The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
“Meet Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, daughter to Grace, granddaughter to Floss, and the reserved twenty-nine-year-old beauty and soon-to-be-mother at the center of Sally Hepworth’s The Secrets of Midwives…Neva is thirty weeks pregnant when her mother and grandmother discover the secret she’s been hiding: a bulging belly beneath her forgiving hospital scrubs. Neva, however, is still determined to keep all other details surrounding her pregnancy secret, and refuses to divulge the father’s identity to her family or her co-workers at St. Mary’s Hospital. “I’ll be raising this baby alone,” she says. “For all intents and purposes, there’s no father. Just me.” Grace, however, finds it impossible to let the secret rest. Suspecting one of Neva’s co-workers is the father, Grace presses Neva for more information, clamors for clues and, in the process, unintentionally distances herself from her daughter. Amidst Neva’s displeasure with her, Grace comes under investigation by the Board of Nursing and her license is suspended following a complaint made by an antagonistic doctor. Ignoring her suspension and unbeknownst to her family, Grace continues to deliver babies in secret. For Floss, a retired midwife, Neva’s revelation transports her to a time 60 years earlier when she became embroiled in the affairs of her best friend, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s husband–affairs which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for Floss and her family.”
Are there any men here? Men, you are excused. This book is not for you, so you are off the hook! Now, are they gone? We can continue :)…If you mothers are like me at all, you jump at the chance to share your birthing stories with whoever will listen. It’s especially fun to listen and compare, right? Well, this book is kind of like that; it’s a whole book of birthing stories from different perspectives. It’s different and kind of fun! I loved Neva from the start, and was hooked on this book from the beginning. Neva is very likable and mostly realistic. She seems just like your neighbor two doors down that you chat with on your way to the mailbox or the park. She has a fun personality, and I liked her a lot. Grace is a little less likable. She has a few rougher edges and can get a little annoying. She does not like ob/gyns or hospitals. At. All. She hates them, in fact. This does get a little old at times. Floss is a cute lady. She seems to have a good relationship with Neva and usually with Grace as well. She is homosexual and has a partner named Lil. I loved Patrick! He’s a sweetheart. Every girl needs a Patrick! The story interweaves the perspectives of Neva, Grace, and Floss. They each have secrets, and some are more predictable than others. However, I thought they intermingled well, and there was enough to keep me hooked. I couldn’t put the book down! This is just a cute, fun book. It is very heavy on birthing and birthing details. If you haven’t had children then this book may be too much for you. It also has a strong (very strong) angle against doctors and hospitals. Grace hates them, as I said. Neva is a little less judgmental and a little more understanding. She works in a birthing center which is attached to the hospital, so she interacts with doctors and ob/gyns all the time. She helps to even things out a bit, but this book definitely advocates home births with midwives and no doctors or hospitals. It might have bugged me more, but I just tried to take it as another perspective. I hope women will do their research and make their own decisions, and not let a fictional book make their decisions for them. There was a scene where I thought they were a little too careless with the home birth, but the other ones seemed fine. This would be a great book group book! I enjoyed this book. It doesn’t have any powerful themes (except for home birthing and midwives), except maybe that telling the truth from the beginning may be the best answer. It’s entertaining and different.
I was so excited that for the first 153 pages there was no profanity! I noticed when the first word was because it surprised me. Unfortunately, it was an “f” word. Out of nowhere. Lame. And unneeded. Then toward the end there is another one. There are a few other words, but that’s it. Lame. It would have been better without those few words. There is “intimacy” in this book as well. Those babies have to be conceived somehow, right? So, yes, there are a couple of scenes and discussions about it. There is also some domestic violence.
Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers. Profanity, including the “f” word, “intimacy” scenes and discussions about. Also, lots of birthing details.)
Recommendation: Adult Women (The men might faint if they read this……:)
This book is also out on audio. Here’s a snippet!: https://soundcloud.com/macaudio-2/the-secrets-of-midwives-by-sally-hepworth-chapter-1
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.