The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim

The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim is a story told by Old Order Mennonite Rhoda Mummua, who is the head midwife at Hopen Haus, and Beth Winslow, a graduate assistant doing her thesis on surrogacy. Rhoda and Beth come to grips with their past, present, and future within the pages of this story. This book appeals to fans of Mennonite and Amish Fiction.

The two main characters in the story are Rhoda and Beth. Rhoda won’t let anyone into her life. She delivers many babies a year but she can’t let herself feel for them or their mothers. She lost all hope the day her daughter was taken away from her. Beth doesn’t really let others in her life either. When she was younger, her mother left her and the rest of the family. Beth decided then that no one else would get close enough to cause that kind of pain again.

The main and minor characters are introduced in the beginning and every chapter reveals more than ever imagined about them and their lives. When the reader first meets Beth she is in college. She is a surrogate for one of her professors and his wife. Tests reveal that the pregnancy is not what they hoped for and Beth has to make a decision. When Rhoda is first introduced she is as broken down as Hopen Haus, a refuge for unwed mothers. Hopen Haus needs money for repairs and updated equipment but Rhoda refuses to ask for any kind of help or publicity. She can’t risk anyone discovering anything about her. At the end of the story one of the girls staying at at Hopen Haus is having her baby–giving birth to a new life. All the characters in the story have come full circle and they too are given a “new life” if they chose it.

There is a lot going on in The Midwife. I have to be general so I don’t give any of the plot twists away. The characters are learning to trust God through everything they experience. They find healing and hope. They also learn to overcome fear as they trust God and the path he is leading them down.

This story is told in first person. The chronology goes back and forth between different time periods yet it is not confusing or hard to read. There is twist at the beginning of the book that I didn’t see coming. There are more twists and turns at the end and I really only figured out one of them. There are several characters introduced throughout the story and most of them play a key role in all the twists and turns.

I enjoyed reading The Midwife. I wish I could have read it straight through but time didn’t permit that. I think Jolina Petersheim has a very interesting style of writing. If you read her first book The Outcast you know how well-written and intense that story is. The Midwife is not intense but it is very interesting to see how the author intersects all of the characters and their lives effortlessly. It’s written totally different than The Outcast but it is just as good. The Midwife is a book that is hard to put down and I would recommend reading it.

Jolina Petersheim Books 
The Midwife - read my review here
The Outcast - read my review here  

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers and The Christian Manifesto in exchange for my honest review.

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