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Shadows of the Workhouse: Call the Midwife, Book 2 | [Jennifer Worth]

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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4.5 (486 )
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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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny 03-03-15
    Jenny 03-03-15
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    "Very moving"

    Enlightening and well read the story takes you back to a recent time in history and opens the doors on dark and difficult days shining a beautiful light into the lives of people and their experiences. Very interesting and it transports you to the past as if we're happening right now.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 02-01-15
    Amanda 02-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Terribly good. Tears possible."

    Narrator was lovely as usual.
    This collections of stories was heart-retching. Tears are a possibility. Certainly provides a new perspective on history & London culture.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 02-14-14
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 02-14-14
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    "Excellent Continuation of Call the Midwife"
    Would you listen to Shadows of the Workhouse again? Why?

    yes. It is a deep look at an institutional setting that is rarely, if ever, acknowledged in history. It is the continuation of stories from characters in Worth's first biography, Call The Midwife. While much less personal than CTM, it is still a compelling, if difficult (in parts), read.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadows of the Workhouse?

    There wer emany, but I would have to say Jane's courtship. How beautiful that love can and does infuse someone with such confidence.


    What about Nicola Barber’s performance did you like?

    She did a wonderful job! My main quibble with CTM was with her narration (occasionally whiny and whispery). There were certain portions of that here, but those were moments where nicola Barber was depicting fear or sadness - very appropriate times for such expression. Her accents were beautifully done as well. Perhaps having several years' more experience under her belt made this a much better listen than it would have been when CTM was released.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! The stories are continuations, 1-3 hours each, but interwoven with Worth's own journey. You can pick them up and put them down as you wish, but the book was so compelling I just wanted to keep reading!


    Any additional comments?

    Don't let the narrator reviews from Call the Midwife discourage you! Nicola Barber is a talenter narrator, and she pulled out all the stops in this second biography in the trilogy.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Australia 05-01-15
    Crystal Australia 05-01-15 Member Since 2012
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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
  •  
    Amy Plato, MO, United States 03-25-15
    Amy Plato, MO, United States 03-25-15
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    "Another Great Listen."

    This was book 2 of the series and I can't wait to start the 3rd. The writer and narrator do a wonderful job in conveying the history in an attention grabbing manner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Michael Kranz 03-05-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Authentic"

    The storyline is captivating yet simple. History is unearthed through the eyes of a district nurse and midwife. The narration is wonderful, authentic and perfectly impersonated! I would recommend this and will listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    jmck Apex, NC 02-28-15
    jmck Apex, NC 02-28-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very Good Follow Up To First Book"
    What did you love best about Shadows of the Workhouse?

    It gives more insight into the people of that era and the legacy of poverty. Great stories and a must read it you loved the first book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Sterling, VA, United States 02-12-15
    Amanda Sterling, VA, United States 02-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Powerful and Sad"

    it was full of the sorrows of the work house yet with glimmer of hope

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JBW 02-07-15
    JBW 02-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Narration of Four Fascinating Stories"

    Great insight via narratives of the poor in 20th Century England. From workhouse poor to cannon fodder soldiers, I enjoyed every minute of learning and humanity in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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