Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman

The depression is in full swing, and Patience Murphy is doing her best as a midwife in the mountains of rural West Virginia.  She is just making a name for herself, and therefore gets stuck with all the deliveries one one else wants-difficult births, hard to read and destitute locations, and no guarantee of payment.  Patience finds a friend in veterinarian and neighbor Daniel Hester.  But Patience isn't quick to trust and has a lot of baggage she'd like to keep hidden.

I loved this book and cannot recommend it enough.  I honestly didn't think it would work for me.  I have no interest in childbearing or having kids, and I worried that that would affect my opinion of the book.  But this book!  I was sucked in immediately and felt like I was in the Appalacians with Patience.  I felt the heartsickness, pain, loss, and joy of Patience and the families she helped, some of whom she formed lasting friendships with.  The people Patience meets through her work teach her so much about letting things go and staying strong.

I loved the writing in this book.  The story was great, but it had great writing to along with it.  Harman takes you right to rural West Virginia and I didn't want to leave.  This book takes place during the Depression, when modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and electricity were pretty commonplace.  But in rural, remote areas like where Patience lived, many people didn't have such luxuries.

I knew from the first birth scene that Harman must have been a midwife at some point in her life.  They are detailed.  Detailed!  At first it grossed me out but then I looked forward to the birth scenes.  These women have natural births in their own homes and for the most part their bodies know exactly what to do!  Still, it did reaffirm that I don't want kids of my own.  I will someday make one hell of an aunt though!

I highly recommend this book.  I loved the characters and the setting and so much more.  I was honestly sad when the book came to and end.

My favorite quote hands down:
Page 33: At any minute your life can change.  Remember this.  Between one breath and another, the song can stop and everything can be different.

Now those are truly some words to live by.

Title: The Midwife of Hope River
Author: Patricia Harman
Date of Publication: 2012
Number of Pages: 400
Genre: Fiction
Source: Won it last year


  1. I am so glad to hear that! I just bought it on Kindle; it is on sale for $2.99 this week. I love babies and am a nurse so the subject matter already interests me and I am so glad to hear that it is good beyond that! Can't wait to read it.

  2. This sounds like something I would enjoy, adding it to the wishlist. Thanks for the review