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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 ...
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.
Posted September 7, 2012
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Coal mining West Virginia during the 1930's is the setting for Patricia Harman's engaging debut novel, THE MIDWIFE OF HOPE RIVER. Patience Murphy is making a new life caring for pregnant women in Appalachia as she reconciles her past with her new surroundings.
With the heart of Sandra Dallas, the intensity of Gay Courter and a nod to Barbara Wood the author integrates historical notes (the Great Depression, Appalachian coal mining, unions for miners and lack thereof, Emma Goldman the anarchist, Mother Jones, and even the Ku Klux Klan) into a seamless story about womanhood and the inherent risks of childbirth. She writes of a world where poverty, malnutrition and unequal access to quality healthcare can mean the difference between life and death. And while Patience's story is the story of her female clients and their children's births it is also her story.
Harman weaves Patience's personal tale with gentleness and sudden details that leave the reader wondering how the midwife can escape her own sadness to help her patients. Can the town vet be counted on as an ally for Patience? Can Patience reconcile her own past and move forward to be the midwife Hope River needs? Can she face the challenges for both the poorest and wealthiest of her clients? Can she train an apprentice? Will her past change her future?
An excellent book about the fragility of life, the miracle of birth, the community of neighbors, the Great Depression, love and healing and a woman's journey to find her place in the world. Beautifully written and a joy to read.
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Posted September 23, 2012
Patience Murphy lives an isolated but adrenaline-kicking lifestyle. At any time of the day or night, a person might knock on her door or a car pull up into her yard, seeking her very new skills as a midwife to help deliver a baby. Sometimes everything goes oh so smoothly and yet there's always tension even until that last second when a baby emerges from his or her mother and is found to be healthy and whole when there is equal joy! But frequently, for various reasons, the baby has turned in utero and Patience has a huge challenge to deliver the baby, saving both the baby and its mother's life. Pay comes in very, very small bills but more likely in the form of food or wood for a fire.
For the Depression is looming over the entire nation and even the mines in West Virginia have closed or are very close to closing. Patience has wound up in this little country town because she fears the cops are after her, a story that gradually emerges throughout the entire novel.
A neighboring veterinarian is the first to help Patience albeit after quite a bit of gruffness. But he later turns out to be more than a rough character and becomes a caring friend. So what's the drama herein? Could it be the delivering of animal young 'uns as well as human babies? Could it be when a fierce ice storm glazes the area through which Patience must travel for another birth? Perhaps it's the husband who violently abuses his wife or anyone close enough to his rage?
There are several stories within this obvious surface story. But the reader finds Patience to be an honest, straight-forward, caring woman who has picked the perfect profession for her and luckily for her patients. Unions and racism are volatile subjects to discuss or be a part of. Patience, however, is a rebel for the most sincere reasons one would be a viable rebel; she cares more for people, their families, their finances that help them survive, etc. more than greed for more material possessions and more than the hate that turns cowards (KKK) into would-be killers!
The Midwife of Hope River is about second chances and rising above the smallness of those locked in "old time" ways and means! It's about sticking together and needing each other in a truly whole, community style. Nicely done, Ms. Harman!
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Posted June 17, 2013
Posted June 7, 2013
My book club chose this book because of the depression era theme. It was a wonderful story about this period of American history. Everyone liked the book which does not always happen. We also had a great discussion about our own relatives during that time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2013
Posted May 28, 2013
Froststar gazed proudly down at her litter of three she kits, her eyes filled with warmth and love. Icewhisker, her mate, was out hunting, but he would be back soon to meet his daughters for the first time. As Froststar lapped some of the water that Frozencloud had given her to drink, she watched the medicine cat inspect her kits out of the corner of her eye."They're all healthy." She informed her leader. Froststar breathed out a sigh of relief and looked at her kits once more."The gray and silver one, Coldkit, and the fluffy white one with silver flecks will be Icekit. And the white one is Snowkit." She purred. Though her white pelt with silver patches was scruffy from her kitting, Froststar felt prettier than she ever had with her kits beside her. Then Froststar pricked her ears. She heard some kind of rumbling.... The bracken that was the entrance to the camp vibrated as a hunting patrol bounded in, with every cat injured. Froststar felt her heart stop as they lay a silver body in the clearing. It was Icewhisker. As the patrol did, an achingly familiar voice rang in her head."Snow what powers a Blizzard. But even that can be destroyed by fire." Froststar looked down at Snowkit, realizing that she may be the subject of Icewhiskers words.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2013
Posted May 26, 2013
Posted May 24, 2013
RIVERCLAN: Leader: Breezestar-light gray tom ... Deputy: Stormleap-brown tom with black spots ... Medicine Cat: Leafsong-tortieshell she-cat with forest-green eyes ... Warriors: Frogleap-blue she-cat with golden eyes, Blackclaw-black tom with strangely large claws (apprentice, Coldpaw), Bramblewind red tabby tom, Jayshine-blue she cat wth ocean-blue eyes, Badgerstripe white tom with a black stripe down his black (apprentice, Petalpaw), Waveheart-silver she-cat, Plumheart-brown tabby she-cat with unusual violet eyes, Stonepelt-dark gray tom ... Apprentices: Coldpaw-dark gray tom with ice-blue eyes, Peltalpaw-red she-cat ... Queens: Stardapple-golden she-cat with white spots MATE: Bramblewind (Kits:Flamekit-red tom with golden paws), Rainstream-silver tabby MATE:Breezestar ... Elders: Blindeye-blind white tom with blue eyes, ..... THUNDERCLAN: Leader: Cinderstar ... Deputy: Rosedust ... Medicine Cat: Redstorm ... Warriors: Blackheart, Fireclaw, Lionfang, Splashfur, Redfur, Oakthorn, Foresteye ... Apprentices: Frostypaw, Foxpaw, Cloudpaw, Shadowpaw ... Elders: Duskshade ..... WINDCLAN: Leader: Gorsestar ... Deputy: Flamepelt ... Medicine Cat: Runningheart ... Warriors: Grassfur, Shadeheart, Lizardstripe, Eagleflight, Ravenwing, Strongheart, Kinkfur, Stormpetal ... Queens: Featherfur, Songheart ... Elders: Dawnpetal ..... SHADOWCLAN: Leader: Truestar ... Deputy: Tawnyfur ... Warriors: Jayfur, Lightningtail, Gorseheart, Stoneclaw ... Apprentices: Dustpaw ... Queens: FeatherheartWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2013
I loved this book- depression era West Virginia sounded rather depressing- but this book is about hope and life. I could not put it down. I hope the author plans a sequelWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2013
Reviewed by: Aubrey
Book provided by: Publisher
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
I love this book so much. It’s honestly one of my new favorite books ever. I love how Harman writes. She is quite frank and to the point but with a lot of humor. The main character, Patience, is exceptionally well written. She is character full of depth and layers and unquestionably a character that is more than what she seems. She is a midwife, but you get glimpses of a life led before that was exciting. She holds many of the feminist ideals that I do.
Her life as a midwife is not easy. She does not always get paid, but you get the feeling that Patience loves what she does. She faced many obstacles being a midwife in the mountains in one of the poorest areas of the country at the time and many men did not accept that she could do the job that a doctor could do. What is so fascinating about her attending all these births is that you get to see how all different families live and operate. You see the intersections of socioeconomic status and race and how the two intersect and how they also cause problems.
As her first published novel, Harman wrote a story that is emotional and raw. It is one that I will recommend to many of my friends who are interested in birth and midwifery. This books is comparable to The Birth House by Ami McKay.
Posted January 1, 2013
The Midwife of Hope River was set in Depression era West Virginia. Patience Murphy is a very empathetic and caring midwife. She lives alone except for her memories of lost loved ones and the fear of the law catching up with her for past wrong doings. When she befriends a colored woman some of the locals don't care for it and let her know. I highly recommend this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2012
Posted December 11, 2012
This book is undoubtedly the most interesting, exciting, overwhelming description of the life and times of a midwife during the most tumultuous times in the history of the United States. The story is written from the heart and reaches into the heart of the reader.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 1, 2012
This was a wonderful story and just when I didn't know what to read. I heard from my sister what a good book this was so I got the Nook version and couldn't put it down. Great reading for women and anyone who appreciates the struggles some women have had in their lives. Heartwarming.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 27, 2012
"The Midwife of Hope River" is a stunning tale of true grit in West Virginia during the Depression-era. Patience is a truly flawed yet extraordinarily likeable character who finds friendship, love and a new life after enduring much heartbreak. The true to life stories of birthing are heartwarming, humorous and some horiffic. When I got to the last 60 pages...I savored each one not wanting the story to end. It is a MUST READ for all book clubs!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 2, 2012
Posted October 13, 2012
Posted October 18, 2012
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Posted May 17, 2013
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