The Secrets of Midwives

Neva Bradley always felt she was destined to be a midwife. Her hippie mother, Grace, and her no-nonsense English grandmother, Felicity (known as "Floss"), have both spent their lives helping women bring their babies into the world. Neva, too, became a midwife and enjoys her work at a Providence, R.I., birthing center, despite Grace's insistence that home births are the best option for mothers. But when Neva gets pregnant unexpectedly, her news will stir sensitive memories--and long-buried secrets--for all three women.

Sally Hepworth (Love Like the French) tells her story by giving voice to Floss, Grace and Neva in alternating chapters. Neva's determination to keep the identity of her baby's father a secret mirrors Floss's longtime refusal to discuss the difficult circumstances of Grace's birth. But all three women must weigh their desire for secrecy against the tight bonds of family, and the potential for healing if those secrets are revealed.

Hepworth's strength lies in articulating the emotional life of her characters, who emerge as three distinct, believable narrators. Floss's recounting of her early midwifery career in England is richly detailed, while the present-day New England setting sometimes feels a bit antiseptic by contrast. The minor characters, especially the men, are less fully fleshed out, but the story moves along at a fast pace that will keep readers engaged.

Perfect for fans of TV's Call the Midwife, this big-hearted family saga is both an honest emotional journey and a well-researched glimpse into the world of midwifery. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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