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Shadows of the Workhouse Audiobook

Shadows of the Workhouse: Call the Midwife, Book 2

Regular Price:$27.97
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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

Average Customer Rating

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

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
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    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 07-14-15
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 07-14-15 Member Since 2011
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    "If you like the PBS series"

    you will this as well as it sort of fills out the series! So enjoy!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    Kathy 05-14-16
    Kathy 05-14-16 Listener Since 2009
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    "A bittersweet look at the Nurses and Nuns who helped the poorest of London after WW II with medical knowledge, compassion and lo"

    Great book that gives more detail than the PBS show. If you enjoyed the series, you'll love the audible books. Very gritty at times but overall a tribute to true "healers" who follow their calling to help those most in need. Mostly with medical help, but with a strong dose of psychology when needed. A wonderful group of women.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Nurse Mom 02-22-16
    Nurse Mom 02-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "informative and heart warming"

    As a nurse I find this author's ability to vividly share the stories (even though tragic as they may have been) through the eyes of her patients compelling and heart warming. Wonderful and captivating, the way she has shared history through storytelling. Also, the reader's accent and voice alterations made it that much more enjoyable. I especially enjoyed her version of the Cockney dialect. Looking forward to listening to the third and final book in this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 07-19-15
    Elaine 07-19-15 Member Since 2016
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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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer LeAir 10-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent"

    If you like the pbs series, you will like this book. I liked the history. I learned new things about British history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Delynn Totten 08-24-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Shadows of the workhouse"

    I learned so much, even though much of it was sad. It was fascinating. Delynn

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-01-17
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    "Back stories, but no birth stories"

    I have enjoyed Jennifer Worth's books and the "Call the Midwife" TV adaptation. One thing I say jokingly about the TV show is that at some point in each episode, a woman will be screaming in pain as she has a baby. This book has none of that. There are three main stories in this book. First she tells some tragic accounts of people she encountered at Nonatas House who had been orphaned and raised in workhouses. Second, there's the story of Sister Monica Joan and her arrest and trial for shoplifting. The third story concerns an elderly Boer War veteran whom Jenny befriended. The underlying themes are about poverty and isolation and how enlightened people regard the people affected by them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Andrea 05-31-17
    Andrea 05-31-17
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    "Sad, but excellently told"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend it as a follow up to the first book in this series. It's quite depressing although I wouldn't say that it isn't worth it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the stories about Frank and Peggy, Sister Monica Joan and Mr. Collet (sp.?). I liked that even with so much heartache, there were joys and triumphs.


    What about Nicola Barber’s performance did you like?

    She did the narration and voices flawlessly. You forget that it's the same person reading the whole time. It really feels like you are listening to a whole cast. I will be looking for more books read by her.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The overcoming life of paupers.


    Any additional comments?

    Harder to listen to than the first book simply because the stories were overwhelmingly tragic, but it was still very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Juli A. Dunn 03-10-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Nearly Unbearable"

    This is not a fun story. It is not a tender story. It is not what you could call entertaining. It is gritty and grim and tragic. Part I is unrelentingly heartbreaking, Part II sad but with some much needed light relief (this was my favorite part), Part III is just tragic. I did not enjoy this book because it gave me a galloping case if the feels and left me more than a little depressed but I did find it interesting. I had no idea what was the workhouse system in reality and it's flawed and brutal history was hard for me to listen. So my low rating is due to my own feelings, not any criticism of the book itself. The writing was as stellar as was the first book and the narration was flawless and beautiful. I may not listen to this book again but I probably won't return it. Technically, this is a great book and if you can handle the gritty, tragic, realism, I would recommend it. I can't handle it, but you might.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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