TITLE: The Secrets of Midwives
AUTHOR: Sally Hepworth
LENGTH: 309 pages
PUBLISHED IN: 2015
GENRE: fiction (midwives, birth, mother-daughter relationships, family, babies)
REASON FOR READING: library bookclub
SUMMARY (book jacket):
THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?
MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely loved this book! The subject of midwifery is one I’ve been really interested in over the past couple of years. Birthing a child did pique my interest in some areas I never thought of before–the birth process in general (hence the midwifery) and breastfeeding, to name a few. This book followed three story lines simultaneously, one for each of the midwives. That concept took a few chapters to get used to–I’m used to the concept with two characters, but throwing in the third threw off my rhythm a little at first. Once all the stories started to differentiate from each other, it was easier to understand. There were questions concerning each woman that made me keep wanting to read–I’m convinced that I could’ve read the whole book in one sitting if I’d had the time to do so. Concerning Neva, I wondered if she would reveal whom her baby daddy was AND who she’d end up with, if anyone, by story’s end (I didn’t really think they’d be the same man). With Grace, I wondered how her apparent hatred for the medical community would be important to the story–I also wondered why she had such a strong hatred, which was never specifically said, though I’m sure the three decades of being overlooked as NOT an expert (which midwives most certainly ARE) would be more than enough. And Floss, she had some kind of secret and, until right before it was revealed, I wasn’t sure what it was. As the revelation got closer, I figured it out for myself and couldn’t believe I’d missed it before.
In the end, everything came full circle and the ending was just how I’d like–some strings tied up, some left open. I like that mix because I like to imagine my future for the characters a little bit 🙂