The Midwife of Hope River
Call The Midwife meets The Help in this debut novel featuring Patience Murphy, a midwife in the 1930s struggling against disease, poverty, prejudices - and her own haunting past - to bring new life into the world.
As a midwife working in rural poverty during the Depression, Patience Murphy's only solace is her gift: the chance to escort mothers through the challenges of childbirth. Just beginning, she takes on the jobs no one else wants: those most in need - and least likely to pay. Patience is willing to do what it takes to fulfil her mentor's wishes, but starting a midwife practice means gaining trust, and Patience's secrets won't allow her to let anyone in.
The Midwife of Hope River beats with authenticity as Patience faces seemingly insurmountable conditions: disease, poverty, and prejudices threaten at every turn. From the dangerous mines of West Virginia to the terrifying attentions of the Ku Klux Klan, Patience must strive to bring new light, and life, into an otherwise cruel world.
What the reviewers think
"From start to satisfying conclusion, it is a beautifully imagined novel, a marvel of a debut, rich with fully realized characters and events. This is one I'll read again, more slowly next time." Johanna Moran, author of The Wives of Henry Oades
"The Midwife of Hope River is a rich and deeply moving book that will pleasantly linger in your thoughts long after you've finished reading it. Patricia Harman has created such a striking and original heroine that pregnant women everywhere will be wanting Patience Murphy to deliver their babies." Theresa Brown, author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between, and New York Times Opinion Columnist
"I learned, I laughed, I cried, but most of all I was deeply impressed by the artistry of the midwife and her central role in women's lives prior to the advent of commercialized, institutionalized medicine. This novel will live in my heart for years to come." Amy Hill Hearth, author of Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel'
About the Author
After a decade living in rural communes across the US, Patricia Harman and her husband purchased a farm in 1974 with a group of like-minded friends in West Virginia. Here on the commune, they built log houses, dug a pond, grew and preserved their own food and started the Growing Tree Natural Foods Cooperative.
It was during this time that Patricia attended her first home birth, more or less by accident. "I was staying at a woman friend's commune when she went into labor and I ended up delivering my first baby," she's said. Soon after, Harman traveled to Austin, Texas to train with a collective of home-birth midwives. When she returned, she became one of the founding members of The West Virginia Cooperative of Midwives. In 1985, with her children, a yowling cat and her husband she traveled north, pulling a broken down trailer to begin her training at the University of Minnesota where she received her MSN in Nurse-Midwifery. She worked as a nurse-midwife for twenty years. She finished in 2003 when she began writing her first novel, The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir.
Patricia Harman will be answering your questions both about The Midwife of Hope River and her life as a midwife in an exclusive Mumsnet Q&A. Leave your thoughts on the thread and post a question to Patricia Harman.
Last updated: 10 months ago