This is the second book I read by Jolina Petersheim and I wasn't disappointed. The author didn't write a typical Amish romance book, she took a young lady in an unusual situation and wove her into an Amish world. Rhoda, the head midwife at Hopen Haus is forced to remember her past as Beth and the people she knew as one by one they make their way to Hopen Haus. She also has several pregnant young women that require her help that she is not able to devote all her time to dwelling on her past. Finally all the unanswered questions from the prologue are answered and the current problems are resolved allowing Hopen Haus to continue.
This book was rather unique. I'm not a big fan of Amish/Mennonite fiction because I think too often it doesn't depict the way things really are in this culture. To me, this was very true in this book. She calls the characters Old-Order Mennonites and yet, the fact that they don't have electricity, etc. seems way more Amish than Mennonite. The OOM I know all have electricity and telephones. Also, the fact that Rhoda/Beth was immersed does not go along with typical Amish culture. Most of them would not go against their standard ways of doing things because of the whim of one person. Things like that caused me to be a little turned off by the book. The story line was okay--rather unrealistic and while Rhoda was baptized in to the church, there didn't seem to be a heart transformation, which, unfortunately can be true of a lot of people, I suppose. Overall, it confirmed to me again that I will stay away from these kinds of books.
We are drawn into unique and interesting scenarios right away. The faith of the characters is stretched, and many surprises carry the story along, moving toward the emotional resolution. The characters are beautifully depicted, and the plot is intense. The point of view changes, so there are several people and two timelines to juggle. There is a lot of heart wrenching distress in this story, but the midwives, the babies, and the mother love are described so realistically that its worth it.
The Midwife is the second book I have read by the author and I found this book to be just as good as the first. In this story, Beth Winslow is a struggling graduate student who becomes a surrogate for her professor and his wife. However, when the couple finds out that their unborn daughter has defects, they want Beth to get an abortion. Instead, Beth runs away and goes to the Hopen Haus, a Mennonite home for unwed moms. There, Beth meets Rhoda who is the head midwife but Rhoda is harboring a secret. Rhoda provides the girls all the care they need except for one thing: she keeps her heart closely guarded due to past hurts she has not recovered from. Then, when two people come to Hopen Haus: a man named Looper and a hurting girl named Amelia, things seem to get harder for Rhoda. Will Beth, Rhoda, and Amelia find the healing they long for to fix their broken hearts? Who is Looper and what secrets does he share? I loved this book and could not put it down until I had read the last page. Another great story by this author.
In the first half of The Midwife was just slow for me. With the different people in the first person had me confused. Once I finally caught on I could not stop turning the pages. So many revelations that I did not see coming.
By the end of the book, I realized that it is a great read! So many lessons to learn. I continued on to read the Author's note and cried with her. Boy, do I know what she was talking about. Heartbreaking.