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The Midwife of St. Petersburg Paperback – April 17, 2007
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About the Author
Linda Lee Chaikin has written numerous best-selling novels including books in the East of the Sun Series, the Silk House series, and the Christy Award finalist, For Whom the Stars Shine. She and her husband live in California.
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There is a reasonably good story line which held my interest along with some historical background. There is some romance between Katerina and Alex, some Boleshevik activites that affect several families, and some perspective on the lives of the Romanov aristocrats that contrasts with the lives of the peasant population. Found the writing was a little strange in some places with "poetic" phrases inserted where they didn't seem to fit and certain things repeated several times such as "the need for washing hands" with no real purpose. The title is also somewhat misleading in that it does not really focus on the midwife.
However, at the end of the book, there is no closure to anything! This is the reason for my two star rating. For me this is a "no go". It shows disrespect for readers. There are many authors who write book series... McCall-Smith, Jenoff, Laker, Follett, Ludlum et al... to name a few. But they know how to do it. Each book can actually stand on its own because the story is complete. They leave the reader wanting more and hoping for another book but not annoyed and dissatisfied. Chaikin fails to do this in this book. Instead she weaves a story and then drops it all at the end leaving the reader with nothing. And having looked at her website, there is no follow-on book mentioned leading me to believe she is just hoping that a publisher might pay for another. This practice shows more of an interest in her own financial gain and a lack of concern and appreciation for her readers who buy and read her books. I for one will not buy a Chaikin book again. I notice several other reviewers have noticed this same trend. Just sorry I didn't read these comments before buying this one.
I think that if you don't like the book then the least you can do is be respectful of her, and all the work that she does. It can ruin things for people who truly enjoy her work if everyone complains. I would love to see this series finished, and people who don't read her books are missing out on a great enjoyment in life.
It would be a VAST understatement to say that this book is LONG and drawn-out far beyond what is necessary. It seems as though Chaikin takes forty pages to write what could be done eloquently and efficiently in about five pages. That being said, she certainly pays close attention to detail, leaving no stone unturned - and no thought unrecorded. You do get a feel for the time period and setting when reading this novel. I suppose that attention to detail is the only reason I'm giving this book two stars instead of one.
The constant inner monologues of her characters are, I suppose, meant to create depth in them, but instead it comes off as long-winded and boring. The relationships, particularly the "romantic" one, also lack depth and believability. The "romantic" aspect of this book is nearly non-existent, highly contrived, and very disappointing. The plot, aside from moving ridiculously slow, simply dead ends without much resolution, which is also unsatisfactory.
I think that Chaikin is trying to make this novel the first in a series; my assumption is based solely on the lack of resolution in the plot, although nothing on the book jack or the back of the book indicates that a sequel is in the works. If a sequel is indeed going to be published, I will most certainly not be reading it; I couldn't finish this book fast enough, which is always a sign of a sub-par novel.