Book 41 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read on July 14
The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
Summary (via the book jacket)
Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy - including the identity of the baby's father - hidden from her family and coworkers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it unbearable to let this secret rest. The more Grace prods, the tighter Neva holds to her story, and the more the lifelong differences between private, quiet Neva and open, gregarious Grace strain their relationship. For Floss, Neva's grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva's situation thrust her back sixty years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter's - one which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. As Neva's pregnancy progresses and speculation makes it harder and harder to conceal the truth, Floss wonders if hiding her own truth is ultimately more harmful than telling it. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?
I read this book in one sitting. It reminds me of a Hallmark movie because you just have that feeling that it's not going to get too out of hand and everything will resolve and be okay by the end.
I have a low tolerance for stories where I'm waiting for the characters to catch up or things could be resolved earlier if they would just TALK to each other. But even though I guessed the secrets pretty early on, I didn't mind because it became about how the characters struggled with their choices and the weight of those secrets.
The characters acted pretty realistically. I REALLY couldn't handle Grace in the beginning (at first I was concerned the soapbox she was on about home births vs. hospitals would be a theme of the book but it turns out to just be her character and it fits her) but she grew on me. The ending was melodramatic and I spent way too much time trying to figure something out math-wise before deciding to just go with it, but it was a good resolution for the story.
Overall, a fine way to spend a few hours but not something that will stick with me.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"It was all starting to close in on me. And I got the feeling it was only a matter of time before my secret came out."
"I was right, I realized. When I reassured mothers that it didn't matter how the baby came out, I was right. Right now, I didn't care if this baby had been beamed down from outer space. The special moment had happened. She was mine. And I was hers."
"When something is forced upon you, you have no choice but to deal with it. The uncertainty - the not knowing - was much worse."