Review: The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman


Title: The Reluctant Midwife { A Hope River Novel #2}

Author: Patricia Harman

Published: William Morrow: HarperCollins March 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from March 02 to 04, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Edelwiess}

My Thoughts:

The Reluctant Midwife is a heartwarming and engaging novel by Patricia Harman, set in the same location and era as her fiction debut, The Midwife of Hope River.

Penniless, homeless and the sole carer of her inexplicably catatonic ex-employer, Dr Isaac Blum, nurse Becky Myers is in desperate straits by the time she arrives in Hope River, rural West Virgina. It is the 1930’s, times are tough for everyone, and with few options, Becky is forced to figure out a way to support herself and Blum.

Harman effortlessly evokes the era in which The Reluctant Midwife is set. The focus is on the challenges of the Great Depression, in rural areas unemployment rose to around 80% leaving hundreds of thousands of people struggling to survive.

With a little luck and hard work, Becky finds a way to eke out a living as the Depression ravages the country. Though initially forced to rely on the generosity of friends and neighbours, she delivers groceries, reluctantly assists the local midwife Patience Murphy, and becomes a part time staff nurse at a nearby Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

Characterisation is a real strength of Harman’s writing. Becky is not a saint, she can be uptight and prideful, she is often frustrated by Blum’s non responsiveness and resents having to work as a midwife when the whole notion of childbirth horrifies her, however it is difficult to fault her drive to better her circumstances. I really enjoyed the way her hard edges softened over the course of the novel.
Readers familiar with The Midwife of Hope River may remember Dr Blum as an arrogant and cold man. His unexplained catatonia was precipitated by the death of his wife, and he is now a pitiful man but his silence also hides a secret.
I loved reconnecting with Patience Murphy, Hope River’s sole midwife, now married to the ‘new’ vet, Daniel Hester and the mother of a young son, but even more minor characters, like Nico and Captain Wolfe are well drawn and believable.

The Reluctant Midwife is a captivating story of hardship, loss, friendship, and hope. Though its not necessary to have read The Midwife of Hope River to enjoy The Reluctant Midwife, I would recommend it, simply because it too is a wonderful story.


Available to Purchase From

HarperCollins US I Amazon US I BookDepository I Indiebound

via Booko




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kay
    Mar 09, 2015 @ 04:47:39

    I’ve been hearing good things about these books. I think that anyone who has watched or read Call the Midwife might be interested. Hopefully, I’ll get to these at some point in the future. They do sound like books I would like.



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