Call the Midwife!
In recent decades, midwifery has seen a resurgence in industrialized countries. In much of the developing world, the tradition was never out of style. This reclaiming has been expressed as an interest in the popular British TV series, Call the Midwife (on PBS in NJ), about to start a fifth season, and at Maplewood Library we have three new titles whose subject is midwives or midwifery:
The reluctant midwife by Patricia Harman
Becky Myers is the reluctant midwife, returning to her hometown in West Virginia to look for work as a nurse. Harman paints a vivid picture of 1930s Appalachia, with men and women out of work and many hungry mouths at home. The Reluctant Midwife is steeped in medical facts, and does not shy away from the gruesome facts of life and death.
The Secrets of midwives by Sally Hepworth
Secrets new and old create drama for a family with three generations of midwives. Grace, a second-generation midwife, can’t stand secrets-perhaps because unbeknownst to her, one has been haunting her for her entire life. The woman guarding that information is her mother, Floss, also a midwife and now retired. And then there’s Grace’s daughter, Neva, who has secrets of her own. She is pregnant and although she’s getting past the point of being able to hide it, she’s determined not to disclose the father’s identity. The mystery surrounding Neva’s pregnancy prompts Floss to revisit the past and start to consider coming clean. Meanwhile, unforeseen circumstances cause Grace to try her hand at deception. In a family with a talent for concealment as well as midwifery, could it turn out that the truth is as welcome as a newborn?
The Star side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
Jackson’s debut novel is a bittersweet coming-of-age tale of heartbreak and loss. Dionne and Phaedra, 16 and 10, are two sisters who go to Barbados in the summer of 1989, in the care of their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and obeah practitioner. Dionne acts out and meets boys, while Phaedra immerses herself in her grandmother’s world. When their circumstances suddenly change and dictate a more permanent stay in Barbados, the girls are angry and confused. Their unfamiliar situation is further compounded by the reappearance of their long-gone father. He presents a chance to return to America, if they can trust him.
Compiled by Ina Rimpau