Friday, September 5, 2008

Blog Stop Book Tour: Midwife of The Blue Ridge

Midwife of the Blue Ridge
Christine Blevins
Berkely Trade Paperback

I know already I'm not going to be able to do this book justice in my review. It's that good. I absolutely LOVED it. Go. Get. It.

Not only was Midwife of the Blue Ridge a departure from my usual reading, it was a departure from the 21st century. It's a great story of a woman who leaves her home in Scotland and enters a completely foreign place - and finds *her* place.

Midwife has the appeal of an old-fashioned adventure, not unlike Huckleberry Finn. But this is no children's novel. I have to warn you - the violence and anguish of pioneer life is graphically depicted, as real and raw as if I was seeing it happen in front of me. But this added in every sense to the effect of transporting me to the rugged and beautiful wilderness of the Blue Ridge, and the hardships that were a part of our American history.

Maggie was an orphan who found a home with a skilled Scottish midwife and learned the trade as she grew. When she was an adult, she got passage aboard a ship to America in exchange for four years of slavery in the New World. Maggie's beauty, wit and outspokenness are as much hazards as they are the tools she uses to survive.

There is a love story here, but you won't find the same story arc as in a traditional romance novel. And ... (see this is where it gets hard not to give too much away) ... the author does not spare her character with formulaic plot devices involving brave knights sweeping in to rescue her. And that's all you're going to get me to say. ;)

The historical details are deftly painted into the novel; at no point did I feel bogged down by facts. And this feat is especially impressive to me since the main character is a healer, so botanical and common names of herbs and natural remedies are sprinkled throughout.

I realized while reading Midwife of the Blue Ridge that I have a personal measure of truly great books: I don’t want to reach the end, but I am unable to slow my reading.

Get. This. Book. It is awesome. Truly. In fact, I might start reading it again. (So you can’t have my copy.)

To read more about the author, and to see what other bloggers are saying, visit Blog Stop Book Tours.


Blog Stop Book Tours said...

Geeze, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel. LOL

Thanks for sharing an amazing review!

Carolyn Erickson said...

Believe it or not, I tried to tone down my enthusiasm just a touch. :)

I don't think readers can go wrong with this one. Thanks for letting me review it.

Christine Blevins said...

Hey Carolyn!
Thank you so much for the wonderful, and very well written review! You have made this debut author's day! (You can tell how thrilled I am because I can't help but end every sentence with an exclamation point!)

I really appreciate the kind words. I wish you and all your fellow moms on this blog good writing -


Christine Blevins

Carolyn Erickson said...

Christine, I should thank you. I haven't read a book like that since I was a kid. It reminded me of the adventures I used to imagine. And I would write one like it myself if it wasn't so hard. :)

I hate to say it, but reading Midwife probably set my WIP back 10 years. Now I want MY debut novel to be that good. (Well, okay. I wanted that anyway.)

Serenity Now! said...

Well, you sold me! I needed to buy another book like a hole in the head, but what the heck...


Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with ya after I read it. Though it was graphic it REALLY helped me be able to visual what it was like back then. I thought Christine Blevins did a great job.

Farrah from...

Carolyn Erickson said...

Yes, Farrah! Me too. And maybe I feel just a wee bit wimpy when I complain inwardly about having to do laundry. :D

Heather, you won't be disappointed! In fact, I think you'll especially appreciate the main character's rugged individualism. And her snappy comebacks, lol.