Friday, November 20, 2015

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas

It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn't imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides.
But everything changes when a baby is found dead...and the evidence points to Gracy as the murderer.
She didn't commit the crime, but clearing her name isn't so easy when her innocence is not quite as simple, either. She knows things, and that's dangerous. Invited into her neighbors' homes during their most intimate and vulnerable times, she can't help what she sees and hears. A woman sometimes says things in the birthing bed, when life and death seem suspended within the same moment. Gracy has always tucked those revelations away, even the confessions that have cast shadows on her heart.
With her friends taking sides and a trial looming, Gracy must decide whether it's worth risking everything to prove her innocence. And she knows that her years of discretion may simply demand too high a price now...especially since she's been keeping more than a few dark secrets of her own.
With Sandra Dallas's incomparable gift for creating a sense of time and place and characters that capture your heart, The Last Midwife tells the story of family, community, and the secrets that can destroy and unite them.

Review by Mirella Patzer 
History and Women

What a pleasure it has been to read this novel. I had never read a novel by Sandra Dallas before, but I will be avidly reading her others. This novel was so utterly satisfying that she is now one of my favourite authors and I've added her website to the links on the side of this blog: http://greathistoricalfiction.blogspot.com. 

Brilliantly researched, Sandra captures the essence of the times and the numerous hardships faced by women of all ages. The stories has roots in the historical past - she studied the plight of midwives who found themselves face to face with the law when a birth went awry. There is a strong tone of doing the right thing, no matter the injustices the main character faces. The protaganist is a woman called Gracy Brookens, a skilled and respected midwife. Clearly unselfish, caring, and dedicated to helping women, there is much to laud in this character. Courageous and determined, she faces adversity in a way that is startling stoic. 

The prose is lovely and flowing, and the descriptions perfect - enough to bring the scene to life without slowing the pace. Although on the surface, this novel looks like it might be purely historical or women's fiction, there is a mystery at its heart, a bonus to an already rich tale. I admire Sandra Dallas' talent and am eager to read more of her novels. Thorough enjoyable! 5 stars and more!

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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