Book Review: The Midwife of Hope River


I just finished The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman for my book club.  Set in Appalachia during the Great Depression, the story follows midwife Patience Murphy.  She struggles to care for her patience during a time when money is scarce and childbirth is more than uncomfortable and often deadly.  The story begins by setting up the history of Patience who is hiding her own secrets from her life before moving to the small town in Appalachia that she serves.

I generally love historical fiction and enjoyed this book as well.  Harman is a little heavy handed with the history lessons at the beginning of the story but gradually, the characters take over and the story becomes enjoyable.  While some characters become more than they first appear, there are quite a few filler characters that are two-dimensional and stereotyped.  There are the ignorant racist, Ku Klux Klan wannabes, the wise old black midwife, the wife beater, and the grouchy farmer next door.

If you enjoyed books like Where the Heart Is or Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, you should enjoy this book as well.  It was an enjoyable and mostly light read.


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