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.
©2012 Patricia Harman (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
The narrator did amazing job of bringing the story to life. In listening to this book I just couldn't imagine reading it for the sounds and emotions brought forth were very well done. The story is like reading the diary of a woman who had lived many lives within her lifetime.
As soon as I finished listening to it I had to relisten because I just couldn't leave these women.
West Sunbury, Pa.
This is a book that I truly enjoyed listening to. I loved the story. Many times I was transported back as if I were in the room waiting for the birth.
I recommend this book as a "must listen".
Patricia Harman wrote a great story, and Anne Wittman made the book come alive with the way she read the book.
I am watching for more books by both of these women.
Tell us about yourself!
This was a particularly rewarding book. The gently firm, calm voice of the reader, Anne Wittman, reflects the courage, proficiency and complete modesty of the midwife, Patience Murphy. There are images of babies being born with pain, with joy and with the mortal dangers attached to birth in a remote town in the Appalachians in the the depression years of the 1930s. And there are the fears and responsibilities of the untrained midwife. Strong images take us right to the mother, the baby, the family. These are informed images, presented with authority by the author, Patricia Harman, herself a midwife.
There is also the midwife's story. This is a strong narrative thread. Why would such a woman find herself here, in Hope River (what an ironic name), dealing with a tough environment and poverty, and managing her lifesaving role without vehicle and even a phone. The answers lie in a past rich with examples of injustice and social inequality and profound personal regrets. Furthermore, she finds herself with an assistant which takes her into the horrifying world of racial violence and discrimination which is then underlined by the few medical resources available to the 'negro' community.
We feel her pain, her dilemmas, and admire the clear thinking she brings to the many challenges that face her.
Satisfying parallel: the work of the vet in the community.
Have I made this sound gloomy? No, it is far from that. Life embracing and hopeful, in fact.
The book give graphic, heart wrenching depictions of births in the 1930s. This is extremely interesting and well done. The rest of the story is rather predictable. It was your run of the mill historical fiction story. The performance by Anne Wittman was well done. My only complaint is that there are many references to songs (very well known songs such as Christmas carols) and she doesn't sing them, she speaks the lyrics in an awkward voice.
Tell us about yourself!
I just loved this book. The people were real with real problems, yet not overwhelming nor depressing. The story was good from the start and continued to keep going. It held my attention throughout. No slow spots or chapters you felt like fast forwarding through. I hope we hear more from this author
The midwife of course. She is a strong courageous women I can admire.
I would definitely recommend this book. The story is really touching and the characters so alive,
I loved Anne Wittman's reading of this book. This is the first one I have heard and she did such a brilliant job making the story come alive.
Patience. There were so many layers to Patience and listening to them all come together was wonderful. She had been through many tragedies which I think allowed to her to sympathize with others. She was also true to herself.
I just wanted the story to go on and on.
This book tells a life story ofa midwife, who is alone in the world. She has a hard life. She is a good and kind woman. In the end she finds friends and finds her love. The book also tells life stories of her patients.
I really like midwife stories, but this one was as bad as it gets. No real plot just totally unrealistic situations and an unlikable heroine. The end was bizarre. Why would a group of people rushing to help someone who's house is burning down stop to pick up a handicapped woman in a wheelchair and a 15 year old girl with an infant?
For the most part, yes. The narrator of this book is very very good. The only awkward part was her unwillingness or inability to sing songs during the book, instead speaking them in a poetic cadence. This may have worked for songs that may have been lost to time... but everyone in North America knows the Christmas carols in the book, and - good, bad or otherwise - having her sing them like the characters do would have made it better.
No. Most of her other performances are not available to Canadian subscribers, so I am unable to get my hands on them... but I wish I could! I'll be checking out my library for sure!
There were many. The Great Depression, midwifery, and Appalachia have all held special interest to me, and putting them all together in one book was a moving portrait of hardscrabble lives with hope, humor, and pain... I laughed in parts, cried in parts, and am so thankful that I am alive in this time and place.
This is well worth the read! Patricia Harman has a wonderful way of writing as evidenced in her memoir the Blue Cotton Gown - I am thrilled that she has a novel under her belt as well. Great book!
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