That probably sounds contrite—and I certainly don’t mean it that way. But it is—”The Midwife of Hope River” is really, a lovely book. Engaging, romantic, quiet, introspective, sad … it’s not as gripping a novel as say, “Gone Girl.” But the story of Patience Murphy latches on to you emotionally, making it difficult to put the book down.
Murphy is, as she almost always has been, on the run. An orphan on the run, an almost-widow on the run, and now a possible felon, having played a role in the death of her activist husband, Patience has now since settled in the foothills of Appalachia in 1930, still grieving the two men she loved and the loss of her mentor, Mrs. Kelly. She would just as well be left alone if it weren’t for being the only midwife in town.
The book ebbs and flows on the birth of children in a place where no one can afford to pay for her services. Prejudice plays a role, as Patience takes on a boarder by the name of Bitsy, the African-American daughter of a housemaid in town. Love also comes to town in the form of Dr. Hester, the local vet. It’s a long, drawn-out affair that puts “50 Shades” to shame when it comes to romantic tension.
Who needs handcuffs when you can read this:
“Lightning flashes, then thunder a few seconds later, so close and so loud that it shakes the barn walls. He unbuttons the two top buttons of my dress and I let him, my heart pounding so hard that I think if it weren’t for the sound of the now-continuous claps and booms, he might hear it. When we stand, the moonshine has affected me more than I realize, and I almost fall into him.”
Sure, there feel to be a few loose ends too conveniently closed at the end of the story, but I’m not going to nitpick—author Patricia Harman did an exquisite job of making me feel for Patience at every turn, and wanting for her happiness maybe even more than she did.
The Midwife of Hope River