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Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine…
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Midwife of the Blue Ridge

by Christine Blevins

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1582675,572 (3.57)73
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3.5 Stars

I've been on a historical midwife and witch kick lately, so this book was right up my alley. It's actually been on my to-shelf for years, at least two. So I figured it was time to give it a go. It proved to be a fairly enjoyable read with a great main character and fascinating historical storyline with unknown elements for me. Despite a few hitches, I would feel comfortable recommending this book on to others.

I adored the historical story explored in this book. Information about indentured servants and the back country of Appalachia are not often represented in historical fiction. The author gives a ton of details about how the indentured servant system worked and how it impacted all the parties involved, both the servants themselves and the bidders for their contracts. She also makes the rough life on the frontier in the 1700s come alive. Abundant details on daily life illustrate how tough it was to survive in this wild environment, where either the weather or the natives could take your life easily. The author does a great job at making the reader viscerally experience both aspects of the history explored.

Maggie made this novel for me; she's tough, courageous, and practical. She comes from a harsh background to create a life in a new world equally as harsh. Death and despair are common occurrences in her life. However, Maggie doesn't let that drag her down. I loved the way she approached the hardships in her life, with grit and a sensible outlook on life. I found elements of my own personality in hers and so found her all the more relatable.

Most of the secondary characters and the main male lead, Tom, were as distinct an individual as Maggie. I loved Tom. He stands out as a rugged, courageous man comfortable in the wilds of frontier North America and within his own skin. I also grew to love Maggie's indentured family whom she served and the rest of the inhabitants of the nearby town.

However, one of the hitches of this book fell in this area. The main villain came off as a caricature for the most part. He's over-the-top, to the point of un-believability. Let's just say that if the railroad had existed in this time, I could have seen this villain tying Maggie up and doing a Snidely Whiplash routine like the cartoon. There would have been much mustache twirling going on. This exaggeration of his character detracted from my enjoyment of his scenes and role in the book.

My other problem with this book has to do a bit with the villain and his scenes with Maggie. The story goes into some very dark places; yet, I expected that from reading other reviews. In fact, that was one of the reasons I hadn't picked up this novel till this point. After reading this book, I feel that some of what happened to Maggie at his hands were over-the-top, like his characterization. I felt the story would have held as much weight without these unnecessary brutal scenes. I don't fault scenes like these being in historical fiction titles; brutal things like this did happen. Yet, the ones included with this book seemed unnecessary with the rest of the narrative flow.

Despite a few hiccups with unnecessary scenes and a two dimensional villain, this book was an enjoyable journey into colonial frontier America. A strong main character leads the cast of equally strong secondary characters to make the reader live the story, not just read it. The fact that the author explores unfamiliar historical details and stories is just icing on the top for me. I would feel very comfortable recommending this book to friends and family, especially if you have an interest in colonial America fiction. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Oct 28, 2016 |
I really loved the way the main character 'spoke', I like reading accents. Thie scottish lass is brought to America willingly as an indentured servant. She is also a midwife and healer using herbs. I really enjoyed the midwife and healing side of the character. I did however find it hard to get to know the characters better. I felt them a bit standoffish about their feelings.
The book is beautifully set and there is almost non-stop action. I loved the book by the end and was hoping the author had written more like this, but unfortunatelt she did not write about Scottish Lasses in future novels.
This is a great on Historical facts and how things were back when America was new. ( )
  Strawberryga | Dec 28, 2013 |
Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins is a rollicking adventure novel mostly set in the American wilderness. As an healer and midwife, Maggie Duncan is in search of a new life and agrees to sign papers to be an indentured servant for four years. As she travels across the ocean she draws the attention of the vicious viscount, Julian Cavendish, but with the help of captain and crew manages to evade his attentions. They also help Maggie avoid Cavendish at the auction and instead she become indentured to a kindly frontiersman, Seth Martin, who is in need of a healer for his ailing pregnant wife. It isn’t long before Maggie meets Tom, a young frontiersman and Seth’s best friend. As Tom and Maggie fall in love events and circumstances keep them apart.

Overall I enjoyed this book, it had lots of action and seemed to be fairly accurate with the historical details. I would class this book as an historical romance and because of Maggie’s Scottish language and her healing skills I was constantly reminded of the Outlander series. Maggie is a very strong, independent woman and I liked both her and Tom a lot. Unfortunately the viscount was too one dimensional and came off more like a cartoon character. I like my bad guys to have a little more depth to them than this.

Midwife of the Blue Ridge was a fairly quick, easy to read book and the author had obviously done some extensive research on herbal and natural remedies that were used in Colonial America. It was history on the light side but I would not hesitate to read this author again. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 28, 2013 |
This was a pretty good book. I'm not a huge romance reader but this book was done in good taste. Story flowed and kept me interested. It left me wanting to read others by this author. ( )
  justablondemoment | Sep 22, 2011 |
Maggie Duncan is the only survivor of an attack on her village in Scotland. Because of this she is thought to be cursed by the superstitious people of the village where she resides after she is taken in by Hannah, the Midwife. Despite this, Maggie grows up and learns to be a gifted midwife at Hannah’s side. However, upon Hannah’s death, people revert to their superstition and don’t want Maggie to treat them.

Unable to provide for herself, Maggie sells herself into four years of indentured service for passage to America. When she arrives there she learns that she has only exchanged on set of problems for another.

I found Midwife of the Blue Ridge to be pretty engaging from the beginning. The fact that the beginning takes place in Scotland caught my interest immediately and then the fact that it was also set in Colonial America was another plus. I like Maggie, Tom, Seth and many of the other characters that populate the book.

There were some things that I have to count as negatives too though. There were elements of the story that remind me of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I have read the first three of the series and am not really a fan. I LOVE the time travel element and the historical element to the stories but I don’t tend to be a huge fan of the romance genre. It’s not that I don’t enjoy romance so much as I get bored with the formula:

Man and woman are attracted to each other
Man and woman can’t resist the physical attraction to each other and give in to sex, always with regret.
Tragic elements align to keep them apart.
Man and women realize how much they love each other and can overcome anything( different times, indians, crazy villians, hurricanes etc.) to be together.
It’s hard to find something really original. That was my beef with Midwife of the Blue Ridge. The romance seemed a bit formulaic to me.

Another thing that I didn’t like about was that some of the violence committed in the book is pretty graphic. I wasn’t really expecting that. I don’t have a problem with violence, necessarily, if I can understand the point in it’s being there. I couldn’t understand it in this instance though.

I also detested the villain, Julian Cavendish. I suppose that’s the point since he is the villain but he is so creepy that he reminded me a lot of Jonathan Randall from the Outlander series and I really disliked the Jonathan/Jamie storyline. I guess I was hoping that both Maggie and I would feel some sympathy for Julian at the end. She didn’t but I did. It made me like her less because she left him to a fate so horrid that I can’t imagine leaving anyone to that.

I did enjoy Midwife of the Blue Ridge, just not as much as I was expecting. I would recommend it if you enjoy historical romantic fiction. I would caution that I found some of the violence disturbing. (3/5) ( )
  SleepyReader | Sep 2, 2009 |
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For Brian my life, my love, my heart
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The Scottish Highlands: The Village of Black Corries, April 1746:

"It's a rare thing for a child to be delivered at my convenience..." Hannah launched herself from the warm cocoon of her bedcovers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425221687, Paperback)

A stirring debut novel ?of love, struggle, and savagery on America?s colonial frontier? (Bernard Cornwell).

They call her Dark Maggie for her thick black hair, but the name also has a more sinister connotation. As the lone survivor of an attack on her village, she was thought to be cursed?and unfit for marriage. Maggie is also gifted with quick wits and skilled in medicine, trained as a midwife. Venturing to the colonies as an indentured servant, she hopes to escape the superstitions of the old country?and find a home of her own. But what she discovers is a New World fraught with new dangers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

They call her Dark Maggie for her thick black hair, but the name also has a more sinister connotation. As the lone survivor of an attack on her village, she was thought to be cursed--and unfit for marriage. Maggie is also gifted with quick wits and skilled in medicine, trained as a midwife. Venturing to the colonies as an indentured servant, she hopes to escape the superstitions of the old country--and find a home of her own. But what she discovers is a New World fraught with new dangers.… (more)

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Christine Blevins is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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