Last Minute Gift for Mom: The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
|The Midwife of Venice|
by Roberta Rich
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Not since The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.
Midwifery is such a fascinating topic and to combine it with interesting locales and by setting the story in a Venice overrun with plague and superstition you get one intriguing story in The Midwife of Venice. I honestly could not put this book down because the very first page told me that this wasn't going to be an average, everyday story. The rich details of the Jewish Ghetto Nuovo of Venice and the hustle and bustle of the island city of Valletta, Malta, came alive in the pages of this book.
Don't get me wrong this story is not a "light-hearted" tale but one of the struggles of a midwife, Hannah Levi, who wants to usher healthy babies into the world without being accused of sorcery or witchcraft by the wealthy Catholics of Venice simply because of the tools she uses or because she's Jewish. Hannah also has to deal with the possibility that she may not see her beloved husband again as he lost everything they had and was being held captive on Malta until his ransom is paid. I will admit I thought this story was going to end well but I was pleasantly surprised by the way Ms. Rich tied everything up giving the reader a sense of hope and happiness for Hannah in her future life that went along great with the rest of the story. I have never read a book set in Venice that was told from the side of a Jewish heroine so this was a first for me and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Roberta Rich in the future!
If you're looking for a last minute gift for mom this Mother's Day I suggest going to your local bookstore and checking this book out. I don't think mom will be disappointed nor you if you decide to give this book a try.
Note: Some strong language, violence and sexual content
To learn more about the author and her books visit HER WEBSITE
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
*I received my complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest review of the book. I was not compensated in any way.*