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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done
I loved this book which had some interesting themes being set as it was in a Cornish village at the turn of the 20th century. Violet is the untrained midwife who is fast becoming an anachronism, who brings babies into the world having lost her beloved daughter herself. When she comes across a sickly baby, who just happens to be black, she is drawn to her and adopts her...
Published 21 months ago by Angel

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A historic tale set in beautiful Cornwall
It's 1900, in Cornwall, England, twin sister's Bea and Violet attempt to work through their strained relationship. A severely ill orphaned child lies in a lonely cot. Her eyes hold Violet, how alike they are to her own daughter that has passed away. There's just one big difference; the nameless child is black. Regardless of her colour Violet claims the girl as her own,...
Published 24 months ago by AshleyiSee


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done, 6 Dec 2012
By 
Angel - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
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I loved this book which had some interesting themes being set as it was in a Cornish village at the turn of the 20th century. Violet is the untrained midwife who is fast becoming an anachronism, who brings babies into the world having lost her beloved daughter herself. When she comes across a sickly baby, who just happens to be black, she is drawn to her and adopts her as her own. Grace becomes the "midwife's daughter" and the book is the story of her growing up amid prejudice but loved by Violet.

I thought there were some strong female characters in this book, not just Violet but also Bea, her twin sister, was an interesting addition to the book and Grace herself was well drawn and convincing. In the main the story was well paced and had many levels to it without becoming so complex it was impossible to follow. The story made me think about the mother-daughter relationship and the way the condition of women and also our views about race have changed so much. The author clearly knows her subject well, and the birth scenes, though grim at times were convincing as were the parts of the story where Grace suffered injustice due to the colour of her skin.

The novel didn't necessarily have the ending I wanted for it but the characters stayed with me long after I had finished it, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written thoughtful story, 19 Jan 2013
By 
Champak "Hundalz" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
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The midwife's daughter is a heart touching novel which is about midwife Violet and her adopted child, Grace.

The story is set about WWI and life style of those days in Cornwall. Violet decides delivering babies in the time that doctors weren't affordable. In such a time, she comes across a black orphan baby girl and decides to adopt her.

The book shows challenges Grace and Violet are going through in small rural community of those days from Grace's childhood until shes a young lady. You can feel kindness and bravery in her childhood and how she suffers her color because of racism . As she grew up, she starts accepting herself and her abilities and new challenges ahead.

I recommand this book to those who loves reading novel in historical setting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THOROUGHLY INVOLVING TALE, 1 Oct 2012
By 
Mrs. C. Swarfield - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
This is an immersive and heart tugging tale which despite its title is as equally
involved with midwife Violet Dimond as with her adoptive child.

A middle aged widow Violet delivers babies as well as knitting and baking pies -
this Cornwall before World War I and not many can afford to pay for the doctor.
One day Violet is summoned by her twin sister Bea to the orphanage where the latter
works. Hovering on the edge of death is a baby which is almost identical in features
to Violet's own dead child - except for one crucial difference - this baby is 'negro'.

Overcoming her inital antipathy and braving censure and cold stares from her own
small community Violet embraces Grace as her own.

Growing up is for Grace a very painful process as she is very obviously different -
and Violet too is challenged in the process of raising Grace.

Patricia Ferguson - herself a former nurse handles her material for this novel with
remarkable sensitivity.

There is a flurry of developments in the latter part of the story and I found it
hard to put down. A sympathetic and psychologically acute novel - brilliant.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "No country where I will fit in...", 9 Feb 2013
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
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Violet Dimond, aka `The Holy Terror', is a redoubtable `handywoman' (unqualified midwife and layer-out of the dead) who has delivered several generations of children in the Cornish town of Silkhampton. However, her livelihood is threatened by new advances in medicine and laws which mean that unqualified women such as Violet may no longer legally practice.

Violet still mourns the loss of her beloved daughter Ruth many years earlier, so when she encounters a neglected young black girl in the children's home where her twin sister Bea works, she immediately decides to take her home, the Matron being only too willing to let Violet take such a "deeply unpromising" child off her hands. So begins Violet's new lease of life.

For most of her life the child, Grace, is not overly concerned about the reaction she provokes, taking the stares and finger pointing in her stride and blossoming into a confident and popular young woman. However, following a brutal attack by someone she considered to be a friend, she begins to question her identity and whether the attack would have happened if she was white, and it leaves her with a feeling that she has "no people for me to go to, no country where I will fit in".

The story is set in the early years of the 20th century and leads up to and beyond the First World War which has devastating consequences for the close-knit rural community but also leads to greater acceptance and new beginnings for Grace.

I loved this charming book with its wealth of believable and memorable characters. The locations are beautifully observed; from the cramped bedrooms in rundown terraces where Violet delivers `her' children, to the quaint little knitting and yarn shop where Grace begins her first job, the pages are brimming with atmosphere and character. Patricia Ferguson has worked as a midwife herself (albeit much later than Violet!) and more recently has written a number of Orange-shortlisted novels. On the basis of this one I intend to check them out very soon.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and moving story about war, prejudice, and humanity, 12 Oct 2012
By 
J. F. James (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
This is a book which addresses some of the important questions about life through a wonderfully gripping story, with believable characters and writing full of intelligence and dry wit. Ferguson presents life in all its amazing, painful complexity, with no simplistic sorting into heroes and villains. Joe, injured on the muddy battle-fields of France, can't abide the French, but looks at black Grace and sees a real and beautiful girl. Violet, in early twentieth century Cornwall, hasn't had the benefit of a modern midwifery training, but she brings unsentimental kindness and good sense to her work, unlike the better-qualified woman who replaces her. Grace,her adopted daughter, struggles with being the only black child in her community, and through her eyes we see the wide range of human responses to difference, from the older girls at school who see her as a thrilling novelty, through thoughtless unkindness, to the man who uses her colour as an excuse to behave as though she were less than human.
The "whole mad disaster" of the First World War is the background to the events of Grace's growing up, where horror and violence can occur in women's domestic lives as well as to men on the battlefield, and tragedy can result from apparently small things - a failure of a mother's love, a man's abandonment of his responsibilities. Yet there is also a great deal of humour and warmth in the book,and as always,Ferguson's use of language is a constant delight. The story itself will make you need to know what happens, but the thing I love most is Ferguson's refusal to shy away from the uncomfortable or complicated - that we all have our prejudices, and the capacity to behave badly in some situations - and while we condemn the pointlessness of war, we can be stirred by the glory of Shakespeare's Henry V, crying "God for Harry, England and St George!" Only if we can allow ourselves to recognise this, can there be any hope of a "post-war" understanding. The novel leaves us with questions as relevant today as they were in 1918.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderfully engaging book, 13 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
This book was hugely enjoyed by our book group. Patricia Ferguson weaves a marvellous tale; her writing is superb with wonderfully descriptive passages that really conjure up the atmosphere and culture of the time and gently draws the reader in to her fabulous array of characters.

But it's not a 'soft' read and as others reviewers have said, the plot explores a range of significant issues. It stimulated one of the liveliest discussions we've had in our group and we (all women) loved the descriptions of the work of the 'midwife' in the tale - and were mightily pleased that we all had children many decades later!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb evocation of its time, 11 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
This is a wonderful story, very readable, good on the history. While enjoying the story itself, you pick up on how midwifery was practised and changing in the period (early 20th century) , on social attitudes towards women, and towards anyone who is different. Gracie (the midwife's daughter of the title) doesn't realise for a while that others viewed her as different along with the children who were physically disabled (a boy with a club foot), had learning difficulties, or were 'not like the rest' in any way - she was coloured - but hadn't seen herself as the same as this other group ... gradually, she does.

And then, after a bad fright that leads to tragedy, as she recovers, she deals with it ... but is her tragic end also a consequence of her difference, of her colour? That's not stated... it is implied ...

An affectionately told story, very real, pleasing, and not pushing a contrast between the 'ignorant' past and us who are more enlightened ... I shall be looking for more of Patricia Ferguson's novels.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and important book, 27 Sep 2012
By 
J. S. Sykes (u.k.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
The Midwife's Daughter is a beautifully-written, engaging and moving story set during the early years of the twentieth century. Through its characters, mainly female, we see both the strength and the fragility of human life.
Violet, the midwife of the title, is one of those community midwives, in the old sense, the village woman who is sent for when your time comes. But times are changing, the old ways becoming obsolete...
The story widens to focus on Grace, Violet's adopted daughter. The adoption seems at first unlikely, but some deep recognition links the two together.
Through Grace's childhood we see the vitality of everyday life, security, affection, kindness, bravery, and charming domestic detail.Grace suffers from the prejudice she meets in her local rural community, and the questioning and self-doubt that results from it.
As Grace becomes a young woman she achieves self-acceptance, and is able to recognise and develop her own abilities. Then her exotic beauty causes unwanted attention, and a powerfully-written near-rape scene.
The characters in The Midwife's Daughter are written with great sensitivity and humanity and yes, you would read Patricia Ferguson for the beauty of her sentences.
This is a novel that reaches beyond the midwifery of the title. Its climax is a tragedy, shocking in its suddeness. And, in the final chapter, a telling parallel that leaves you thinking beyond the end of the book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A historic tale set in beautiful Cornwall, 28 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Midwife's Daughter (Paperback)
It's 1900, in Cornwall, England, twin sister's Bea and Violet attempt to work through their strained relationship. A severely ill orphaned child lies in a lonely cot. Her eyes hold Violet, how alike they are to her own daughter that has passed away. There's just one big difference; the nameless child is black. Regardless of her colour Violet claims the girl as her own, raising her along the seaside.

Christened as Grace, she grows up in a racist world, praying to God that he turn her skin white. Time passes as Violet and Grace age. History evolves around them as they redefine the structure of family during a period of war and medical progression. Love knows no colour in this beautiful historical novel.

Although not a YA novel, this book was given to me for an honest review. Thus I'm making a onetime exception (although throughout the middle of the book Grace is a teenager - classic YA?). I am a fan of historical fiction and the book is fantastically written. With accents and language that bring the reader across any ocean to Cornwall, Ferguson has clearly down her research. Touching on sensitive topics as race and class, The Midwife's Daughter will make you think about the past and how the future has progressed.

The Midwife's Daughter hits stores today! Buy your copy now!

I was given this book as an ARC from Penguin Books, many thanks to the marketing and publicity team at Penguin Books UK!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Make a fantastic film!, 16 July 2014
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This is a tale with a twist! You get a great feel for the main characters-and the bonds they all have.you are whisked back in time to a era where modern medicine did not exist. The story has you laughing,crying and realising how things were so very different back then.
Really enjoyed it. Sad ending-makes you think!
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The Midwife's Daughter
The Midwife's Daughter by Patricia Ferguson (Paperback - 27 Sep 2012)
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