THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?
Kathryn - 4 Star
I was surprised by The Secrets of Midwives. The voices of the three women were honest and I found they related to each other perfectly. At first I think I was most interested in Neva, the daughter, probably because she was closest to my own age but in the end it was the grandmother's story that was most intriguing. Neva has the modern midwife role and because I only know a tiny bit about midwifery I was fascinated by her role and how it worked in the birthing center while being attached to a hospital for emergencies. While Neva works in the birthing center her mother Grace practices home births and you could sometimes feel the added tension for her clients as some of them had had poor experiences delivering in the hospital. Grandmother Floss' days as a practising midwife are over but we are still given a glimpse into her time through revelation of her past.
Although by nature of the title of this novel you would expect there to be a push towards the benefits of midwife versus doctor during birth but I think that the author does a good job of showing that the two can work well along-side each other. The dual option of care is what should be available and if both caregivers can accept that their roles each have their place the business of birth could be more harmonious. I felt that Hepworth made clear her position that both options had validity and I appreciated that she didn’t gloss over some of the more dramatic nature of birth.
It's a really quick read so I finished it in a day and yet there was a lot packed into The Secrets of Midwives and I found it a fascinating. From the relationships between the three women, the individual birthing moments and the revelations of their secrets there really was an enormous amount to enjoy. I would have liked it to be a bit longer so we could have seen how the unveiling of their secrets affected their futures.
Thank you to St.Martin's Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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