Having just finished and very much enjoyed The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman I was really excited to get to the sequel The Reluctant Midwife and was happy to find I enjoyed it just as much. While The Reluctant Midwife can stand on it’s own I think the reader gets so much more in terms of character development and back story by starting with the first novel. The Reluctant Midwife again takes us into the world of midwifery but even more this novel is about life, hope, compassion, and opening yourself up to love and it will touch your heart in a good way. As a note I hope to not give away any spoilers but it’s a little difficult so if you intend to read the first one you may not want to read ahead as I can’t hide everything.
The Great Depression is still ravaging the country and Hope River is just a town of old country folk. There are no jobs and people are just struggling to make it day to day. So when Dr Isaac Blum whom Nurse Becky has been caring for since he went mute after his wife’s death says only one word – Patience – Becky knows it’s to Hope River that he wishes to return to and Becky looks forward to seeing her old friend Patience the midwife. Upon arriving Becky finds a lot of things have changed and Patience is married and expecting a baby herself and is thrilled to have Becky there to help with delivering babies elsewhere in the town. Becky however isn’t as happy with that as she’s never really been comfortable delivering babies like Patience is. She’s happy just being a nurse and taking care of people with illnesses or injuries. Yet she can’t turn down her friend or leave the women of Hope River with no care. So Becky takes on that job along with working as a nurse at the Civilian Conservation Corp and on top of all that still caring for Dr Blum. When a tragic fire hits Hope River everyone in the town will have to step up with courage and compassion.
That’s all on the plot but I do have a few words about the characters. At first I wasn’t sure about Becky but I think that was because I had liked Patience so much but it wasn’t long before I began to root for Becky. She’s a strong and independent woman who isn’t afraid to tackle what would have been considered a man’s job in terms of her nursing. She could take hold of a situation in seconds so it was kind of amusing to see how scared she could be at the thought of delivering a baby. Dr Blum – Isasc was another favorite character. We’re treated to his private thoughts and one can’t help but feel closer to him as his feelings unfold. Of course I was thrilled to see Patience was still a presence in the book even though it wasn’t a big one. What you feel most from these characters and the town of Hope River is the sense of community. These people are struggling through the Depression but they don’t hesitate to reach out and try to help others even when they don’t have much themselves.
If you’re looking for a story to warm your heart then look no further than The Reluctant Midwife. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Heather Henderson and she does a wonderful job of bringing the characters alive as well as the town of Hope River. Highly recommended!