(Review) Once a Midwife: A Hope River Novel by Patricia Harman


Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow. 2018.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 512.
Source: Library.
Rating: Okay.
Audience: I’m not sure. World War II readers are not going to be attracted to this book. People who’ve read the other books in this series will be drawn to reading this book.

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This is the only book I’ve read by this author. So, I have cannot compare this book to the other books written in the series.

It is November 1941. Liberty, West Virginia. Patience Hester is a midwife. She is a wife and mother. Her husband is a veterinarian, Dr. Daniel Hester. They have four children. He is a veteran of World War I. He has made the decision to never participate in another war because of his combat experience. He is a pacifist. She does not agree with him. She’s concerned about his stance and what it will mean for their family.
The book begins days before the Pearl Harbor attack. The book ends in early 1943.

I was drawn to this book because of the midwife theme. The rest of the book was extra fluff.

Patience keeps a journal, mainly detailing the midwifery events. This journal is the background for the book.

I’ve given this book an okay rating. It’s not that I don’t like it. I did read it quickly. It just didn’t sweep me up in the people or story. It is a book that didn’t effect me either way. Daniel’s pacifism-I do not care. Hester’s response to Daniel’s pacifism-I do not care. Why do I not care? Because the book didn’t convince me. Daniel comes across as stubborn. Patience comes across as compliant.
Patricia Harman’s husband was a pacifist during Vietnam. She has the knowledge and ability to create a story about a couple going through this type of experience.

And, it is difficult for me to read a story like this and not have an opinion.
My paternal grandfather was a soldier during World War I. My dad was a soldier during World War II. My son was a soldier during the Operation Enduring Freedom. I have several other relatives who have served in different military branches.
I’ve not met a person who is a pacifist. I don’t understand them, but they are entitled to their opinion.
If the military aspect of the book was removed, Patience still came across as milky-toast. Is she just tired? That’s a possible reason this book is not a hit with me.


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