So far this year, I've listened to about 50 books, and this has been the best of them. I don't read much non-fiction, I'm a guy, I'm an American, and I don't have any children, so a book of memoirs from a midwife in 1950's London shouldn't logically resonate with me at all. I can't explain it, but I thought this book was wonderful.
I read a few other reviews that disliked the narrator, but I thought she did a great job. She subtly captures different voices without making it into a big deal. The recording mix was a little strange, though, so if you have headphones that really accentuate bass tones, you might have a little trouble with the sound.
The book is a series of stories about different people that the author interacts with during her time studying nursing at a convent in London. Some of the stories are funny, some are sad, most of them incorporate interesting historical points about women's health, and all of them are amazing.
I wish I was a better reviewer so I could give a better picture of how great this book is. I'd feel a little silly just writing "this book is awesome" until I hit Audible's character limit, but that would about sum it up.
I love non-fictional first hand tales like this and this writer was really good.
Sister Monica Joan made me laugh, think and want to cry.
Nicola Barber seemed to have the rare talent of a great voice and an understanding of the material that allows her to read the story with the right emphasis on the right things. Her various accents were brilliant. I would actually choose anther book on the strength of her reading it alone.
I found the main character very relatable and lovable. Her stories of the women she met through midwifery were sad, beautiful, inspiring, and lovely.
The Faithful Traveler
I recently discovered this series on Netflix and HAD to read the original. It's extremely well written, and the reader does a fantastic job with all of the accents, including Spanish and Cockney. Her voice is not annoying in the least. In fact, I can't wait to hear the next installment in the series. It's a gripping work that makes one realize how blessed we all are to live in such times when medicine and technology have advanced so. Still, it also allows you to see how beautiful life once was, as well. It makes me feel happy to listen to these stories.
Probably. Nicola Barber did a commendable job with this book. Some reviewers do have complaints regarding the low whispering tone she takes sometimes, and I found it a little annoying at first, but the short stories in the book were so compelling that I was able to look past the minor annoyance.
Conchita, jennifer (of course), and Chummy.
The birth of a baby during Christmas dinner; a tortoise appearing from under the bed! I laughed out loud!
yes, the births of Conchita Warren's children. I hope to hear more from this family in subsequent books.
This book is a wonderful addition to any library. While it primarily addresses women's issues, it details the way life was lived in the 1950s, contrasted with life today... certain things just surprised me about the advances in medical science, and how sometimes human intuition can be as or more beneficial than the most scientific of medical care.
I am thrilled that the other two books in this trilogy are FINALLY available on Audible; I will be reading them shortly!
Yes, specifically those that liked The Birth House.
I liked her portrayal of Sister Monica Joan.
There were times I was misty, I'm trying to conceive and there are all these mothers having children in hard conditions...
I really liked the glimpse into a time period and culture I was not familiar with. The characters are interesting-- although sometimes it is sad. Mostly I was so interested in the work of a midwife. I will listen to it again. I admire the author of this book-- for telling of short cases, yet making the stories hold together-- but mostly for the work she did as a midwife. The PBS series was well done, but as always a book is more satisfying.
I liked the history about the Dockland area of London in the mid-20th century and how the people lived. It did much to bring the area and its people to life. I did not like the narrator.
Sister Monica Joan was great fun and had the most depth of character.
Oy. Ms. Barber clearly has a good range of voices, so her decision - and the director's decision to allow her- to read the main character in the tiny, near-whisper, sometimes whiny, nasally voice is beyond my understanding. It was extremely distracting as the voice would get so soft I'd have to turn up the volume and so nasally and whispery that I'd have to strain to hear. And then, suddenly, she'd do a different louder voice, and I'm backing down the volume in exasperation. By the time the book was ending (and the last chapter was, without question, the most annoying of all) I was so distracted by the affectation that I could barely concentrate on the story.
It was OK, but could have been SO much better!
Listen carefully to the sample before you buy it and realize that, for much of the story, she modulates this voice down to even more of a nasal whisper. .
I don't know what the naysayers don't like about this Narrator, I didn't hear any of the "too loud/too quiet at times" nir the "whiny voice" mentioned. Nothing was problematic. This narrator brings this story to life. I loved it!