Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alice's Review: The Midwife's Confession

Summary: Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry. . .

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle-her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family-described a woman who embraced life. 

Yet there was so much they didn't know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives--and the life of a desperate stranger--with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit. Told with sensitivity and insight, The Midwife's Confession will have you turning pages late into the night.

Review:  The novel starts with the mysterious suicide of Tara and Emerson’s closest friend, Noelle. And everything, I mean everything is shroud in mystery. It had so many twists and turns, I had no idea what would come next. The Midwife’s Confession is told mostly in the present with four of the major characters narrating. Although each chapter is told in someone else’s point of view, the story moves along smoothly.

Two things really stand out in this novel for me, the first being Noelle. I enjoyed the Noelle chapters, they added insight from her past that helped me understand her better. Truth be told, I still don’t understand her fully. After reading the novel, I realize that above all, she was a woman who was too afraid to tell the truth. Who, in love, did something that was so unimaginable that her guilt consumed her. What upset me the most is that she took a cowards way out instead of admitting the truth to her two close friends. Even so, like Tara and Emerson, I can’t be mad at her. She was beautifully flawed.

The second was Ms. Chamberlain’s ability to write about relationships among women, specifically those with the mothers and daughters. I especially loved the relationship between Tara and her daughter Grace. I loved how they found their way back to each other after the death of Sam. He was the thread that tied them together. I was both surprised and moved how they reconciled. I thought above all, their struggles were the most honest account of a mother/daughter relationship.

This novel was perfect in about every way. There were some flaws. Noelle was far from perfect and there are a few holes in her history, things I thought should have been revealed to make the story more cohesive. Overall, The Midwife’s Confession is excellent: mysterious, sad, a page turner from the word She and a must read.

Final Take:  4/5


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