Title: The Secrets of Midwives
Author: Sally Hepworth
Genre: Fiction | Women’s Fiction
Summary: THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?
Final Rating: ♥♥♥ / ♥♥♥♥♥
I won an Advanced Readers copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and was requested to do a review for it.
I don’t usually read books like this a lot. I haven’t read much chick-lit, nor have I read books that are written with women as their primary audience. Of course, I’ve read tons of books that tons of women have read. I do not have anything against women’s literature, although I do disagree with that title of the genre. It’s simply that women’s literature tends to focus on subjects that target older women for one; secondly, I enjoy lots of high fantasy and fast-paced action, and I have yet to encounter a chick-lit like this. I am not saying that chick-lits are bad. Nope.
This book was not bad, but it was not particularly good either. I thought it was, to put it accurately, meh. I thought it was very fast-paced, and I flew through it one day. It was a short read, and a lot happened in it, so it was never boring. But I felt like a lot of the midwifery stuff was forced in between the lines, especially towards the beginning of the book. Moreover, since the book was so short and it covers three perspectives, I thought that some aspects of the plot were very rushed. I’m not a fan of multiple perspectives in short books, because they skim over the seemingly unimportant details in favor of the main plot-line. Consequently, the book itself feels flat, one-dimensional.
While on the topic of dimensions- I felt the characters were bland. I didn’t like any of the three women this novel focused on. Why? Because they were so preoccupied with their “secrets” that we never really got important insight to their characters. I felt like they weren’t people; they were just midwives. I wasn’t invested in them, I didn’t care about what would happen to them, and they made some horrendous decisions that just seemed unrealistic.
The love-interest of our main character, Patrick, seemed like a cliché. This is usually my problem with chick-lits. They use a male love-interest as an accessory- someone that is just there as something to fall back on, something to spice things up, and that’s about it. Patrick was a dull character. Like the other characters, he had absolutely no depth to him.
The story itself was wrapped up way too quickly. There were some serious issues with the decision-making of some of the characters, especially the grandmother, but we were shown no repercussions, no consequences. Everything was wrapped up too nicely, too happily, and it just seemed unrealistic to me.
Towards the end, the book was dotted with grammatical errors. The sentences were a little too choppy for my liking, but I will say that Hepworth has potential to become a fantastic writer with such polishing. She has that economical, factual tone to her writing which I really enjoy. But for this particular novel, I think it would have been a much better hit if it was longer, if the characters had been explored more fully, if the story was a bit more realistic.
Having said that, I enjoyed the read. Like I said, it was fast-paced, and I flew through it. It wasn’t dull, and I do believe that if it found itself in the hands of someone who’s a mother, or someone who takes pleasure in such topics, they would certainly love it.
Unfortunately, for me, it fell flat in some places.