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The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an…
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The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife

by Patricia Harman

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2013858,028 (4.12)28
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  1. 10
    The Birth House by Ami McKay (saratoga99, vancouverdeb)
    saratoga99: Similar time-period Canadian debut historical fiction.
    vancouverdeb: Both books are about midwifery in the early 1920's ,1930's. Both also tackle social issues.
  2. 00
    The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett (cammykitty)
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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
This was a fair representation of midwifery in the time of the Great Depression without being unnecessarily graphic. Anecdotes of births (and near births) help summarize and put the times in perspective. I only wish the romance between Patience and Hester (an unfortunate name for the vet) were not so recognizable from a mile away. ( )
  amandacb | Apr 8, 2014 |
The Great Depression, racial tensions, and mining conflicts combine to make Patience live a quiet life in Virginia. She records her thoughts, along with the details of the births she attends in her diary. An interesting look at the 1930s and great characters. ( )
  busyreadin | Apr 3, 2014 |
I should have enjoyed this book - I love stories of midwifery, of the 1920-30s, of small mountain towns, of women and history etc. Unfortunately the writing quality was so poor I almost didn't finish reading it. Not only was it saturated with cliches, but some of the phrases she used weren't anywhere near accurate for the time it was set in (once Patience says "that pisses me off" ...really? in the 30s?) and the conflict/growth was contrived. History was added in a way that spoke more of the author's research than being true to the characters, with the phrase "not many people knew that" used on more than one occasion. The author's choice to write in present tense posed some problems as well. However, if you are mainly interested in reading vivid birth scenes and don't care about writing quality, you may enjoy the book, although even those are rushed and out of place. Overall it was quite shallow and poorly done, failing to evoke any connection with the characters, the setting, the era, or the story. ( )
  melopher | Aug 25, 2013 |
I was reading another book when this came in the mail. I thought I would read the first few pages to see if I liked the authors style of writing- I did't put the book down! This s a sweet little story that flows like a slow stream and I was drifting along enmeshed totally in rural West Virginia during the 1920's. I am always so thrilled when I find a story I like as much as this- I recommend this highly. ( )
  KarenHerndon | Jul 20, 2013 |
I loved every page of this book. I was drawn in from the first page to the descriptive imagery of Depression Era Appalachia. This was a very hard novel to put down. Patience is strong, yet vulnerable. She is brave, yet fearful of her past catching up with her. Her lack of prejudice and openness make her different from her neighbors in West Virginia. Many of them view her with mistrust, yet they need her in a community where the only doctor refuses to help black people or poor people.
It wasn't just the midwife aspect that made this book appealing. The everyday life of two women- Patience and Bitsy (a young black woman)- making their way in rural Appalachia makes this book a page turner. There is so much more to this book than just the midwife aspect. The book deals with prejudice, spousal abuse, exploitation of Coal Miners, heartbreak, and redemption.
I love Harman's simple writing style. I look forward to reading more of her work.
This one is definitely a keeper.

Read this book if....
*you love novels set in Appalachia
*you love southern fiction
*you love novels about midwifery
*you love novels set in the Depression Era
*you love novels about race relations and racial issues in the early 20th century ( )
  smartchiksread | Jul 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Most of my life I've felt like I was dreaming. Now and then I wake up, sometimes for months, sometimes minutes. I'm a character from a play, and I can't tell if I'm making it up or if a great puppeteer is making me dance.

- From the private diary of Patience Murphy, Midwife , Wild Rose Road, Liberty, West Virginia, U.S.A 1929 - 1930
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" How long do you think that my baby's been dead?" Katherine turns toward me, and I can tell that she's still crying.
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Book Description

Midwife Patience Murphy has a gift: a talent for escorting mothers through the challenges of bringing children into the world. Working in the hardscrabble conditions of Appalachia during the Depression, Patience takes the jobs that no one else wants, helping those most in need—and least likely to pay. She knows a successful midwifery practice must be built on a foundation of openness and trust—but the secrets Patience is keeping are far too intimate and fragile for her to ever let anyone in.

Honest, moving, and beautifully detailed, Patricia Harman's The Midwife of Hope River rings with authenticity as Patience faces nearly insurmountable difficulties. From the dangerous mines of West Virginia to the terrifying attentions of the Ku Klux Klan, Patience must strive to bring new light and life into an otherwise hard world.
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Midwife Patience Murphy has a gift: a talent for escorting mothers through the challenges of bringing children into the world. Working in the hardscrabble conditions of Appalachia during the Depression, Patience takes the jobs that no one else wants, helping those most in need--and least likely to pay. She knows a successful midwifery practice must be built on a foundation of openness and trust--but the secrets Patience is keeping are far too intimate and fragile for her to ever let anyone in. Honest, moving, and beautifully detailed, Patricia Harman's The Midwife of Hope River rings with authenticity as Patience faces nearly insurmountable difficulties. From the dangerous mines of West Virginia to the terrifying attentions of the Ku Klux Klan, Patience must strive to bring new light and life into an otherwise hard world.… (more)

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