Author: Chris Bohjalian
Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Contemporaries Ed edition (November 8, 1998)
Why I Read It: Saw it online and thought it sounded good.
Where I Obtained the Book: Local Library
Synopsis: "Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . It will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird." -People
With a suspense, lyricism, and moral complexity that recall To Kill a Mockingbird and Presumed Innocent, this compulsively readable novel explores what happens when a woman who has devoted herself to ushering life into the world finds herself charged with responsibility in a patient's tragic death.
The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby's life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if—as Sibyl's assistant later charges—the patient wasn't already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?
As recounted by Sibyl's precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives—and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.
What a fascinating book. I really enjoyed this story. I was dying to know if they would find her guilty or innocent the whole time. I did get frustrated near the middle of the book because I felt like Bohjalian was just stalling and I wanted to get to the verdict. It is a great story though. I love anything to do with doctors or babies or midwives. I have a Certified nurse midwife I use when I have my babies and I love everything about her. There is something about midwives and I think that Chris Bohjalian showed us exactly what makes them special. Bohjalian couldn't have picked a better ending either.
Even after I was finished reading it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Wonderful book.
Author Biography: Chris Bohjalian is the author of thirteen books, including his most recent novel, Secrets of Eden, which debuted at # 6 on both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind,Before You Know Kindness, The Law of Similars, and Midwives.
Chris won the New England Book Award in 2002, and his novel, Midwives, was a number oneNew York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, a Publishers Weekly "Best Book," and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. His work has been translated into over 25 languages and twice become movies ("Midwives" and "Past the Bleachers"). You can see some of the international covers on this web site.
He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and has been a Sunday columnist for Gannett's Burlington Free Press since 1992. Chris graduated from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.
This post by guest blogger Heather