SOURCE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
On the night I delivered Mercy Harris of a bastard child, the King's soldiers burned the city's suburbs and fell back within its walls to await the rebel assault.My Thoughts:
From the first line, THE MIDWIFE'S TALE grabbed my attention and didn't let go. This absorbing historical mystery is set during the English Civil War when the city of York was under siege. The widow Bridget Hodgson is a well-respected and influential midwife, and though there is heaving fighting all around, her important work in the city continues.
Bridget receives the shocking news that her friend Esther Cooper has been accused of murdering her husband, and after a sham trial, she's sentenced to be burned at the stake. Believing that Esther could not have done this, Bridget, along with her new maidservant Martha, sets out to prove her innocence. Bridget soon learns that despite her high station and influence, meddling in the affairs of powerful men is a very dangerous game.
THE MIDWIFE'S TALE is a beautifully written debut novel that I greatly enjoyed. Mr. Thomas created two strong and clever female characters in Bridget and Martha, and I loved watching their friendship develop. The secondary characters were well-drawn too, each one contributing to the intrigue of the story.
This book captured the political upheaval and historical details of daily life at that time. It also provided a fascinating look at midwifery in 17th century England. I was unaware of how far a midwife's duties went and the laws she was subject to. So interesting!
I was very impressed with Mr. Thomas' first book, and I'm looking forward to more. 4½-stars!
Review copy courtesy of the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.