The Reluctant Midwife
by Patricia Harman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.
Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe.
But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.
Review: I enjoyed the characters I met in The Midwife of Hope River so when I saw that there was a sequel and that characters were returning, I eagerly picked this book up. I didn't enjoy this book as much. Becky wasn't as compelling of a character as Patience was and the story of her being a midwife was too similar to Patience's story. Once she stopped delivering babies and starting working at the CCC camp, the story became more interesting to me. The men she met were interesting and engaging. The story of Dr. Blum was captivating as I wanted to know how and when he was going snap out of his catatonic state. I found the excerpts into Dr. Blum's mind to be distracting and it was hard to tell (when listening to the audiobook) when he was talking. I wish the story had stayed in just Becky's perspective. I did like the ending until the last chapter when I feel that Harman thought she needed to add in some social issues that weren't present in the rest of the book. I still enjoyed the story and would read another book about these characters if there happens to be one but this one wasn't as good as the first.
Rating: 3 stars
To see my review of The Midwife of Hope River, click here.