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The Midwife and the Assassin: A Midwife Mystery (The Midwife's Tale) Hardcover – March 15, 2016
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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“A determined midwife must solve a murder to save a friend from a horrible end. . . . Historian Thomas' fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwife's skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Everything rings true in historian Thomas's superb first mystery. . . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit's intelligently concealed clues.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Thomas' York teems with filthy streets and bawdy wine-soaked revelries. But nothing is more drenched in bloody, breathing realism than Bridget's life, and career. . . . Thomas does an admirable job keeping all of these balls aloft. He concludes with a satisfying twist that few readers will see coming. But as pleasurable as his mystery is, the true thrill here is Thomas' lively portrait of 1644 York and his unique heroine.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer
About the Author
SAM THOMAS teaches history at University School near Cleveland, Ohio, and is a book reviewer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He's the author of The Midwife's Tale, The Harlot's Tale, The Witch Hunter's Tale, and others. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published academic articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with his wife and two children.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sam Thomas's "The Midwife and the Assassin" is the most riveting, most harrowing novel in the Midwife Mystery Series. In the last novel, "The Witch Hunter's Tale," Bridget is forced to leave the city of York and return to her provincial life in the village of Pontrilas. Now, after having been stripped of her class status as a lady of wealth and refinement, she must endure the lowly status of a common housewife in the hustle and bustle of one of the world's largest cities, London. Bridget experiences culture shock upon arriving in London, a melting pot reminding me of New York City during its infancy. London is not a clean city; there is the lingering stench of horse manure in the streets. Readers will visit the infamous Tower of London as well as many taverns and brothels. Once again, Bridget serves as a midwife and quickly develops a good reputation at being one.
In fact, the first birthing that Bridget and Martha attend is one of the most gruesome, most bizarre in their careers. The pregnant mother, a midwife herself, is charged with murder. With Will's assistance, Bridget and Martha must visit numerous brothels during their investigation to save the mother from the hangman's noose. Solving this mystery secures their future careers as midwives and allows them to become close friends of Katherine, another midwife, upon whom they are to spy. During this entire time, Bridget suffers a moral dilemma. With each passing day, she grows to respect Katherine and her controversial beliefs while hating herself for gathering information that could be used to destroy her friend. However, Bridget realizes that the treacherous Mr. Marlowe has practically enslaved her with his threats of having all of her possessions confiscated by Oliver Cromwell.
Bridget has been plunged into a nightmare. She lives in a filthy, tiny apartment with one rickety bed that she must share with Martha. She doesn't know who to trust; spies are everywhere. (Bridget learns that spies are spying on the spies.) King Charles has been arrested and could literally lose his head if found guilty of treason. Indeed, this is a barbaric age and the author does an excellent job at making me feel as if I am living there. To make matters worse, Bridget misses her headstrong twelve-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; she was forced to leave her behind in Pontrilas. Mr. Marlowe refuses to allow Elizabeth to visit London. However, on a brighter note, Bridget is falling in love with Colonel Tom Reynolds who is also one of Mr. Marlowe's victims. Tom and Bridget share a history of pain and suffering from having lost family members; Tom lost a wife and son to war and Bridget lost a husband and two children to plague.
I have enjoyed Sam Thomas's best-selling Midwife Mystery Series ever since it debuted with "The Midwife's Tale." I've always been fascinated with the seedier, darker side of Puritan life. His novels take readers down the portion of Oz's yellow brick road that leads through the dark forest of harlots, witches and assassins. Oh my! Never has Bridget and her friends been in more danger and peril. I read the last one-hundred pages in one sitting; I couldn't put it down until I discovered the true identity of the assassin. There are numerous red herrings and strange twists. On several occasions, I thought the assassin had been identified and the rest of the novel would dwell on Tom and Bridget's budding romance, but I was wrong. The actual assassin isn't identified until nearly the very end and I never would have guessed in a million years. I can't wait to discover what evil villains Lady Bridget Hodgson will battle in the next installment of the Midwife Mystery Series.
Note: Minotaur provided me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
The series is based on history, but the stories are true to the period.