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book review: 'The Last Midwife"...

Friday, May 13, 2016
... by Sandra Dallas. Fiction, but so well written, with characters so thoroughly believable you think it's all true. The story oft a woman who was, as you have already figured out, someone who felt the calling to help women with childbirth, in a place and time when doctors were scarce. The medical profession was not an option for females, and men were not often trained or accepted/invited into the birthing scene. But women have been helping, supporting, assisting each other for thousands of years as the time draws near for birthing.

This setting is back in the 1800's, as the west was being settled, in a small  mining town. The couple the story is based upon moved several times, from Arkansas, to California, to Colorado. This woman, Gracy, had been raised and trained by a Granny (commonly used term for midwives) and was well accepted in her community as the best, most dependable/knowledgeable help for mothers as they would begin their labor.

She was accused of murdering a newborn. The community either chose to support her, believe in her innocence, or believe the accusers: the man who owned the biggest mine/employer in the area as well as a local man who was a 'trained' physician. The doctor had little birthing experience, but felt his medical schooling outweighed Gracys' years of hands on delivery.

I won't spoil it, but some surprising twists occur. Gracy seems to have a real gift, not only for assisting women with homebirths, but readily identifying who the father of the newborn is  as well. A good woman, kind compassionate, stout-hearted. Sweet story.

If other writings by this author are as well written, any of her books would be equally enjoyable. Dallas is a professional writer, having done well in the commercial world of  journalism, and has a number of other tomes to her credit.

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