Charity's Burden (Quaker Midwife Mystery #4)

Charity's Burden (Quaker Midwife Mystery #4)

by Edith Maxwell


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, May 24


Quaker midwife Rose Carroll seeks the true cause of a young mother's death in turn-of-the-century Massachusetts.

The winter of 1889 is harsh in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but it doesn't stop Quaker midwife Rose Carroll from making the rounds to her pregnant and postpartum mothers. When Charity Skells dies from an apparent early miscarriage, Rose wonders about the symptoms that don't match the stated cause of death. She learns that Charity's husband may be up to no good with a young woman whose mother appears to offer prohibited medical procedures. A disgraced physician in town does the same, while Charity's cousin seems to have a nefarious agenda of his own. With several suspects emerging, each with their own possible motives, Rose and police detective Kevin Donovan race against time to solve the case before another innocent life is lost.

Praise for the Quaker Midwife Mysteries:

Turning the Tide is a 2018 Agatha Award Nominee for Best Historical Novel

"Engaging."—Publishers Weekly

"First of hopefully many more to come, I believe that everyone will definitely enjoy this stand-out book."—Suspense Magazine

"Rose Carroll is a richly crafted and appealing sleuth. A terrific historical read."—Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author

"The historical setting is redolent and delicious, the townspeople engaging, and the plot a proper puzzle, but it's Rose Carroll—midwife, Quaker, sleuth—who captivates in this irresistible series debut."—Catriona McPherson, award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver series

"Maxwell introduces a fascinating new heroine with her Quaker midwife Rose Carroll."—Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder on St. Nicolas Ave

"[Rose's] strong personality combined with the author's distinctive voice and vivid writing style transported me instantly to another time and place."—Kathy Lynn Emerson, Malice Domestic 2014 Guest of Honor and author of How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries, Murder in the Queen's Wardrobe , and the Diana Spaulding 1888 Mysteries

"A riveting historical mystery featuring a refreshingly different kind of heroine, a Quaker midwife who also solves crimes with wit, intelligence, and gentle grace. It's a page turner. It's a fascinating look at nineteenth-century American faith, culture, and small-town life. And best of all, it's the second of what is sure to be a long and beloved series."—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Cape Cod and The Lincoln Letter

"An intriguing look at life in 19th-century New England, a heroine whose goodness guides all her decisions, and a mystery that surprises."—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738756431
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date: 04/08/2019
Series: Quaker Midwife Mystery Series , #4
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 190,263
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Edith Maxwell is President of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime and a long-time member of the Society of Friends. She is the author of the Local Foods Mysteries and writes the Country Store Mysteries under the pseudonym Maddie Day.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Charity's Burden (Quaker Midwife Mystery #4) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
arkieclown 3 days ago
CHARITY’S BURDEN by Edith Maxwell is the fourth book in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series. It’s the wonderfully written story of Quaker midwife Rose Carroll as she tries to solve the murder case of one of her patients, Charity Skells. It all takes place during the harsh winter months of 1889 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. While making her rounds, Rose finds Charity in great pain and bleeding much more profusely than from a standard miscarriage and insists on taking her to the hospital. After she succumbs to the loss of blood, things just don’t add up. Rose makes a trip to see her friend, police detective Kevin Donovan, and request that her death be looked into further. Things take on murderous turn when the autopsy confirms what Rose believed – that she had died from an ill-fated abortion. Never one to turn her head on seeing a wrong being righted, Rose knows that she must once again seek out clues as to who had done this dastardly deed. It becomes difficult when the new police chief does not approve of her amateur sleuthing and puts her friend’s job on the line if she communicates with him through normal channels. It makes it difficult and more time consuming, but not impossible as she works around that by using Kevin’s wife to relay messages. It seems there are more than one suspect to be considered with greed being the main reason when a will of Charity’s relative shows she was to inherit a great deal of money followed closely by infidelity when it surfaces that her husband was having an affair with Miss Davies. With several attempts on Rose’s life, she weighs her options and decides to continue her investigation moving cautiously and with dedication to finding justice for Charity. All the while, she is helping to maintain her deceased sister’s household and is joyous over the announcement of the union of marriage of her niece, Faith, and her beau, Zeb, and all the wedding plans. A small part of her is jealous that it’s not her wedding to her love David, but that day will come when it’s time. Can Rose find the answers to the puzzle on how Charity had died? Who was behind the acts that killed her? Was the person that killed her doing it on their own part or had they been hired to do it? Is money really the root of all evil? Will the person threatening Rose succeed in their threats before she can find the answers? CHARITY’S BURDEN is a well written story that is true to the time frame showing the dedication to detail and accuracy on the part of the author. She shows how women virtually had no rights and no control – even over their own bodies - during this era. Edith Maxwell tackled a very delicate subject showing all sides and the difficult decisions that woman had to make during that time – including risking their own lives. She managed to make you feel just about every emotion in this book from the fear when Rose is run off the road, the sympathy for the young child who must grow up way too fast by becoming woman of the house after the death of her mother, the joy of a wedding and promised love, the anger at the useless loss of life, to laughter at the naivety of a soon to be bride on sexual matters. I’ve loved every book in this series and this one was no exception. Although part of a series, CHARITY’S BURDER can definitely be read as a standalone. Can’t wait for the next installment which I hope has another marriage in it of our own Miss Rose. I would definitely recommend this book and have.
CozyUpWithKathy 4 months ago
a fascinating historical mystery CHARITY'S BURDEN by Edith Maxwell The Fourth Quaker Midwife Mystery When Rose Carroll gets a call from a desperate woman she rushes to help. However, Charity is bleeding too profusely and dies. There seems to be too much blood for an early miscarriage, could her death be the result of a mechanical abortion? If so, was it just incompetence that killed Charity, or was it murder? Rose Carroll is intelligent, caring, and feisty, especially for a Quaker. Yet it is her faith that guides and helps her as she confronts belligerent and dangerous characters. In this fourth Quaker Midwife Mystery we see romances blossoming and blooming as Frederick welcomes a lady friend and Faith and Zeb plan their wedding. Meanwhile Rose patiently waits for her marriage to David. I was happy to meet Kevin's wife and precocious son and look forward to even more of their involvement in future books. But not all relationships are happy and healthy, as we see with Charity. Was her husband involved with her death? Did he treat her well beforehand? Once again Edith Maxwell has provided a well researched trip back in time. I found the details about nineteenth century birth control and abortion fascinating. The mystery was compelling with numerous suspects, unsavory characters, and intriguing motives. While CHARITY'S BURDEN takes place in 1889, its themes are just as relevant today. Women's health, abortion, and the ability to choose are the center of this mystery. Sadly, many of these issues remain today as certain portions of the Comstock Act still exist, as do other laws and the views of certain members of society. CHARITY'S BURDEN is a fascinating historical mystery that addresses issues women still face today. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
CozyOnUp 4 months ago
Rose Carroll is a Quaker midwife in the late 1800s in Massachusetts. When one of her patients bleeds to death, Rose suspects it was more than a miscarriage. But was it an illegal abortion, or was the young mother murdered? Rose suspects the latter and finds that there are quite a few suspects and motives too. While Rose tries to stick to her calling, she can’t help but find out more details without even trying at times. But when her buggy is hit one evening, Rose realizes she may be getting too close to the truth and her own safety is at risk. With a police detective as an ally, a doctor as a fiancé, and the town post mistress as a confidant, Rose is unlike any other Quaker you may be familiar with. The mystery is well laid out and you get a glimpse into the quaker life. An enjoyable cozy mystery.
chefdt 4 months ago
Charity’s Burden is the fourth book in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series. I love this series. The author does a wonderful job of describing the community of Amesbury as it must have appeared in 1889. And also providing an insightful look into another controversial topic of the time, the providing of information on family planning and birth control. Charity Skells comes to the midwife, Rose Carroll suffering from heavy bleeding. Rose Carroll’s first thought is that she is having a miscarriage but further examination, Rose Carroll in pretty sure that Charity is suffering from a botched abortion. She puts Charity in her buggy and head for the hospital where Charity dies soon after arriving. Rose Carroll seeks out her friend and the police detective, Kevin Douglas to see if she get him to order the hospital to perform an autopsy. As she is explaining what she wants Chief Talbot orders her out of the police station and threatens to fire Douglas if he attempts work with Rose Carroll. This is devastating news to Rose Carroll but vows to find who performed the illegal abortion on Charity. She soon learns that Charity’s husband might be in a relationship with a lady who lives near their farm and whose mother allegedly performs abortions. There’s also a man, John Douglas, who holds himself out as a doctor, who also claims to help women with unwanted pregnancies. Rose Carroll will once again help with her sleuthing from her friend and postmistress, Bertie Winslow and her fiance David. When one evening her buggy is deliberately run off the road she knows she must have struck a nerve with the killer. This is another well-plotted and told story and has a cast of wonderful characters. Ms. Maxwell, as in the other books in the series, provides a look at some significant item of history and skillfully weaves it into the story. Hopefully, we will have more books in this informative series.
MaureenST 4 months ago
Be ready to go back to 1889 and Amesbury Massachusetts, and with our Quaker/Detective/Midwife Rose Carroll, now this is the fourth in this series and I have read them all, but there is enough information give that you can read this one alone. When are all the facts are reveled here it all goes back to greed, only so many are hurt by this person’s acts. Surprises happens and I felt I knew who the culprit was, but I kept changing my mind. Poor Rose, bodies seem to follow her and she is innocent and just goes about helping woman, and newborns. Also, will she and David ever be able to marry, life goes on, but so do what at time seem to be insurmountable problems. Another mystery and a glimpse into the life of a Quaker. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Midnight Ink, and was not required to give a positive review.
GraceJReviewerlady 4 months ago
Edith Maxwell is the author who introduced me to the Quaker religion and way of life; this series is an absolute treat to read! Life continues to be busy for Rose Carroll; she is a very competent midwife providing an excellent service to expectant mothers and their babies. New babies always expected and, unfortunately, where there's new life there tends to be death. With the latest victim a young mother well-known to Rose, she approaches her friend and local police detective, Kevin Donovan with her suspicions of foul play. Can these two work together to find out the true facts of what has taken place? I adore this series! The amount of research which the author must carry out to get all the details as accurate as possible must be phenomenal. Not only do we follow Rose's investigations but we also meet her current patients, find out how her nieces and nephews are growing up and, of course, discover why her wedding to David, her betrothed, hasn't taken place yet. With obstacles in their way this is an intrinsic part of the story and one which fascinates me. Another thoroughly good read from this author; a beautifully written, solid mystery, both informative and a superbly entertaining story. As always, I look forward eagerly to the next in series! It's also worth mentioning that Edith writes cosy mysteries under the pseudonym Maddie Day and I highly recommend ALL of her writing. Five flashing, sparkly stars - and each one worth at least double.
Mama_Cat 4 months ago
Charity’s Burden is 4th in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series, filled with intense suspense, intrigue, and family joy. Historical events are well-researched. The characters are very mature for their ages and sufficiently defined. The mystery is stimulating. At the same time, the mystery results in thought-provoking conversations about something that is still a hot-button subject today. It is the winter of 1889 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Rose Carroll is a Quaker midwife in her late 20’s. She is a diligent, caring professional who loves what she does. Since her sister Harriet’s death, she lives in and offices out of the home of her brother-in-law to help with her five nieces and nephews. Rose’s fiancé, David, is a physician; their wedding date is pending due to objections from the local Meeting (as he is not Quaker) and David’s mother. We get to join Rose and her family as they prepare for the marriage of Faith, her oldest niece, and Zeb, who she has been seeing for a while. Rose is called to go to the home of Charity Skells, a young mother of five who lost her last child, born prematurely. The Skells have had financial problems. Charity’s husband Ransom has recently gone back to work, but during her last pregnancy, she often went without food to feed their children. When Rose arrives at the Skells’ apartment, Charity seems to be having a miscarriage, but there is far too much bleeding for a first-trimester pregnancy. Rose rushes her to nearby Methodist Hospital, but it is too late to save her. She requests an autopsy to be performed, but it must be either requested by the police or approved by her husband. Rose successfully gets the autopsy to go forward through the police detective and friend, Kevin, who she has given information to in the past about murders. Charity’s mother, Virtue, had given her money to get herbs that could take care of her situation as she was still weak from her last pregnancy. Rose’s concern for the women in her care coupled with autopsy results and information she begins to hear from other clients indicate that someone is illegally performing “mechanical” (as opposed to herbal) abortions and give her some clues. There are several suspects, including Charity’s husband, suspected of having an affair with a co-worker. When an attempt is made on Rose’s life, she knows she is getting too close to the killer and must decide if she should leave it to the police to find who the killer is, and whether it was on purpose or very badly botched. This is a challenging, multi-faceted mystery that brings more women’s history to the forefront. I was surprised at the stringency of the Comstock Laws that made it illegal to even discuss family planning or birth control, much less give herbal preparations or use mechanical means for an abortion. I appreciate the frustrations of women in obtaining any kind of birth control and their medical providers who must keep silent. This is a challenging read, however, for anyone who is pro-life. I appreciated seeing a marriage and funeral conducted in the Quaker tradition along with how Rose practices her faith. I was somewhat surprised at the final events, including confirmation of who the murderer was. This is a well-written, thought-provoking novel, and I recommend it to anyone who appreciates historical mysteries. From a thankful heart: I received a copy of the eArc of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley; a positive review was not required.