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The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River Series #2)
     

The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River Series #2)

4.4 24
by Patricia Harman
 

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The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit.

The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for

Overview

The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit.

The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.

Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe.

But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.

Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“This poignant, powerful novel does not shy away from the gruesome facts of life and death. Fans of the BBC’s Call the Midwife and Carol Cassella’s medically minded novels will enjoy Harman’s inspirational and introspective story.”
Pamela Schoenewaldt
“An entrancing saga of birth and rebirth, of people you come to love as they confront loss and guilt, poverty and fear, silence and doubt.”
Teresa Brown RN
“A very enjoyable sequel to Patsy Harman’s first novel, this new book reconnects us with beloved characters while introducing an appealing new midwife, Becky Myers. [...] Seeing the joy of the work chip away at her reluctance is the great and true pleasure of this book.”
Library Journal
01/01/2015
When nurse Becky Meyers moves to Hope River, WV, during the height of the Great Depression, she has her former employer in tow. Dr. Isaac Blum is no longer fully functioning. In fact, he is catatonic, a condition apparently caused by the sudden death of his wife. Work is scarce. When Becky's good friend, midwife Patience Murphy (whom readers met in the author's 2012 title, The Midwife of Hope River), needs assistance, she often asks Becky to help her deliver babies, a medical task Becky finds terrifying. By taking a part-time job at the Civilian Conservation Corps camp, growing vegetables, and bargaining for firewood, Becky is able to support not only herself but Isaac, too. The doctor starts slowly to respond to the challenges of rural survival. Mining accidents, a rampant forest fire, and difficult pregnancies set a lively pace for all concerned. When Isaac begins secretly reading Becky's diary, the novel's layered complexity grows. VERDICT This title is sure to appeal to fans of American historical fiction or anyone else looking for a story with plenty of emotion, spunk, and community spirit.—Keddy Ann Outlaw, Houston

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062358240
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/03/2015
Series:
Hope River Series , #2
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
204,960
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Harman, CNM, got her start as a lay midwife on rural communes and went on to become a nurse-midwife on the faculties of Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and West Virginia University. She is the author of two acclaimed memoirs and three novels: the bestselling The Midwife of Hope River, The Reluctant Midwife and The Runaway Midwife. She has three sons and lives near Morgantown, West Virginia.

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The Reluctant Midwife 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
This is a book that once you turn the first page, you will not be able to put down. We are transported the 1930’s in American, and back to West Virginia, the Great Depression. West Virginia is at 80% unemployment, and nurse Becky Meyers finds herself homeless and also the caretaker of her former boss Dr. Isaac Blum. I felt myself walking in Becky’s shoes, looking at the bread lines, and having feelings of doubt as a baby is about to come into the world. I was holding to tooth brush as we brushed Dr. Blum’s teeth. I had a lot of admiration for this woman, and what a hard lot in life she had been given, but she rolled with the punches, and came out a winner. We also walk in Dr. Blum’s shoes, and sometimes, we wish we didn’t, such pain he kept locked up in his silence. What a blessing Hestor is to him, and even if he is stoic he seems to respond silently to help. I feel blessed to have never lived during the Great Depression, but the author has painted a picture of that time that will linger a long time with you. This is a book not to be missed! I received this book through Edelweiss and William Morrow Paperbacks, and was not required to give a positive review.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Nurse Becky Myers and her former employer, Dr. Isaac Blum, travel back to their origins in a small West Virginia town.  They are almost penniless and Blum bears the appearance of a mentally challenged individual who just stares and is totally dependent on Becky to feed, dress and change him on a daily basis.  Her own marriage has fallen apart as her husband was obviously suffering from what we now know is PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, a violent aftermath of his war experiences.  Later he finds comfort elsewhere and Becky is left with nothing. Add to this stark scenario the fact that it is the 1930s and the Great Depression in America is at its height when there are no jobs to be had and no food for daily sustenance.  The people in Becky’s world survive by sharing the little they have and the bond that establishes is deeper than even family in many instances.  Becky and Blum find a home in an old home abandoned by Becky’s friend Patience, who is now married and a practicing midwife.  Becky herself is a nurse but dreads practicing childbirth outside of the accepted venue of a hospital and even then she’s not so fond of that part of nursing.  She’s more comfortable assisting Patience as she used to do with Blum.  But necessity will draw out her skills and her ability to do what she hated.   This is the story of Becky and Blum, who represented a wounded America struggling to survive disaster on a daily basis.  She will deliver children, medicate an asthmatic boy in crisis, set fractured bones and more.  Every scene is exciting, tension-ridden, and laced with first uncertainty and then care and compassion.  Healing is mental and emotional for all involved and even Blum occasionally comes out of his almost catatonic state. The government, in this devastating time, is providing jobs through the CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps.  They establish camps to which the destitute draw, a motley lot whom Beverly will eventually nurse out of several disasters, including an horrific fire that almost destroys the camp’s buildings and homes of its employees. The Reluctant Midwife is another Hope River Mystery which immediately engages the reader and is almost impossible to put down.  The town gives more than physical shelter to its residents, including some unsavory characters, and is more about opportunities for more than survival and includes some riveting secrets laced throughout the overriding medical plot.  Very nicely crafted, Patricia Harman and strongly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Throughly enjoyed the story and characters. Author did an excellent job of describing the difficult living conditions during the depression. Looking forward to more from Patricia Harman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though this is a sequel, it every bit as good as the first book...possibly better. Excellent story and characters! I loved it and was sorry for the story to end.
Christmas0 More than 1 year ago
I began the Hope River Series before reading the first novel. Being a good read, I have purchased the first in the series to now read. One thing to bear in mind, if you don't like to have an inkling of what is coming up in a book don't bother to read this book. You can surmise what is coming by what is written before. Still it is a fun read, interesting, and engaging. Simple in the author's delivery. An enjoyable story with few surprises.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Lovers of TV’s Call the Midwife will enjoy this tale of a small-town American midwife’s assistant, reluctantly taking on the job when the Depression leaves her hopeless and almost homeless. The lives of people struggling on the edges of poverty are vividly portrayed, and there’s plenty of well-researched history, covering race relations, rejection of outsiders, mistrust of government programs, and the pursuit of medicine. Protagonist Becky is a doctor’s daughter and physician’s assistant. But the doctor she worked with has lost his mind, just as the world lost its financial safety-net. Now Becky cares for her employer as if he were a child, and cares for neighbor’s children and children-to-be. Meanwhile the Civilian Conservation Corps sets up camp, and a handsome stranger threatens to steal Becky’s heart. The story is enhanced by quotes from Nurse Becky's diary, lending a powerful sense of immediacy, soon paired with a touch of mystery. Details are convincing. Characters are pleasingly complex. And the dialog mostly rings true to life (though I have issues with some of the swear words which felt awkwardly modern). A recurring theme is the way we make assumptions – who can be trusted, who can be healed, who is worth caring for – and how easily all those assumptions can be wrong. In a world of poverty, trust is paramount. And in a world of broken trust, mercy might rule. A thin thread of faith reminds the characters that there’s something more to be trusted, beyond themselves, but the story works equally for readers of faith and readers just interested in an honest tale set in the world our grandparents knew. Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
The Reluctant Midwife is an engaging and utterly fascinating historical fiction novel that takes place in West Virginia, during the Great Depression. Nurse Becky Myers had worked with Dr. Isaac Blum for seven years before she ended up becoming his caregiver. Instead of continuing with his life’s work, Dr. Blum withdrew into a catatonic state, when his wife suffered a tragic death. Becky’s anger and frustration with the catatonic doctor mushroomed after she ran out of money and became homeless. Thankfully an old friend, Patience Hester, the Midwife for Hope River and her husband Daniel, a Veterinarian, took Becky, and Isaac under their wing. I first met Becky Myers and Dr. Isaac Blum in The Midwife of Hope River, Patricia Harman’s first book in this series. They were secondary characters in that book, and not very nice ones at that. Isaac Blum was an arrogant doctor and Becky was a prideful nurse. In this second book of the series, The Reluctant Midwife, Becky shows her courage by putting on a brave front and helping Patience with her Midwifery practice. She also begins to develop genuine empathy for women in labor. Both Dr. Blum and Becky are humbled, during this dark time in their life; and as a result, they develop a deep compassion for others. I didn’t think that the two would ever win me over, but they did. I found The Reluctant Midwife to be a compelling and engaging read. The book is crafted, with so many vivid and authentic details, that I couldn’t help but feel part of the story. I loved this book and highly recommend giving it a read.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
Much has been written and studied about the Great Depression and its devastating effects and West Virginia was certainly one of the states hit hardest. Already lagging behind other states economically, the Depression made things much worse and true poverty became commonplace. Such is the setting for the tale of some wonderful and resilient people told in The Reluctant Midwife. Technically speaking, this is the second book in a series but it's really more of a companion novel to the first. The main character from The Midwife of Hope River, Patience Murphy, is present in the second book but the focus is on a different character, Becky Myers. I enjoyed Patience in this story (not having read the first book yet) but Becky is the one who really caught my attention. Becky is a nurse but is every bit as terrified as any layman would be at the thought of attending childbirth and it's this facet of her personality that tells us who Becky is, the fortitude and compassion that imbue her personality. Oddly enough, I was reminded of the James Herriot books in the type of person Becky is, doing what needs to be done even when she really doesn't want to, and also in the style of the story, with vignettes of medical scenarios forming the heart of the tale. Becky is a woman I'd love to know in reality even while I'd be a little intimidated by her essential goodness. She takes on the burden of caring for her nearly catatonic employer, Dr. Isaac Blum, and does so just because that's the right thing to do. Her compassion towards him in the face of impending starvation is remarkable and, yet, it fits the mold of those people who live in Appalachia and other economically stressed areas. They are people who recognize that community and caring for one's neighbors is how they rise above their conditions. Becky, like them, is full of heart and resilience and I love her story. I'll be picking up the first book while wiondering where Ms. Harman will take us next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writing and a pleasure to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful historical fiction - i find myself transported back to the 1930s. I've learned things about what life was like during the Depression era. Highly reccomend this series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read. Well developed characters and an emotional story line. Makes you cheer for those who face hardship with tenacious spirits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, great story about the depression and Roosevelt's CCC to put the country back on its feet. The Nurse Becky, who isn't comfortable at all being a midwife is thrust into the job because there are no jobs available and the Dr. for whom she had worked had suffered a severe breakdown and ceased to function higher than a toddler. The story is great. My own family talked about the CCC and several members got their education while working for it. I loved this book about people learning how to love one another and work for the good of all. They put aside their prejudice, many for all time, and came together to remake our world. It is tender, caring, hard and often almost more than any human can handle but well worth reading about this part of our own history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is different and the characters are interesting and believabl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking. Interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rarely write reviews but this was such a good read.Characters come to life. Compelling story.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A companion to the first book The Midwife of Hope River (which I reviewed yesterday) and would completely suggest reading first before you read this one. Now to the review - This second book focuses on a different character from the first, Nurse Becky Myers.  She makes a few appearances in the first book, but takes the lead in this book.  She is moving back to the small town in West Virginia with the ailing doctor that she followed out of town for a job.  They are returning to try to put their lives back in order and thankfully Patience from the first book is able to help them out. I don't always love companion books, but loved seeing the continuation of the story and through a new set of eyes made it interesting and entertaining.  I still felt like I was able to read Patience's continuation at the same time as she took a big role in helping the nurse and the doctor get back on their feet.  I absolutely adored the inclusion of a historical truth in the Civilian Conservation Corps camps and how easily Nurse Myers integrated into that world and she was able to give an accurate glimpse as to what happened on those camps and why they were formed.