Rated Reads

The Midwife of Hope River

by Patricia Harman

Rated: Moderate

The year is 1930 and Patience is a midwife. Being a midwife is never easy, but since the Depression began, things have gotten even harder. In the tiny town in West Virginia where she lives, emotions run close to the surface as everyone struggles to scratch some happiness out of all the dismal stuff life has to offer. As she delivers babies up and down the county, Patience fights her own demons — as well as the racism and intolerance that never quite seem to leave her alone.

I liked this. I liked leaning about Patience’s past, which so heavily influences her present. Her experiences with the miners’ unions, especially, had me researching actual historical conflicts and strife. The birth scenes (there are lots of them) are well done and feel very authentic. There was a lot of repetition, I felt, in Patience’s inner monologue sometimes. And the slang was occasionally jarring — it pulled me out from the solidly 1930s experience. So, I guess I liked the story but it could’ve used some tighter editing. Not sorry I read it.

Rated: Moderate for language (one f-bomb and lots of moderate language), one attempted rape scene, and there is just a lot of talk about the female body and the birth process/breastfeeding, which may bother sensitive readers.


— Reviewed by Corinne Edwards

Corinne Edwards is always happiest when a book is in her hand. If her current read needs to be closed for a short time, either in her backpack while she leads her three rambunctious children on adventures, or on her nightstand while she sleeps, that's okay too. Her book thoughts and reviews land at her bookish blog, The Book Nest.

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  • The Midwife of Hope River
  • by Patricia Harman
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: