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Shadows of the Workhouse Audiobook

Shadows of the Workhouse: Call the Midwife, Book 2

When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood';s most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.
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Publisher's Summary

When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood';s most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.

Though these are stories of unimaginable hardship, what shines through each is the resilience of the human spirit and the strength, courage, and humor of people determined to build a future for themselves against the odds. This is an enduring work of literary nonfiction, at once a warmhearted coming-of-age story and a startling look at people's lives in the poorest section of postwar London.

©2005 Jennifer Worth (P)2014 HighBridge Company

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jan 02-20-14
    Jan 02-20-14 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

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    "Nice followup to "Call The Midwife""

    "Call The Midwife" was my favorite book of last year. Although the next two books both stand alone, I would strongly suggest reading it first. Shadows of the Workhouse focuses less on the work of the midwives, rather on the experiences of older neighbors, nuns and patients who either lived in or were strongly effected by the workhouse (poorhouses). You get a vivid insight to the system that damaged families and left many who were still alive in the 1950's scarred by their experiences. I really enjoyed this book: it is tender, humorous, heartbreaking and makes history real. I do genealogy and have found several family members who lived and died in the poorhouses, so it was very personal to me. There remains a James Herriot feel to the books which consists of multiple short stories flowing together around the theme. Sister Monica Joan continues to steal the show with her antics, the book is worth the credit to see her arrested and in court for stealing jewelry. I didn't realize this is now a popular series in Britain by the BBC, you can view it on Netflix.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Plain City, UT, United States 11-05-15
    Julia Plain City, UT, United States 11-05-15 Member Since 2015
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    "I laughed and cried...sometimes at the same time."
    Would you listen to Shadows of the Workhouse again? Why?

    Yes, yes, a million times yes. I was so happy when I found out there were sequels to "Call the Midwife." This is a great follow up to that.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved the stories of Peggy and Frank, I won't go into why because I don't want to spoil anything, but their story broke my heart.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Trial of Sister Monica Joan


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Peggy and Frank were reunited.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa ballantine united states 10-22-15
    lisa ballantine united states 10-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "History comes to life"

    A wonderful telling of English history with all of the feeling and passion of the humanitarian! Excellent telling!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua 09-22-15
    Joshua 09-22-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great touching and historical read"

    Second book of J.W. That I have read and this did not disappoint. She is an amazing story teller and these memoirs read like a novel. She paints a descriptive picture of the past!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 07-19-15
    Elaine 07-19-15 Member Since 2014

    World traveler, free sprite, lover of art, drinker of wine, giver of goodwill, design obsessed, strange, wife and loving mother of two cats.

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    "Tear Jerker"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Shadows of the Workhouse to be better than the print version?

    This is a woefully sad tale that will keep you pinned to your phone. A must listen.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I cried... and cried, and cried.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 07-14-15
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 07-14-15 Member Since 2011

    I have two rescue dogs. One Scottish born husband. And a love of books that goes back to childhood and bookmobiles!

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    "I can see why Call the Midwife was taken from book to TV series"

    I have so enjoyed the PBS series that when I saw the book's offering, I had to use one of my credits! And THEN I had to stop listening in the middle of a book to listen to Call The Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse. Neither the writing nor the narrator disappointed! If I'd never watched the series, I think I'd still be able to conjure up this area of London, it's inhabitants, and the time; that's how well Jennifer Worth writes. Nicola Barber's reading only enhances Ms. Worth's story.

    Until midwife Jennifer's telling, I thought the Workhouse (poorhouse) and its effects on people of my parents generation was impossible. The truth is validated via her interactions with others. As the chronicles are three dimensional, I experienced several emotions. That's what a good "slice of life" story does.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Long 06-28-15
    Amy Long 06-28-15 Member Since 2016
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    "A challenging book"

    As engaging as the first book in her memoir series, though incredibly sad and sometimes very difficult to listen to. Learning more about the inhumanity of the workhouse gives a new perspective to our modern day institutions and beliefs about poverty. Despite the incredible challenges faced by those in the workhouse and those living in the East End in the decades afterwards, I was surprised again and again at the strength, resilience and ability to find happiness and joy displayed by the people who suffered most. What a great lesson to us all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Vanderjagt Lake Havasu City, AZ, US 06-13-15
    Karen Vanderjagt Lake Havasu City, AZ, US 06-13-15 Member Since 2014

    I just retired from my teaching career with Special Need High school. Now I'm concentrating on my 9 grandkids (my hubby continues to work).

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    "A story of truth sell them brought to life"

    There is very little written about the work houses in London circa the 20th century up to 1950s. The author brings these places to life with the real stories that she was able to glean from the people who had lived through these times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Navyne R Kline 05-09-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Thought provoking"

    I can't say I enjoyed this second book in the series as much as the first, but it does show the triumph of the human spirit in deplorable circumstances

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Australia 05-01-15
    Crystal Australia 05-01-15 Listener Since 2009
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    "Another brilliant historical retelling"

    Such a pleasant read. Another brilliant historical retelling that keeps you interested and entertained. Loved the first book. this one was great as well. onto the next one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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