A compelling storyline.
Strong, Appalachian Mountain folk.
A setting so beautiful, so wild, it takes your breath.
So what went wrong?
I really wanted to like this book. Patience Murphy, advocate for coal miner rights via the union and suffragist in the women and children’s rights movement, falls into the job and lifestyle of being the midwife in a rural Appalachian Mountain West Virginia town. It’s been a year since her friend and mentor passed away, and Patience is barely surviving on the limited payment she receives for delivering a baby.
When Patience delivers for the boss of the coal mine on the day after the market crashes, circumstances go from bad to worse for the people of Hope River. Patience ends up taking in the daughter of the housemaid for the coal mine boss to keep the young girl off the street. But her worry of giving up solitude and space is unfounded when the women become fast friends. And although the Civil War has been over for 55 years, a white woman having a close friendship with a black woman in the hills of West Virginia is frowned upon by many.
Patience Murphy is also living under an alias. . .we are not told why until late in the novel. . .only given small flashbacks into Murphy’s past. Usually I enjoy the use of flashbacks and find a lot of realism in a character when a memory comes floating to the surface; however, in The Midwife of Hope River, the flashbacks felt disjointed. There did not appear to be much depth to any of the characters…I did not feel the emotions or the characters nor the circumstances they put themselves in.
Probably the most frustrating point to the novel was that it could have used a thorough editing job. For example, in one scene a woman leaves her abusive husband with the new baby but there’s no mention of the four year old child the couple had in a prior scene…but then a few pages later the couple is said to have two children.
I read the back story on the author for The Midwife of Hope River prior to reading the novel. Learning all that Patricia Harman has accomplished really psyched me up for this particular title. It just did not deliver [for me]. Many others have found this novel to be quite enjoyable. To read what other book review bloggers are saying visit ___.
I would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you’ve read this title. Or if you’ve had a similar situation ~ the author’s bio reads like ‘winner of the World Series, Superbowl, and World Cup’ but the novel does not deliver ~ how do you handle the review?