunting past-to bring new light, and life, into an otherwise cruel world

As a midwife working in the hardscrabble conditions of Appalachia during the Depression, Patience Murphy's only solace is her gift: the chance to escort mothers through the challenges of childbirth. Just beginning, she takes on the jobs no one else wants: those most in need-and least likely to pay. Patience is willing to do what it takes to fulfill her mentor's wishes, but starting a midwife practice means gaining trust, and Patience's secrets are too fragile to let anyone in.

A stirring piece of Americana, The Midwife of Hope River beats with authenticity as Patience faces seemingly insurmountable conditions: disease, poverty, and prejudices threaten at every turn. From the dangerous mines of West Virginia to the terrifying attentions of the Klu Klux Klan, Patience must strive to bring new light, and life, into an otherwise cruel world.
from GoodReads

Review:  This story takes place in the 1930s during the Great Depression and takes place in West Virginia where the Depression has greatly affected residents.  The story does flash back to earlier times as well.  Patience Murphy is a midwife who struggles to make ends meet.  She has a dark past of which we are only given snippets of what happened at a time.  We finally get the whole story closer to the end.  Patience is an independent and strong woman who is not afraid to stand up injustice and she sometimes seems ahead of her time.  I did feel that she seemed too modern at the beginning but as the story went on, I became more intrigued by the life in West Virginia in the early 1900s and I forgot about how modern she seemed.  For some reason I gravitate towards and really enjoy stories about midwives.  The births in this story are somewhat graphic at times so this probably isn't the book for someone who is squeamish about childbirth. 

Rating: 4 stars

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