Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman

genre: historical fiction

The year is 1930 and Patience is a midwife. Being a midwife is never easy, but since the Depression began, things have gotten even harder. In the tiny town in West Virginia where she lives, emotions run close to the surface as everyone struggles to scratch some happiness out of all the dismal stuff life has to offer.   As she delivers babies up and down the county, Patience fights her own demons - as well as the racism and intolerance that never quite seems to let her alone.  

I liked this.  I liked leaning about Patience's past, which so heavily influences her present. Her experiences with the miners' unions, especially, had me researching actual historical conflicts and strife.  The birth scenes (there are lots of them) are well done and feel very authentic.   There was a lot of repetition, I felt, in Patience's inner monologue sometimes. And the slang was occasionally jarring - it pulled me out from my  solidly 1930s experience. So, I guess I liked the story but it could've used some tighter editing.  Not sorry I read it.

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