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4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • ASIN: B001GVJBT8
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,771,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This beautifully crafted novel is set in 1981 when a midwife, leading an otherwise uncomplicated and simple life with her husband and daughter in rural Vermont, is thrust into a legal, moral, political, and ethical nightmare. It evolves around a split second decision made in a life and death situation and the aftermath of that decision.
An experienced and respected midwife, Sibyl Danforth, attends a woman during a home birth. When she realizes that dangerous complications have set in, she tries to call for help in vain, as a severe ice storm has knocked out the phone lines. An attempt to drive the expectant mother to a hospital only results in the car being wedged into an icy snowbank, as travel conditions were impossible.
Trapped in this isolated home with a physically fragile, expectant mother in the throes of a labor that will not bear fruit, Sybil struggles to do the best that she can. Unfortunately, her best is just not good enough, given the complications that had set in, and the expectant mother appears to succumb to the ravages of a laborious childbirth.
Under the belief that the expectant mother had died, Sibyl performs an emergency caesarean section in an effort to save the unborn child. She successfully does so, presenting the stricken husband with an infant son. Yet, the next day, her assistant, Anne, who had been present throughout the ordeal, denounces Sibyl to the authorities, claiming that the expectant mother had, in fact, been alive, when Sibyl had commenced the caesarean. Consequently, Sibyl is charged with manslaughter, and the political winds blown by the traditional medical establishment, as well as that of the legal system, threaten to tear asunder all that she holds dear.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tantilising 8 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best books I have read in years. Gripping throughout, accessible, and well written. reasonably short, so you do not need to invest a month of your life finding out what happens. Unexpected ending, but perfect. Read and enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"I used the word vulva as a child the way some kids said butt or penis or puke...it had an edge that could stop adults cold in their tracks." These are the first few lines from Chris Bohjalian's novel Midwives. Bohjalian's writing has the ability to stun the readers (as these lines did) and create vivid images with extraordinary description and ingenious wording. Using his gift of writing, Chris Bohjalian transforms a fictional world into a dramatic tale of justice and the unexplored world of midwifery.
After reading the first few chapters, the reader understands the basic background of the story, but the actual theme of the novel does not clearly surface until mid-way through the book. Through the eyes of a midwife's daughter, Bohjalian conveys the personal experiences of midwifery and of the court system. Using the daughter (Connie Danforth) as a guide, the author demonstrates the prejudice unorthodoxy faces and the non-equality of justice.
To succeed in putting the reader on a personal level with Connie and Sibyl (the midwife on trial) Danforth, Bohjalian uses "real-life" facts, experiences, and truth in his fiction. Midwives, attorneys, and investigators were all used by Bohjalian to help make his novel a truthful fiction. Through his work, it is apparent that he asked many questions and reflected the answers in his novel.
Straightforward yet eloquent passages fill the fiction. Bohjalian's book is superbly written, as the passages flow from the book into the reader's imagination. The book is well argued and the author clearly articulates the questions and answers raised in the novel. As a result of Bohjalian's unusual point of view and captivating narrative, his points and themes come across to the reader in streams of clarity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opinion and breif, attention getting review. 26 Jan 1999
By A Customer
On the chilly winter night of March 15, 1981, not even the most experienced driver was able to go onto the roads, and in a small house near the Vermont/Canadian border, something terrible was about to happen. Charlotte and Asa Bedford were going to have their second child that night, as home, with midwive Sibyl Danforth and her assistana Anne Austin. When Sibyl finally concludes that Chrolette has died from a stroke during her labor, she screams for Asa and Anne to bring her "the sharpest knife in the house." Remarkably enuogh, the baby lives through the emergency C-section performed by Sibyl, who has had no medical training. It wasn't until after the baby had been delivered and everyone in their own homes, that the question started to arise...was Charolette really dead when Sibyl performed the operation? The story is told my Sibyl's now grown daughter Connie, who was only 13 when her mother was tried for the murder of Charolette Bedford. Chris Bohjalian brings any reader of "Midwives: A Novel" into the story and makes them feel like they're living the life of one of the characters. Although not appropriate for all readers, this suspenseful novel will keep anyone who decides to read the book, up late at night until the last page of the book is read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a dedicated reader and is 14 or older. Even thugh the point of some things is hard to understand, "Midwives" takes the reader into a place where they feel like they were actually in the room when the C-section was performed, and also in the courtroom when Sibyl was tried. As you read the book, you learn tom grow with the characters as they go through what it's like to experience the aftermath and process of life and death.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read!
Midwives - I absolutely loved this book. I had to look Sybil Danforth up on Google because I felt sure she was a real person, the whole story came over as if it had actually... Read more
Published on 14 Jun 2012 by Glossy
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much court room action
I enjoyed the central precept of this book - what if a midwife were to perform a ceasarian on a mother, thinking her dead at the time, but then discover that there may be some... Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2012 by DubaiReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book is amazing, it is impossible to put it down once you have started reading it. I read this over 18 months ago but still remember the story and the characters vividly and... Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2011 by Daniella
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Fable
A brilliant book. Delivered in that same cool, compelling New England tone that made 'The Secret History' such a page-turner, this novel tells the story of a midwife on trial for... Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2011 by Frootle
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
A brilliant book, Mr Bohjailin has really done his homework. The characters are very tenderly drawn, the scenes are beautifully described, the plot is absorbing and exciting : i... Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Snail
4.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I bathed in the glorious Turkish sunshine. Had I read it at home I might have picked holes in some of the plot but being totally relaxed made me... Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2010 by S. Liveing
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most moving stories I can remember
Whilst this is fiction I believe the prejudice in America against "non qualified" midwives by the recognised medical profession is founded. Read more
Published on 15 May 2010 by LadyJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but lacks an authenitc voice
I enjoyed this story and unlike others did not find it dull. I thought it well paced and although the reader knows at the beginning what happens (the mother's death in childbirth)... Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by Julie Fisher
3.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
If you say something is akin to 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (which the cover of this did) then it had better be an awesome book, because you can't compare to that lightly. Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2009 by NB
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring!
Too long winded and poor narrative. It just kept going on and on. The first third was fabulous and I was so pleased I picked it up then once the trial started I simply lost... Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2007 by SJSmith
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