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The Midwife of Hope River | [Patricia Harman]

The Midwife of Hope River

As a midwife working in rural poverty during the Depression, Patience Murphy's only solace is her gift: the chance to escort mothers through the challenges of childbirth. Just beginning, she takes on the jobs no one else wants: those most in need-and least likely to pay. Patience is willing to do what it takes to fulfil her mentor's wishes, but starting a midwife practice means gaining trust, and Patience's secrets won't allow her to let anyone in.
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Publisher's Summary

As a midwife working in rural poverty during the Depression, Patience Murphy's only solace is her gift: the chance to escort mothers through the challenges of childbirth. Just beginning, she takes on the jobs no one else wants: those most in need-and least likely to pay. Patience is willing to do what it takes to fulfil her mentor's wishes, but starting a midwife practice means gaining trust, and Patience's secrets won't allow her to let anyone in. The Midwife of Hope River beats with authenticity as Patience faces seemingly insurmountable conditions: disease, poverty, and prejudices threaten at every turn. 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 cruel world.

©2013 Patricia Harman (P)2013 AudioGO Ltd

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  •  
    Rabid Reader 03-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    8
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    "Outstanding narration / emotionally charged story"

    Patience Murphy, a midwife in Union County in West Virginia in the late 1920s, has a vital role to play in her community but owing to her past, she pretty much keeps herself to herself and doesn't connect with anyone beyond the professional level. Written in the first person narrative, in a conversational style (journal entries mostly), Patience often alludes to her life being a difficult one and to having to keep a low profile. Over the course of the book (covering roughly a year from autumn 1929 to autumn 1930), the reader learns more and more about past events and the shadows these have cast into Patience's life, and why she is the way she is.

    The more fascinating passages to me, however, were the descriptions of the economic climate of the time, the rising tension, anxiety and desperation among people, the racist attitudes but also the way neighbours and community members looked out for one another and lent a helping hand where they could. This is the sort of historical fiction that makes history come alive for me.

    I also happen to be a huge fan of the midwifery profession, having delivered two babies with the professional, competent and caring support of midwives, a doctor standing by merely as a formality. I loved reading the various birthing stories, good and bad, though sometimes the acute physical pain experienced by the fictional characters was so vividly described that I found myself breathing and panting through it as instructed by the midwife. Vicarious labour pains I'd rather not experience again. Thankfully, I haven't suffered the loss of any babies, born or unborn, or else this would have been a brutal book to read.

    Finally, I should point out that I fully credit the audio book narration by Anne Wittman for the fact I enjoyed the book as much as I did. Her voice is really versatile, and I loved her different accents, too. Not that I am in a position to comment on authenticity when it comes to West Virginia accents, but it sounded brilliant to me, and even her howling on behalf of sone of the labouring women didn't make me cringe. Very impressive performance!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results
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  • sue
    fordingbridge, United Kingdom
    3/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Gutsy Moving Book"

    The Character of Patience was beautifully written and her relationship to Bitsi.
    I loved the historical facts of how Women had to deal with childbirth in those days, the happy outcomes and the tragic.
    I loved the book and am looking for similar stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sue
    Newport, United Kingdom
    3/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A different angle on American history"

    I liked the midwifery focus, but found the main character's back story which could have been a much bigger part of the book frustratingly thin, with very significant chapters in Patient's life skimmed over.

    The narration was ok, although Ann Wittman's handling of the songs, which she half recited, half sung was decidedly odd!

    Overall I am glad I listened to this book, which left me wanting more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R. J. Gladden
    Liverpool, UK
    2/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Back to a gentler but tougher era."

    I loved this book. It was a beautiful incite into midwifery at a time when life was really hard for many of the women who are the subjects in this book. 1930's America and the Depression is biting hard, Patience uses her skills to help mothers through childbirth often with no financial recompense and in difficult circumstances. Inter racial tensions were also fraught and Patience has to tread a fine line between upsetting the white community and also becoming accepted and trusted by her black neighbours who needed her skills. From a medical point if view there are also some interesting incites into the acceptance of the professionalism of midwives at that time, for instance it was illegal for midwives (but not doctors) to internally examine a woman in labour to determine how advanced her labour is. Bizarre! Great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gunn
    Norway
    12/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intense listening"
    What made the experience of listening to The Midwife of Hope River the most enjoyable?

    Very interessting insight to a midwifes job in the days gone by. At the same time it also places the job of the midwife into the historical context of its day, With well known historical events, such as the black/white issues of USA in the start of the 20th Century and the miners life and their battle for rights in the same era the story comes to life and becomes believable and (maybe) true.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    You get to follow the midwife herself and get a feeling of how she has become who she is, formed by the historical events of the time. The book itself also gives an interesting insight to womens life and struggle only 100 years ago.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    East Linton, United Kingdom
    12/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting subject"
    What made the experience of listening to The Midwife of Hope River the most enjoyable?

    It was read with an integrity that made all the characters come to life and the book depicted, for me, the starkness of life and, sometimes death, in this period. It was never gruesome despite the blood at times and I found it very interesting.


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

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Keren
    Tonbridge, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable story of 30s mid-America"
    If you could sum up The Midwife of Hope River in three words, what would they be?

    emotional, realistic and hopeful


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Midwife of Hope River?

    The description of the main character shooting her own husband by accident


    What does Anne Wittman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Excellent narration with different accents bringing the story and the situations described to life


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Fighting against prejudice is never easy but there is hope yet!


    Any additional comments?

    I was so drawn into this story that I couldn't wait to get back to listening whenever I could!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Katherine
    Winkleigh, United Kingdom
    10/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This has got to be best book I've ever listened to"
    Would you listen to The Midwife of Hope River again? Why?

    It is such a great book I will enjoy listening to it again in a few months.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved the midwife because of her humanity and the way she helped all of her patients through the pain and trails of child birth.


    What about Anne Wittman’s performance did you like?

    I loved her voice and she made the book come alive. I just didn't want it to end.


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

    It was a very sad time in American history and this reflected in how I felt.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope there will be a sequel soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chintz
    BELFORD, United Kingdom
    8/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Midwife of Hope River to be better than the print version?

    I've not read it in print...


    What did you like best about this story?

    All of it, there was nothing I didn't like.


    Have you listened to any of Anne Wittman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Not yet!


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

    Yes!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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