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The Birth House: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, October 9, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The characters in The Birth House are real people, people we care about throughout the story. These are the women we wish we had as neighbours, women we wish we were.
If I have one criticism, it would be seeing our heroine, Dora, in so many historical events. I was OK with seeing her help out at the Halifax explosion, but my credibility was stretched a bit when the small town midwife also helped in Boston during the Influenza epidemic in 1918.
All in all, an excellent read. I would recommend it to all mothers and mothers-to-be. (Wonderful to see yet another amazing Canadian woman author!)
A young girl, Dora Rare, moves in with an elderly small town midwife or 'traiteur' who claims that Dora will take over her birthing business. Marie Babineau trains the young girl in the ways that only tradition can teach.
The story takes place over a number of years, seeing the main character married, operating a birthing house and raising someone else's child. Dora is caught between the old ways and new, modern birthing practices. The story evolves slowly, deeply and emotionally.
As a fellow Canadian author, it is uplifting to see Canadian fiction so well accepted. I too write about Canadian locales, but haven't yet made it to the east coast in my books yet. Having lived in New Brunswick and traveled to Nova Scotia, I think McKay has painted a quaint and realistic picture of how life was (and maybe still is to some extent), with characters that live and breathe. Canadian fiction is alive and well, thanks to authors like Ami McKay!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to delve into the emotions and lives of small town Nova Scotia. But warning...bring Kleenex!
~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Author of Divine Intervention
I wondered though, at the accuracy of this book at times, and I do love to read historical fiction. I didn't pay much attentiont to the midwifery practices mentioned in the book, but I did wonder about the notion of doctors coming into the area trying to service pregnant women, and the role and perception of modern medicine.
This book really won't answer these questions as I feel it is more fiction than history.
My biggest problem with the book was the one dimentional characters. You have the wise "Miss B." who is the midwife, and she has more nuggets of wisdom than you can count.
Then you have the evil, money grubbing, all science doctor, who presents the conflict for the novel, and is never really shown as more than a quack.
Finally, you have the heroine, a misunderstood and trapped teen, who marries badly, is outspoken, and has some good and not so good connections with the community. She's a little more advanced in her femnisit thinking than I think most woman were, who lived on a mountain and is of age at about 1915.
As the writer's first novel, I think this is a good effort.
For a good afternoon read, you might love it. The best part, I thought, was the camaradarie of women.
If you want more history about either midwives or this time period, I think you will find this book lacking.
The Art of Midwifery
The Birth House gives an enchanting example of how the practices of traditional midwifery were passed on from generation to generation. Being a midwife, which means "with woman", was not and is not just about catching babies. In this story, traditional midwifery takes on a role for women that meets their needs and far exceeds the medical model of care. Miss Babineau does much more for the community than attend labors. Her wisdom abounds in many areas such as mixing up syrups and herbs for the sick that bring down fevers and soothe sore throats and coughs.
Politics and Society
Through this story we also see a political attack against midwifery and a societal misunderstanding of this traditional art. Gilbert Thomas, a medical doctor from a nearby town, continually threatens Dora and Miss Babineau with prosecution.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love style of writing, the time period and location. Wonderful reading with so much history and knowledge of midwifery of the time period.Published 13 days ago by kristy schellhaas
The history of being a midwife in Nova Scotia. Interesting on what some of the things that they thought would work handed down by ancestors, legend, or by trial and error.Published 27 days ago by gmd
My book club read this and opinions were divided pretty evenly. About one third liked it (don't know that anyone loved it), one third found things or characters they liked, and one... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chris 6000
Our book club read it and we all enjoyed it. Gave us a lot to talk about; medical care at the time and the strength of the women just to name a couple of things.Published 1 month ago by Meme
Beautifully crafted historical novel filled with the twists and turns of a full life lived. Really drew me in and kept my attention.Published 1 month ago by K. Roy
I suppose I should enjoy reading different types of books, but I found this one a bit odd.....it was just okay.Published 2 months ago by lsshrop