Harpercollins|August 20, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-219889-1
Midwife Patience Murphy has a gift: a talent for escorting mothers through the challenges of bringing children into the world. Working in the hardscrabble conditions of Appalachia during the Depression. Patience takes the jobs that no one else wants, helping those most in need – and least likely to pay. She knows a successful midwifery practice must be built on a foundation of openness and trust – but the secrets Patience is keeping are far too intimate and fragile for her to ever let anyone in.
Honest, moving, and beautifully detailed, Patricia Harman’s The Midwife of Hope River rings with authenticity as Patience faces nearly insurmountable difficulties. From the dangerous mines of West Virginia to the terrifying attentions of the Ku Klux Klan, Patience must strive to bring new light and life into an otherwise hard world.
Patience Murphy was at one time Elizabeth Snyder who was a showgirl, a wife, and a mother-to-be. Now she is Patience Murphy, midwife in Appalachia in the 1930’s during the Depression in a little county called Hope River. She attends the births of both rich and poor families but is rarely paid in dollars for her services. Usually she’s paid nothing at all or a bag of flour, a few potatoes, or some other form of food. Times are tough for everyone. Patience worries constantly about the day her past catches up with her and is always on guard wondering if the people coming up her driveway are in need of her services or if it’s the Sheriff.
The story begins with Patience attending one of the communities white residents who is expected to have a stillbirth but the baby is born alive. Patience has not yet had a lot of experience at being a midwife but she is the only choice for a lot of folks since Dr. Blum, the county’s white doctor refuses to birth any babies for people who cannot afford to pay him. Mrs. Potts, the negro midwife is ill.
Patience keeps a record book of all the births she attends, recording the name of the family, the baby’s name and weight, who was in attendance and if there were any complications during the birth. The births she attends are riveting and will keep you glued to the edge of your seat.
Patience befriends, Bitsy, a young black girl who moves in with Patience and begins attending the births and assisting, Patience.
The Midwife of Hope River is a story of great strength, struggles, loss, redemption, truth, survival, and hope. It is also a celebration of life. For a debut novel, this was a crackerjack read!