Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse

Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse

by Jennifer Worth
4.3 60


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Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

The sequel to Jennifer Worth's New York Times bestselling memoir and the basis for the PBS series Call the Midwife

When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood's most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.

Orphaned brother and sister Peggy and Frank lived in the workhouse until Frank got free and returned to rescue his sister. Bubbly Jane's spirit was broken by the cruelty of the workhouse master until she found kindness and romance years later at Nonnatus House. Mr. Collett, a Boer War veteran, lost his family in the two world wars and died in the workhouse.

Though these are stories of unimaginable hardship, what shines through each is the resilience of the human spirit and the strength, courage, and humor of people determined to build a future for themselves against the odds. This is an enduring work of literary nonfiction, at once a warmhearted coming-of-age story and a startling look at people's lives in the poorest section of postwar London.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062270047
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/22/2013
Series: Call the Midwife Series , #2
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 80,220
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berk-shire Hospital in Reading, and was later ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, then the Marie Curie Hospital, also in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about twenty-five years. Jennifer died in May 2011 after a short illness, leaving her husband, Philip; two daughters; and three grandchildren. Her books have all been bestsellers in England.

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Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
reesspace More than 1 year ago
I am completely intrigued by the story of the midwives; what brought them to the Nonnatus House and the lives of the people they served. Jane's story completely brought me to tears. The times were hard, people had to be hard but there was so much suffering that my heartaches for the times. The author does a wonderful job of rewinding life so that you can imagine the deplorable conditions, the struggles, the people and how hard life is for so many. The book is compiled into three different part. Part 1 focuses on the Workhouse Children; Part 2 The Trial of Sister Monica Joan and Part 3; The Old Soldier. Each one reads beautifully and reminds us of how far we have come and how very fortunate we are.
DianeCascade More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Worth knows how to tell a story. In Call the Midwife, Worth describes moving from a middle class upbringing to becoming a midwife in a poor part of London. But it is much more than just that. Jennifer is a chronicler of sorts for the entire community in which she works – painting a picture of the inhabitants she works among and lives among. She has a beautiful way with words. Five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again, Jennifer Worth kept my attention throughout this book. She writes intelligently and with compassion. This is the second book of the 3-part series. It will not disappoint you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Informative and highly readable. Kept my attention and interest - plus I learned some history on the way. A++++ job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After finishing the first book in the series I couldn't wait to start this one. I wasn't disappointed. It was as interesting and informative as the first one. This one had a little more humor than the first did. The author describes without criticizing the workhouse situation so I was able to see beyond the conditions and feel involved with the people. It is very different than the first and yet still connected to it.
RJH16 More than 1 year ago
This is the second CALL THE MIDWIFE I have read and I highly recommend them. They are full of information I really never knew and take you into the lives of the poorest people in post war London - their culture and daily struggles. It is hard to imagine that these situations actually existed so recently. Shocking and appalling, but well written with humor and sensitivity. A fascinating and entertaining read.
DeeMarieRoman More than 1 year ago
What wonderful stories of life, hope, dignity, respect and love! Writing style is excellent, and this was truly a can't-put-down book. Hopefully, we all look at our ancestors and see how much they selflessly gave so we could live as we do. I started with Part 2, but really don't think you need to read it in order. Part 2 had stories that stand-alone and don't seem to build on Part 1. Don't miss this one!
jdmitche3 More than 1 year ago
I couldn't believe there was such a terrible place as the workhouses. It seems like something from the Dark Ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had heard of work houses in the 19th and 20th centuries, but reading how they really were was shocking.........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is definitely a good read if you enjoy the tv series "Call the Midwife". Ms Worth writes from the heart, gives you understanding and history of the workhouses. Her heartfelt compassion for her work and for the people she came to know makes this one of the best books I have picked up in a very long time.
UtahSnowy More than 1 year ago
This book gives a good description of the workhouses and how they were phased out. The BBC/PBS series follows the book in most cases. Some of the episodes come from the other books in this series. It was delightful to read it in her own words. I wish she had written more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The series has been sanitized since these had been the worse slums but by now had been bombed out and those there had probably survived by being sent out if the city. It was also the home if the foreign sailors etc
RogetRC More than 1 year ago
Midwifery was most important in the preservation of fetal life and the trials and tribulations of the women who assisted with the delivery. It was written with clarity and makes for rapid reading. The surroundings of the lower class and their living difficulties will make one appreciate the progress in social and medical environments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the PBS series based on these books. These stories put a face on the history of the English "poor law to welfare state" development. The Peggies, Franks and Janes really existed, and that's just intriguing to me. And her reactions and how the stories change how she matures is the true change
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot until it started talking about poetry and stuff like that. I enjoyed hearing about the people that the midwife helped and about the nuns lives but I could have done without the bible part of it towards the end. I just skipped those pages after a while.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Hard to b elieve the hardship people lived & accepted as every day life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the historical accuracy of the book. I want to be a nurse and it was a very realistic look into the world of health care.
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This book told about the workhouse which many older people knew about but so few of us ever heard any details about. Heartbreaking stories. But unforgettable like Jane's story and so worth reading. I liked the soldier's story too. It was sad but also gave so much detail in his life that I never thought about. No wonder the death counts were so high in those wars. These are details that history books don't discuss.
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