A Midwife’s Revolt: A Book Review

sleeping women

Painting: Courtesy of B.Haynie

Recently I had the opportunity to join NetGalley, an online book reviewing organisation.  Publishers send in their books months prior to release and ‘professional readers’ are then asked to review the book. The feedback and recommendations are considered highly valuable to the publishers and future readers alike.

badge_proreaderI will be reviewing one new book here on my blog on a monthly basis – do look out for them and hope you enjoy the reviews.

The Midwife’s Revolt  by  Jodi Daynard

cover60583-mediumWithin the first few sentences, this book immediately and powerfully transported me to the life of women left behind home during the American Revolution.

The story follows newly-wed Lizzie Bolyston as she sets up home on a farm on the outskirts of a new town South of Boston.

Related in Lizzie’s voice the reader quickly enters the head and heart of this strong young lady as she faces increasingly tougher struggles.

Firstly grief blindsides her but with help of friends she slowly overcomes both this and then the prejudice to what is regarded as her ‘witch’ like skills of healing and midwifery. She is exceptional in both and gradually, the ‘medical arts’ taught to her by her mother, help provide a living for Lizzie whilst saving dozens of lives.

As the war deepens Lizzie finds herself embroiled in political intrigue centred around her close friend Abigail Adams, the wife of the future Second President of America. For a while Lizzie even finds herself attempting to disguise herself as a man during her espionage escapades. After all, the book starts with the sentence: ‘My father once told me I had the mind of a man.’

However this is not a traditional thriller as parallel to the assassinations and treachery runs various strands of the romantic nature.

Lizzie finds herself courted by a man, Mr Cleverly- but can she trust him? Equally she is attracted to another, Thomas Miller – yet again she is faced with the same dilemma of those unstable times – is he trustworthy?

The actions of her servant and close friend Martha also raises further doubts as to faithfulness and friendship. This suspicion causes great heart-ache for both women. Life for them all is never simple nor straight forward and nothing is quite what it seems.

I must make a quick mention to another powerful being in the book, whose existence is still etched on my brain – the wonderful and faithful horse, ‘Star’, her husband’s beloved animal. Life is never fair, Star!

Jodi Daynard’s writing is fluid throughout and its authentic contemporary feel never wavers. At times I have to remind myself this was actually a work of fiction and not a factual story.

The harsh and bleak life is brilliantly rendered, so raw I suffered with the women through their troubles and the winters of hunger. How I celebrated with them as they ate their far too rare servings of warm apple pie!

Their struggles with the farm are graphically related and whilst celebrating feminism and its strength, I rejoiced when they received the occasional help from a man with some of the hard graft.

The book climaxes with a dramatic battle on their very doorstep where the battles of the heart are reconciled and the future of America is more secured.

Although I approached this book with trepidation – the time period alone of the American Revolution  filled me with fear – I can honestly say there is never a boring moment in the book.

It has a  strong pace throughout, the characters, whether good or evil,  are vividly portrayed and the true grit and courage of the women shine through.

This is truly a gem of a book. Do read it now and escape into the past!

Publishers: Lake Union Publishing

Release date: 7th April 2015

N E W S F L A S H      N E W S F L A S H    N E W S F L A S H

I just found out that I am now on the short list on the Ink Tears Short Story Competition 2014.

Yes, I am thrilled to have reached this far.

Winners will be announced end of this month.

“From the eyes to the river
From the river to the sea
From the sea to darkening clouds
From the sky back down to me
Follow my tears…”
by Eddie Reader, singer/songwriter
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9 thoughts on “A Midwife’s Revolt: A Book Review

  1. Barbara says:

    Annika! Even more talents revealed. A book reviewer extraordinare!
    Oh to be so fortunate as to have you review their latest book. Lucky Author!
    Wow! I not only want to read it now….I want to own a copy to share with others.
    Then I want to add my congratulations for your latest accomplishment. The short list to another writing award! My fingers are crossed and my hopes are high for you to win.
    And last but not least…I humbly Thank You for adding my little painting to your blog. What a wonderful surprise! How kind of you to Include it next to your inspiring words. I feel compelled to say “Thank you!” one more time.

    • Annika Perry says:

      First of all, let me say many thanks to you for letting me use your painting. It’s so beautiful and striking. Funny you should say that about owning a copy of the book and sharing it – how often don’t I miss that aspect with downloaded books. Glad you liked the review, the next book to be reviewed is quite different so look out for it. Thanks for the congratulations; fingers and toes crossed over here!

  2. Mirja says:

    I love everything about this posting. The painting of The Sea of Women,
    the review itself and of course the wonderful news that your Short story has
    reached the short list.
    Congratulations Annika !

    The review of a Midwife’s revolt is so strong and involved. You make the author
    proud and you are getting me buying it. Great with a review who dares show
    both intellect and emotion.
    To top it, I am very fond of the Eddie Reader song.

  3. Peter R says:

    Well, that book is certainly on my reading list. Sounds very good.

    Heartiest congratulations on reaching the shortlist. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  4. Mike says:

    A complete switch here.. and an interesting one at that. Love the review and the picture. Can’t wait for the next one.

    Keep up the good work and congratulations for being shortlisted. Hope you make the final step and win it!

    Mike

    • Annika Perry says:

      Since writing and reading come hand in hand thought everyone would enjoy a book review once in a while; great that it has been so well received. Yep, of course to win would be amazing but even to get this far has me dancing with joy. Next post out on Sunday and already reading next book to review. Glad you’re eager to hear more from me!:-)

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