Book Review: The Midwife’s Dilemma
Written by: Delia Parr
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers as apart of their Blogger Review Program.
I seem to keep coming in late to these Bethany House series (this is book 3 of this series) that I’ve been reviewing and having not read the first two I feel a bit bad for critiquing this book, which wasn’t my cup of tea. But since I’m required to write the review as part of the review program I am in, I will just be honest about the things that just didn’t quite work for me and recommend that you read it for yourself. You may feel differently!
First, it’s historical fiction set in the 1800s, but this is not the Victorian elite of Jane Austen, it’s rural Pennsylvania. It reads more like a Beverly Lewis novel than a Jane Austen novel.
I personally have a hard time empathizing with things like the loss of her horse (even if it’s tied to livelihood in the way horses were during this time) or the melodrama of multiple character’s suitors, but I can appreciate a depiction of a single woman in this time period making a living in one of the only professions open to her despite burn out and doubt. The doubt and fear of the protagonist Martha as she navigates a lot of big decisions is the most compelling part of the novel because she seems to have more control over her life and future than most women of this time period. But ultimately the book fails to deliver a truly compelling character. Martha is not a likable character. The bulk of the book is devoted to her agonizing over marriage proposals and being irrationally threatened by changes happening around her. I’m fine with the thematic Christian worldview and how that grounds her, but I really wanted to see a stronger, more likable Martha that was a bit edgier. Not so much so that she takes herself out of the time period, just enough that she’s more of an Elizabeth Bennett and less of a biblical Martha.
It does seem like you need the first two books to really understand and like these characters though, so if you really enjoy Christian historical fiction, start at the beginning and you may feel differently about Martha than I did.