Sunday, April 10, 2011
The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
Secrets, lies and betrayal...how well do you know your best friends?
On a beautiful day in September, Noelle commits suicide. Her two closest friends, Tara and Emerson, are completely shocked that the woman they had known -- caring, committed midwife, champion of babies-in-need, strong independent Noelle has done this. Why? Turns out that Noelle had a lot of secrets -- a history of lies, betrayals and a hidden past that neither of them knew.
The story is a mystery and also a study in friendship and family relationships. The ability to write believable characters is a definite strength of author Diane Chamberlain. The women in her books are mothers, daughters, wives, etc. who are able to form strong bonds that are tested but that don't break even in the face of tragedy or heartache. Ultimately, this is a book about the extent that someone could go to in an attempt to make a wrong a right; or how loving someone too much can cause a person to do things that ordinarily wouldn't be considered. And at what cost?
Told from the viewpoints of the key characters in the novel, the story also shifts back and forth in time as Noelle's friends and their children Jenny and Grace try to make sense of the suicide and to find answers to the questions it brought to light. It seems that none of them really knew Noelle at all!
The book raises questions that made me wonder how well anyone can really know another person. Often we take what they say at face value without probing more deeply, and there can be periods of time when we are enough out of touch with someone that we miss a key turning point or ignore some essential signs.
I read this book cover to cover over an afternoon. It was fast paced and absorbing; the only jarring note was the ending. Although some of it was wholly predictable, I was a bit dismayed at the behavior of one of the characters and I won't give any further spoilers to ruin it for anyone.
Fans of mystery and relationship stories, and all those who love Diane Chamberlain's previous work won't want to miss this one!