The Midwife of Hope River (Paperback)
$13.67 - Save $1.32 (8%) - RRP $14.99 Free shipping worldwide (to United States and
all these other countries) Usually dispatched within 48 hours
- Also available in...
- Hardback $30.99
Short Description for The Midwife of Hope River A debut novel featuring Patience Murphy, an Appalachian midwife in the 1930s struggling against disease, poverty, prejudices, and her own haunting past to bring new light and life into an otherwise cruel world.
- Published: 28 August 2012
- Format: Paperback 382 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780062198891 ISBN 10: 0062198890
- Sales rank: 203,769
Reviews for The Midwife of Hope River
- Top review
The Midwife of Hope River is an engaging and touching novel of human frailties and triumphs. Patience Murphy inherits the role of the midwife of Hope River, a small rural community in West Virgina, when her mentor and friend, Mrs Kelly dies. Patience is no stranger to loss, orphaned at a young age she has since buried a fiance, a husband and a child. Mrs Kelly was her last link to her secret past and without her support Patience is apprehensive about managing on her own.
The Midwife of Hope River is told in the first person detailing Patience's experiences delivering babies in the community against the everyday challenges of life in Hope River. It opens with a harrowing delivery for one of the town's wealthy, white residents expecting a stillbirth, only for the child to be born alive. While Patience is relieved, she questions her own ability to be a midwife with such little training and experience. However with Dr Blum, the county's white doctor refusing to provide care for any one who cannot afford his services and the 'negro' midwife, Mrs Potts elderly and infirm, Patience is the only resource for the majority of the women.
The birth stories Patience shares are surprisingly riveting, not only for the circumstances of the delivery, but also for what is revealed about the individuals, families and the community. Slowly Patience is drawn into the fabric of Hope River, befriending Bitsy, a young black woman, who becomes her lodger, assistant and friend, and sparking a romance with the new vet, Dr Daniel Hester.
While the characters in The Midwife of Hope River are fascinating, Harman sets her novel against a time period of significant social angst in America. The story references the coal miner union riots of the early 1920's, racial segregation and the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and the Wall Street market crash leading to the Great Depression in 1929. The small rural Appalachian community in West Virgina Patience lives in is affected by these larger issues despite it's insular nature. Patience is paid in firewood or flour, if at all, as the Depression worsens, a family passing through in search of work abandons a new baby they cannot afford to feed to Patience's care, a husband turns on his wife as his fortune dwindles and racist attitudes are inflamed.
The Midwife of Hope River is a story of struggle, loss, love, survival and a celebration of life. A wonderful tale and an impressive fiction debut from Patricia Harman, herself a practicing midwife. I very much enjoyed this novel and happily recommend it. by Shelley Cusbert