Friday, April 20, 2012
The Midwife of Venice...Review
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Not since The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.
I love Venice. I loved visiting that beautiful city and I love when Venice is the setting for a story, whatever the time or era. I'd seen this book and was intrigued. Unfortunately, it just wasn't one that lived up to my expectations. I liked Hannah, I liked the historical aspect of childbirth and midwifery. I didn't connect with Isaac nor with his parallel story.
The descriptions are vivid and the research well done, but the story fell flat. I ended up skimming most of it and I don't think I missed much.
Thanks to Melissa from Simon and Shuster for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Roberta Rich here. You can purchase your own copy here.