Monday, September 1, 2008
Midwife of the Blue Ridge
Review - Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins
Maggie knows her life is not meant to live happily ever after. As a child in Scotland, her father goes off to war, never to return, and her mother is killed when the English massacre her village. Taken in by Hannah, a midwife, she quickly learns the craft, becoming a skilled healer and midwife herself. But the villagers are wary of her, calling her Dark Maggie, and believing she is possessed of the Evil Eye. When Hannah dies of consumption, Maggie has no choice by to leave the village, again on her own.
Persuaded to sail to America as an indentured servant, Maggie faces four years of uncertainty as the slave of whoever buys her contract. After catching the eye of a ruthless English nobleman, she is saved when Seth, a poor farmer, buys her contract to secure help for his sickly wife who is about to give birth. Maggie soon finds a home and friends with Seth and Naomi, and finds her skills as healer and midwife in great demand. However, threats from Native tribes, as well as the return of the evil nobleman, threaten Maggie's newfound happiness. Can she truly have her own happy ending, or is she cursed, as people have believed all along?
First time novelist Christine Blevins has certainly started out with a bang! Midwife catches your attention from the first lines, and keeps you turning pages until the very end. Blevins creates a cast of characters that is lively and believable, and her heroine, Maggie, is unforgettable. Level-headed and wise, but with wit and spunk, and a big heart, you can't help rooting for Maggie through all her highs and lows. Blevins' writing is excellent, with the ability to transport the reader to villages in Scotland and America in such a way that it almost seems you are there.
Blevins also paints an incredibly realistic portrait of life for women in the 1700s. It was hard and full of danger, and Blevins illustrates both. At times the violence might be too much for some readers, but I felt it was justified to truly show the life Maggie was forced to live. The action is quick and consistent, making it extremely difficult to stop once you have started reading this excellent novel. I would recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction, and sincerely hope this is just the beginning of a long career for Christine Blevins!
Source: Christine Blevins