NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

2.5 out of 5 stars -- Don't be misled by the cover and the synopsis -- this is NOT anything like the television series or the books by Jennifer Worth (CALL THE MIDWIFE). The setting is present day east coast with only a tiny scene that flashes back to England and bicycles.

Simply put, it is women's fiction -- about mother and daughter relationships, romance, secrets kept, and predictable outcomes. There is also graphic description of the births attended by the two women who are practicing midwives. As a nurse, I kept reading only for those details, as I found them fairly interesting though definitely there was an anti-hospital, anti-medical establishment undercurrent. I am tired of reading stories that focus on rivalry and competition between doctors and nurse midwives with only the barest nod to the fact that both professions have a place in the birthing of babies and, from my experience, usually demonstrate a mutual respect for the skills and knowledge each brings. Birthing choices are just that -- a variety of options -- with the pregnant couple making their decision with the hope that the outcome will be a safe delivery of a healthy infant. There's no reason to have a bias where a woman is made to feel more or less "powerful" based on the type of delivery chosen.

The narrative shifted in point of view of the three main female characters. I'd figured out the secrets and guessed the outcome of each woman's individual story line quickly. I never experienced any empathy or connection to any of the characters and felt they were quite flat despite the author's attempts to give them some depth with their personalities (seemed cliche). Could say this was a fairy tale about modern day midwives with a neatly wrapped happy ending.  

I was extremely disappointed as it was not at all what I was hoping for. Not recommending.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the e-book ARC to review. 

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