The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River Series #2)

( 8 )

Overview

The author of the nationally bestselling novel The Midwife of Hope River returns with a moving story about the power of the human spirit and the miracle of new life

Nurse Becky Myers is a reluctant midwife. She's far more comfortable with tending the sick than helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy. But the Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle ...

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The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River Series #2)

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Overview

The author of the nationally bestselling novel The Midwife of Hope River returns with a moving story about the power of the human spirit and the miracle of new life

Nurse Becky Myers is a reluctant midwife. She's far more comfortable with tending the sick than helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy. But the Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. And sometimes Becky is called upon to bring new life into the world.

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.

Becoming a midwife and ushering 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's spirit back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062358240
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/3/2015
  • Series: Hope River Series, #2
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 73,966
  • 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 the bestselling novel The Midwife of Hope River. She has three sons and lives near Morgantown, West Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    This is a book that once you turn the first page, you will not b

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Nurse Becky Myers and her former employer, Dr. Isaac Blum, trave

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2015

    A very good read.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2015

    Excellent

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2015

    Really enjoyed this book.

    I rarely write reviews but this was such a good read.Characters come to life. Compelling story.

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  • Posted April 3, 2015

    An enjoyable story with few surprises.

    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.

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  • Posted March 21, 2015

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A companion to

    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.  

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  • Posted March 17, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Lovers of TV¿s Call the Midwife will enjoy this tale of a small-

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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