About this book: (from the publisher) Ashley Tolliver has tended to the women of her small Appalachian community for years. As their midwife, she thinks she has seen it all. Until a young woman gives birth at Ashley’s home and is abducted just as Ashley tries to take the dangerously bleeding mother to the nearest hospital. Now Ashley is on a mission to find the woman and her newborn baby . . . before it’s too late.
Hunter McDermott is on a quest—to track down his birth mother. After receiving more media attention than he could ever want for being in the right place at the right time, he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman claiming to be his mother. Hunter seeks out the aid of the local midwife in the mountain town where the phone call originated—surely she can shed some light on his own family background.
Ashley isn’t prepared for the way Hunter’s entrance into her world affects her heart and her future. He reignites dreams of having her own family that she has long put aside in favor of earning her medical degree and being able to do even more for her community. But is it commitment to her calling or fear of the unknown that keeps her feet firmly planted in the Appalachian soil? Or is it something more—fear of her growing feelings for Hunter—that makes her hesitant to explore the world beyond the mountains?
About the author: Laurie Alice Eakes has a degree in English and French from Asbury University, and a master’s degree in writing fiction from Seton Hill University. She has nearly two dozen books in print and lives with her husband and myriad pets in Houston, Texas.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG
[Tweet “An intriguing novel about the contemporary practice of midwifery. “]
Reflection: Even before I had children of my own, stories about midwives and midwifery have fascinated me. If the novel contains “midwife” in the title, I’m likely to want to read it. My interest lately has been further heightened by my passion for maternal and child health issues–especially in underdeveloped regions of the world. The ancient art and science of midwifery continues to play a vital role in our world, and for this reason among others, I tend to enjoy stories that draw attention to it.
This story lifted right off with a gripping first chapter, which allowed me to easily engage with both the characters and a mystery–two mysteries, actually, and this suspense, along with each new twist, propelled me forward.
The sticking point, however, came for me fairly early on. It happened when Hunter discovers he is adopted, and his attitude (and those of his highly educated, sophisticated parents) stretched my credibility until it snapped. His actions and reactions regarding his family situation did not seem to fit either what I knew of his character or our contemporary times. Worse, his extreme attitude and behavior rendered him unsympathetic: it made me dislike him, which is not the setup readers are looking for in a main character–especially a love interest. At least, it’s not what this reader is looking for.
Putting Hunter’s prejudices aside, however, the story does contain a nice, if predictable, romance, and the author does know how to spin a tale. And because one of the reasons I read this book was to gain understanding into the contemporary practice of midwifery, I can vouch that these interesting insights remain a compelling quality ofThe Mountain Midwife.
Thanks to Zondervan and BookLook Bloggers for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: While we’re on the subject of contemporary midwifery, I did a bit of exploring to learn more. In the Western world, midwifery continues to be a popular option for delivering babies. In many other parts of the world, it is the only option–unless the mother delivers unassisted–or what is often worse, assisted by untrained helpers.
What can happen when a mother is not assisted by a skilled midwife? According to World Vision, one of the more common injuries is “obstetric fistula, which occurs during labor when the baby is unable to pass through the birth canal. The baby presses down on the mother’s pelvic bone, cutting off blood supply and causing the tissue to die. The resulting hole causes urinal or fecal incontinence. Most often, the child does not survive and the mother has a new life full of shame and ostracization.”
Not surprisingly, most of fistula patients are poor, uneducated, very young mothers (mostly teenagers, some as young as 12) who are injured while giving birth to their first child. According to World Vision, “A girl’s pelvic bone is typically not fully grown and developed until the age of 21; the less developed, the greater the risk for an obstructed birth. Beyond fistulas…child birth is the number one cause of death for girls aged 15-19.”
To learn more about this issue, consider watching the NOVA film, A Walk to Beautiful, “a powerful story of healing and hope for women in Ethiopia devastated by childbirth injuries.” You can view it here, or you may be able to borrow it from your local library (I was). See the trailer below: