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    Available in PDF Format | Midwives.pdf | English
    Chris A. Bohjalian(Author) Kate Burton(Narrator)
"Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . It will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird." --People

With a suspense, lyricism, and moral complexity that recall To Kill a Mockingbird and Presumed Innocent, this compulsively readable novel explores what happens when a woman who has devoted herself to ushering life into the world finds herself charged with responsibility in a patient's tragic death.

The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby's life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if--as Sibyl's assistant later charges--the patient wasn't already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?

As recounted by Sibyl's precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives--and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Midwives, Chris Bohjalian's fifth novel, is the story ofSibyl Danforth, alay midwife in rural Vermont, and her daughter, Connie. The nexus ofthis cautionary tale isan emergency Caesarean section Sibyl performs during a home birth thatgoes disastrouslywrong. Believing the mother is already dead from a stroke, Sibyloperates and later findsherself on trial for killing the woman. The compelling story of hertrial and its aftermathcomes to us from Connie, who believes "this is my story, too." In fact,Connie's reaction toher mother's ordeal is to go to medical school and become anobstetrician. The book raisesprovocative issues about medical ethics and the limits of risk. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Review Text

  • By Dr. J. S. E. Sullivan-lyons on 8 November 2006

    One of the best books I have read in years. Gripping throughout, accessible, and well written. reasonably short, so you do not need to invest a month of your life finding out what happens. Unexpected ending, but perfect. Read and enjoy!

  • By ELI (Italy) on 12 June 2007

    A very entertaining book, speaking of a series of difficult decisions to be taken in a split second and against a further series of negative circumstances surrounding the problematic birth of a baby, delivered by an experienced midwife during a snowy night in rural Vermont. When things deteriorate, Sibyl, the midwife, has to take a crucial decision which will then lead to a lawsuit.This book certainly makes you think about how everything can go wrong if adverse fate interferes, but not only. It also gives rise to a crucial question regarding the choice between childbirth taking place in the serenity of a home or at a hospital, where everything would be "colder" but most risks could be kept at bay.With all due respect, I must admit I was really impressed that the author of this book is a male, as everything is recounted with such feminine accuracy. Well done, truly well done. A book to be remembered. I still do and I've read it at least five years ago!

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