Monday, December 28, 2015

The Midwife's Revolt

Book 83 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from November 17 - 29

The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard

Summary (via the book jacket)
On a dark night in 1775, Lizzie Boylston is awakened by the sound of cannons. From a hill south of Boston, she watches as fires burn in Charlestown, in a battle she soon discovers has claimed her husband's life.
Alone in a new town, Lizzie grieves privately but takes comfort in her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams. Soon, word spreads of Lizzie's extraordinary midwifery and healing skills, and she begins to channel her grief into caring for those who need her. But when two traveling patriots are poisoned, Lizzie finds herself with far more complicated matters on her hands - she suspects a political plot intended to harm Abigail and her family. Determined to uncover the truth, Lizzie becomes entangled in a conspiracy that could not only destroy her livelihood - and her chance at finding love again - but also lead to the downfall of a new nation.

My Opinion
A strong start pulled me in from the beginning.  I could vividly imagine myself there and it was very much an "I'll stop at the next chapter...okay, just one more chapter" kind of book.

Then the poison/mystery things began happening and it made me uncomfortable - I wasn't sure if it was going to be too much foreshadowing and a super obvious culprit or if it was just going to be too long of a distraction when the person could've been cleared and we could move on.  Then Lizzie took on a completely different role and I was waiting for her to catch on to the true motives of one of the characters.

By the end the timing and rhythm felt completely off.  There was so much time spent on buildup and then the entire conspiracy unraveled "off camera" - something that important should be shown, not told.  Also, no resolution to Eliza's story was a letdown.

I loved the beginning when it was strictly historical fiction but felt the addition of so many other things jumbled it up.  It was still good but not as great as it could've been.  I will read the author again. 

A Few Quotes from the Book
"I felt damp and chilled, but my spirit was light as I nestled myself in my shawl. I had done some good in the world and felt myself no longer quite so entirely alone."

"The town continued to whisper, and I thought it was only a matter of time before whispering would turn to accusation, accusation to condemnation...As the Salem of our forefathers had taught us well, once such panic takes hold, there is hardly a fact on earth that can serve to dislodge it from the minds of men."

"Nowadays it is common to exaggerate the virtues of our "women of the revolution", of which I was one. Each year broadsides marking the anniversary of our victory, replete with caricatured renderings, make us out to have been stone statues of righteousness.
  But I am here to say that it was not the case. We were flesh and blood. We suffered great loneliness and loss. We felt the spectrum of contradictory desires, intensified by starvation of body and spirit. We felt drawn to unsuitable men. The temptations of improper conduct warred with parental whispers and exhortations. But it was not merely our virtue at stake. It was our place in history. We did not work for such a place, but we were uplifted by the notion. We hoped our stories would no go entirely unnoticed." 

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