Once a Midwife
Book Review - Once a Midwife by Patricia Harman
Happy Publication Day!
Have you ever seen Call the Midwife on Netflix? I binge watched the first two seasons and I absolutely loved it. Patricia Harman has a series of books about midwives including The Midwife of Hope River, The Runaway Midwife and now Once a Midwife. Although this is the first I’ve read by Patricia Harman, it is the type of series where you can jump in at any point and still enjoy the book. You know how I am about long books - I’m reluctant to commit to anything longer than 400 pages. So you might be surprised that this book is 512 pages and I still read it. Despite the number of pages, it is a quick and easy read. It didn’t take me any longer to read than a book that is 350 pages in length.
The story focuses on Patience Hester, she is the midwife in a small town called Hope River in West Virginia. The United States is on the brink of WWII (aha! you say. Now you know why I agreed to read this one even though it is over 500 pages long…I can’t say no to a good WWII novel.) but Patience’s husband, Daniel, refuses to sign up for the draft. He fought in WWI and swore he would never fight in a war again, that he would never kill again. As a result of being a “draft dodger” he is imprisoned and Patience must maintain her midwifery practice while also taking care of the kids and the farm.
Like I said before, this is a quick and easy read. It is not bogged down in too many heavy historic details or complicated prose. It is a good book to choose if you just want something you can read quickly and not have to think too hard. I think this might be a good book for people who think they don’t like historical fiction. What I loved about this book is that it brought to focus many aspects of WWII that other novels tend to avoid. Two in particular that I found interesting were: 1) Daniel’s character who refused to sign up for the draft; 2) the fact that the US brought over POWs from Germany who often were used as labor on farms.