Friday, July 3, 2015

Book review: The Midwife's Tale

Book: The Midwife's Tale
Author: Delia Parr
Review writer: Alexis A. Goring
Review title: Delia Parr spins a story about tradition, life changes and faith in God
Book review: 

At first, I didn’t think I would like this book but reading it proved me wrong.

Author Delia Parr spins a story about tradition, life changes and faith in God amidst unexpected events in a way that resonates with the reader. The reader may feel connected to the main characters within the first few pages of the book. Yes, Parr is that good of a writer!

Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the main character Martha Cade in her glory—she is working as a midwife surrounded by female assistants—helping to birth a baby but she’s not in a hospital, she’s in a residential home which as true to real life in the fictional town of Trinity, Pennsylvania in which the story is set. The year in which the story begins is 1830.

The characters are not always endearing but they are believable from the beginning. Parr does an excellent job of making Martha’s career as a midwife not only believable but interesting. Parr has a way of dropping the reader right into the action from the first line of the story to the final word on the last page.

What impressed me the most about this book is that the author wrote with such skill and portrayed a deep knowledge of medical matters in every scene involving the midwife at work with her patients. Clearly, Parr knows how to do research and write in a way that’s not only captivating but informative! I learned quite a bit about the life of a midwife and medical matters in the 19th century just from reading this book.

The book is not just about the midwife, it’s about her defiant daughter Victoria who ran away with a theatre troupe. It’s an action that causes Martha great concern throughout the story. Another issue for Martha is the new doctor in town who is competition for her, so much so that she worries her career as a midwife will soon end. Such an idea hurts her heart not only because she loves her career but because she wanted her daughter to carry on the tradition of working as a midwife.

While I do not want to give away the ending, I can say that the reader is not likely to be disappointed when they reach the final pages of this book as Parr does a delightful job of denouement in a way that satisfies most if not all of the reader’s curiosity.

Historical fiction is not my favorite but I think this book deserves at least four stars because of the author’s way of sharing a fictional tale that was relatable and real.

*Bethany House Publishers sent a complimentary copy of The Midwife’s Tale to Alexis A. Goring in exchange for an honest review.

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