Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Midwife of Hope River review

Patience Murphy has been a practicing midwife for several years. In Depression-era times, Patience is all many mothers have when it comes to assistance with their births, especially in Appalachia where everyone is poor -- even Patience. She takes payment in the form of food, chickens, and blankets, if she's lucky to receive payment at all and she's resigned to the idea of always being poor. She still loves her work and is passionately dedicated to delivering babies and helping their mothers. 

Coming from a trouble background herself, Patience opens her heart and her skills to those in need, often landing her in hot water. She not only has to deal with survival on very little money in the depths of cold winters and harsh summers, but after taking in a friend's daughter, she ends up with the Ku Klux Klan paying close attention to her actions. There's also a man who keeps coming around (though his trouble is the good kind), and a woman whose husband is abusive that runs to Patience's home. On her toes is where Patience stays. 

Bits of Patience's old life are revealed throughout the story and we come to learn why she wanted to be a midwife and why she now lives alone in an old farmhouse, as well as where her intense passion for her profession comes from. The writing is incredibly heartfelt and honest and the details truly create scenes that can be easily imagined. 

I loved reading each account of a birth and how Patience handled each particular situation, because as each one happened, we were given more of glimpse into her personality, her reasons for doing what she does, and her heart. She's a courageous character, one filled with realistic qualities given her past, and though a lot of topics are covered, the way the author has written Patience brings it all together in an inspirational way. Patience Murphy is one of my favorite characters of the year. 

Everything about this book impressed me and I can't wait to discuss it with someone else that has read it! It was obvious that the author had some sort of background with delivering children and after reading her bio, she definitely did. It was very well plotted and realistic in that manner and I look forward to reading more from her!

Patricia is on a book tour now, so if you've read the book or are interested in seeing her speak, her schedule is here.

The Midwife of Hope River
Patricia Harman
400 pages
Adult Fiction
William Morrow
August 2012
Review copy


trish said...

Your review gave me chills! I think being a midwife must be one of the coolest things in the world -- to see the miracle of birth over and over again. I would love to read more books by Patricia Harman, either with Patience as the main character or another midwife as the main character.

Thanks for being on the tour!

Susan said...

This one sounds fascinating. I'll definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the rec!