The Reluctant Midwife

The Reluctant Midwife

by Patricia Harman

Overview: The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit. The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.

Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe. But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.

Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.

Debbie Weiss (07/10/15): This novel exceeded my expectations. It takes place during the Great Depression. Becky Myers is a nurse who worked with Dr. Isaac Blum for many years in his medical practice. After the death of his wife, Isaac has a mental breakdown and goes into a catatonic-like state. Becky takes it upon herself to care for him. They move back to West Virginia, Isaac's home town. They have very little money and no employment prospects. Becky reconnects with her old friend Patience, the town's only midwife.

Patience becomes pregnant and there are complications. She must remain bedridden for the remainder of her preganancy. She needs Becky to fill in for her as the town's midwife. Becky takes on this new responsibility (reluctantly). Becky also becomes a part-time nurse at the Civilian Conservation Corps. Both of these experiences help her to become independent and enable her to continue caring for Isaac Blum.

This book is very well written and we are able to envision the difficulties of life that all the characters experienced during this dark time in history. We are also able to see the healing that goes on for both Becky and Isaac, spurred on by the love of their friends and neighbors. This book is highly recommended.
Rating: ****+

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