The Midwife of Hope River- Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

I have to say that one of the coolest things about this blog is that sometimes I get free books.

I was asked to do a book review for Patricia Harman's newest book, The Midwife of Hope River (oddly it was a former birth student of MINE who works in publishing who asked me to do the review!- it is a small world).  I am so glad that she thought of me and asked me to read the book.  I usually just read trashy mysteries (nothing wrong with that) so this was a nice change of pace.

The book is fictional but written by a real life midwife.  Full of a wide array of birth stories (and a little love story) it is an amazing little piece of midwifery history, American history, and the stories of women.  The circumstances and customs surrounding birth change.  But BIRTH, it's mechanics and it's emotions and it's simple powerful beauty- that stays the same.

It was an amazing little book and I think you will love it too.

The Midwife of Hope River tells the story of  a fictional midwife, Patience, and her life, her tragedies, her call to midwifery, and finally the stories of the many women she serves.  She works in rural Appalachia amoung all different kinds of women, poor, rich, white and black, single and married, happy and miserable.  Through the stories about these mothers and families, Patricia tells the story of the time.

So often the history of women goes unspoken and unheard.  I love that this book tries to tell that silent story and does so through the power inherent in women when they birth.  

Honestly, the thing that struck me the most as I read it was how even though the book takes place during the depression and in a very rural area, it was amazing how SAFE the births were.  It is also pretty miraculous what a midwife can do with just a little knowledge and almost no medical equipment or training.

I realize that the book is fictional, but having read other books by midwives, I think there is a lot of truth in it.  People go on and on sometimes about how everybody should have a baby in a hospital.  But some of these midwives worked in the worst situations- no plumbing, no electricity, no drugs for hemorrhage, high risk populations and women who were poorly nourished, and they STILL had some amazing results.

This book also speaks to the calling that true midwifery really is.  It is so much more than a job.  So many women do this work that pulls them from their beds at night and the so often did it for free or very little. 

Another wonderful thing about this book was that I think it will bring some of the wonder and sacred power of birth back into the minds of regular people.  I read lots of birth books, but most people DON'T.  I am so glad that Patricia Harmon was inspired to write about midwifery within the context of a novel.  I hope that regular people who don't really think much about birth, will pick up this book, read it, and then think just a little differently about how we are born after reading it.  One of the simplest ways we can make change is just to slightly re-arrange the way that people think about birth (as pathological and medical) and make them realize that it can be a joyful dance between a couple and their midwives. 

This was an inspiring book.  I liked it so much (and I was sure that you would too) that I asked the publisher if I could do a giveaway.  And they said....

YES!

So- They have five copies that they are willing to send out.  All I ask is that you comment on this blog post in the next three days and I will randomly select 5 winners.  Not only would this be a great book to have on your bookshelf, it makes a wonderful little gift for a person you love. (Only shipping to Canada and the USA.)

Enjoy and good luck! 

(PLEASE- leave your e-mail address in your comment so I can get in touch with you!)

If you would like to meet Patricia Harman on her book tour, check her out at these locations.
You can also find her on Facebook-  

Comments

May said…
The Midwife of Hope River sounds fantastic. The birth junkie in me is rejoicing!
Rebecca Asheuer said…
Sounds like an excellent read! I can't wait to read it!
Mama Birth said…
Crap- leave your e-mail for me!
Rachel P said…
Oh! Me, me, me! :D rachel@newmoonbirth.ca
Heather said…
I have to read it if it has 'midwife' in the title! heather84062@hotmail.com
Anonymous said…
Definitely going on my 'to-read' list whether or not I win a copy. Aim7896@yahoo.com
Jessi said…
Please enter me! Jessi@knowbirth.com. It sounds interesting.
blossomgirl said…
I'd love the cahnce to win, but live in Europe. :-( Can I still enter if I agree to pay for postage myself???

(email: blossomgirl (at) xs4all (dot) nl)
awakeman said…
Excited to read this! amywakeman@gmail.com
Darla said…
Sounds like a book I'd love to read. I haven't read much in so long besides schoolbooks, it would be such a nice change of pace!!
Darla said…
Oops, here's my email:
scrufles @ my.wgu.edu
I don't even know what comment to leave, ha ha! I'd LOVE a chance to receive a copy and read.

njeosys at juno dot com
trish said…
I'm so glad you loved the book!

You're not kidding about midwifery being a calling. It's amazing that some women were able to live with midwifery being a job when they would often not get paid (depending on where they were practicing).

No need to enter me, since I've already read the book. :)

PS I read trashy mysteries too. I knew I liked you for some reason!
Cara said…
I would love to read this! cara_lowe@hotmail.com
Allison said…
yes, please! I'd love to read and share.
WE LOVE MIDWIVES!

timanzel (at) rocketmail (dot) come
patricia harman cnm said…
What a nice response to The Midwife of Hope River. Now you have to read my other books, The Blue Cotton Gown and Arms Wide Open: A Midwife's Journey, all contemporary and memoirs...but they read like novels. I wish you all well in the middle of the dark night. Patricia Harman, midwife and author.
Melinda said…
Ooooo....I need another birthy book to read! Especially while I'm pregnant with my second baby and planning my first mw assisted homebirth :) artemis_68@hotmail.com
Mama Birth said…
The author commented!!! Yes- as soon as I read it I knew I needed to read the other books. I will be grabbing them asap-
Thanks for stopping by-
Sarah
nancy said…
you did a great review which certainly inspires me to read the book...whether I win the give away or not! Love love love your blog!
Still see the miracle in birth after 39 years of doing maternity nursing and home midwife assisting.
my email is nsmithlc@yahoo.ca
Skye said…
I would love a copy, I'm looking for some good birth stories at the moment in the lead up to the birth of my first.
Skye said…
I would love a copy, I'm looking for some good birth stories at the moment in the lead up to the birth of my first.
Skye said…
By the way my email is skyefraser@me.com
Jeanette said…
I'd love to read this.
jeanette.albright@rocketmail.com
Rose said…
I would really enjoy this book, I've heard only good things about it!! I am very excited to start my journey to become a midwife and for the birth of my second child, can't wait to read it!! So excited!

banros4@gmail.com
Petra Naess said…
I think this can be good stuff for a midwife! follow your blog from far away in Norway! The book can be sent to a friend of mine in Colorado if I am the lucky one. petra.jordmor@hotmail.com
That'd be fun to read but I'm curious how much of her birth stories stem from true experiences or show accounts of true experiences. I'd be hesitant to get too excited about the "amazing outcomes" before knowing this as the book is a work of fiction. patricia_oreo@yahoo.com
Amy said…
Would love to read this book! Just read "Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife" by Peggy Vincent and loved it, now I am hooked on books about the amazing stories of births and midwives! I am training as a postoartum doula and reading these powerful stories of birth has made my passion for working with these women after this amazing time in their lives even stronger! Amybohan20@hotmail.com
Sonja said…
I would love to give this book to a dear friend's daughter who is a mid-wife and giving birth herself for the first time this fall.
Mrs B said…
I would love to read this book! Is it available on Amazon? mishka@brithbyheart.com
Alex said…
sounds like a great book!
jessicatelian said…
This sounds like a great book...I would love to read it!

sojournerstogether (at) gmail (dot) com
Anonymous said…
Sounds like a great book! I can't wait to read it!
Lisa C said…
Sounds like a great book

Lcurro@me.com
Laura Koch said…
This book sounds great! I have just finished "The Birth House" and loved it! As a doula who is headed towards midwifery one day, I am really inspired by these stories!
tonia said…
My midwife just recommened this book! I would love to read it!

tonialuscianna@hotmail.com
Jenn said…
I would love to read this! And it's great that she has others!
jennalene@gmail.com
Christina Pond said…
I have been wanting to read this book so bad!!! It looks AMAZING! Great review! graceisbeauty@gmail.com
Tlori said…
I would love to read this book...tloriklasen@yahoo.ca
Anonymous said…
I'd like to read this book too :) You were so right about the last book review you did. alina.pohm at gmail.com
Fire said…
This sounds like a book I would love to read. Can't wait!

nicoleallsup@hotmail.com
Joni said…
I would love to read this! I have a book review blog so I would review it as well! Jonilee73@yahoo.com
I would love to win!!!

Rah1515@aol.com
Megan Hutchings said…
OOOH! I'd LOVE to read this! The last fictional story I read about a midwife had basically ZERO birth in it - how do you write a story about a midwife without talking about the babies she's catching?

If I don't win this, I'll probably be buying the book anyway :)

tisadoll85 at gmail.com
Daphne Henson said…
I live in the rural appalachian region so combining that with birth equals amazing! I'm adding this to my reading list for sure! daphne_treeoflife@yahoo.com
Anonymous said…
Would love to have this book as my next read, sounds great! ...and love to be able to pass on these kinds of books to friends! britafrica@yahoo.com
Sara G said…
Sounds like a beautiful book. I'd love to read it! a_catholic_rose@yahoo.com
Anonymous said…
Oh, me me! It sounds amazing! afuquadendy@gmail.com
traveler said…
Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmai(dot)com
petite said…
This novel sounds captivating. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com
Vicki said…
Sounds great! Vmp3420(at)gmail(dot)com
Julia said…
Thank you for sharing this!! It does sound like a wonderful book! I have been looking for good books to read during my pregnancy and The Midwife of Hope River and the author's other books sound perfect!

julia.santerre@gmail.com
Andrea said…
Looks like a real great book that I can't wait to read! Thanks for the giveaway! akoehn9@gmail.com
Marie said…
I would love to read this novel!
mkr95@embarqmail.com
This looks like a great book. I can't wait to read it! katielilie@gmail.com
Anonymous said…
I'm fascinated by all things birth and breastfeeding. It makes me happy that Harmon chose to write this story as a novel.
zippitycritter1@yahoo.com
Unknown said…
I love reading birth books, and will be excited once this is out so I can pass it on to others as well. Thanks for the review, brooke (brookiev@gmail.com)
brooke said…
I love reading birth books, and will be excited once this is out so I can pass it on to others as well. Thanks for the review, brooke (brookiev@gmail.com)
Holly said…
Would love to read this! hjgscudero@gmail.com
Charloe said…
I would LOVE to read this!

charloe@hotmail.com
C. Beth said…
I want one! :) cbethblog@gmail.com
MelissaH said…
Pick me! Pick me!! melissahblogs@gmail.com
erin said…
This looks like an amazing novel! Adding to my list of books to read soon :) I am 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant and ready to experience birth!

eerohr@gmail.com
Crystal said…
Sounds like a great book! crystalcm@ymail.com
cait said…
I'm a midwifery student in Ontario, Canada and I would love to read this book!

Cait MP
Mary said…
Ooo I'd love to read this one! luckygal823 at gmail.com
Mary said…
Ooo I'd love to read this one! luckygal823 at gmail.com
My heart just went pitter-pat a little when I read you were giving this away, because it sounds awesome! cutiefruity at rocketmail.com
Anonymous said…
I love books! I love birth! 'Nuff said! ;)
Thoughtfulbirth @ gmail . com
Anonymous said…
I would love to read this! h s n o r r i s at g m a i l dot com -Heidi
This sounds like such an amazing book! I'm loving the topics with midwives lately. One of my girlfriends did a homebirth (11 pound baby boy!) and I find it so fascinating and love that so many women and going back to homebirths!

Laura Kay
laurabolin4@yahoo.com
mamabunny13 said…
This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com
Rachel said…
Oh this would be so wonderful to read!

rachelemrath@gmail.com
Sounds like a great read!
redhead_hollie@Hotmail.com
WoozleMom said…
kathrynhuff @ gmail . com
Dana B said…
The only thing I've ever won was a turkey when I was 8 years old (it was thanksgiving and my mother was thrilled. Me? Not so much.)
I am 12w5d and would love to read this book. Danabannigan@yahoo.com
ellie said…
I LOVE books like this, and I am SO in need of a good book right now!
Anonymous said…
I would love to read this book!

Trudy
onlyjustine at yahoo dot com
Staci said…
Would love to win this.
bishopstaci at gmail dot com
Marie said…
Would love to win! brooklyn.bost@gmail.com
Marie said…
Would love to win! brooklyn.bost@gmail.com
Melissa said…
I would love to read this!
melissagmeyer512 at gmail dot com
MK said…
Awww thanks for the giveaway! I would love to read this too :-D

kmmery at gmail dot com
Anonymous said…
Sounds fantastic! I'd love to read this and share it with my birth junkie friends.

mai swan at mac dot com
I would be so happy to read this!
I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! Thanks for being on the tour.
May said…
I was the first commenter, but my email is anothermod (AT) gmail(DOT)com
Milady said…
Hi there!

I have a quick question about your blog! Please email me when you get a chance.

Melanie