Patience Murphy has not had an easy life; it has been marked by tragedy and she has had to persevere through hard times. Her only solace is her gift: the chance to escort mothers through the challenges and joys of childbirth, often for free or with only a chicken or a cup of flour for payment.
Not completely qualified yet, Patience is building up her experience as a midwife during a time and in a place where hospital care was either too far away or too expensive for most women. She has to learn fast and slowly builds trust in the community. Some births are complicated and some quite straightforward. The book is not just about childbirth though. The story is set in the Appalachians during the Great Depression, a time of poverty and racial divides. The book is a bit of a cross between Amy McKay’s The Birth House and Jennifer Worth’s Call the Midwife. The author is herself a midwife which lends authenticity to the novel.
This was a delightful and very readable debut in a series that I will definitely continue with; the next instalment is already out and is called The Reluctant Midwife. We all need to curl up with a series sometimes don’t we?