Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Secrets of Midwives

Author: Sally Hepworth
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: St Martin's Press
First Published: February 10, 2015
First Line: "I suppose you could say I was born to be a midwife."

Book Description from GoodReads:  A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for providing me with a complimentary e-book Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  I have to admit that I have a soft spot for stories depicting midwives ever since immersing myself in the joy that is the BBC series Call the Midwife.  I do so love Chummy and her clan.  As soon as I read the title and saw the cover of this book as well as the promise of familial secrets of three generations of women I was quite eager to start this book.

The Secrets of Midwives tells the stories of the three women as it jumps back and forth from past to present.  There's a good dose of tension regarding the mysteries of the three women at the beginning although as the story progressed I was able to guess their secrets which was a little disheartening.  I liked the fact that Floss' secret was revealed slowly (and liked her story line the best by far) but when Neva's secret was finally divulged it was a little lackluster and I didn't quite understand why she felt it was such a need to keep it from her family.

The main characters - Neva, Grace and Floss - were likable and I enjoyed that the mother-daughter bond was at the heart of this book.  The relationships between the three women which incorporated the good, the bad and the not so nice, felt realistic.  I only wish that some of the relationships with other characters didn't feel so shallow (almost to the point of cliche) especially the contemptuous feelings between doctors and midwives.

Overall, I liked this book.  It was an easy read but I didn't feel that it went deep enough into the relationships of the characters in order for me to love it.  I enjoyed the fact that it gives the reader insight into midwifery and I think this would make a great 'light read', perfect for the beach or curled up watching the snow fly.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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