It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn’t imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides.
But everything changes when a baby is found dead…and the evidence points to Gracy as the murderer.
She didn’t commit the crime, but clearing her name isn’t so easy when her innocence is not quite as simple, either. She knows things, and that’s dangerous. Invited into her neighbors’ homes during their most intimate and vulnerable times, she can’t help what she sees and hears. A woman sometimes says things in the birthing bed, when life and death seem suspended within the same moment. Gracy has always tucked those revelations away, even the confessions that have cast shadows on her heart.
With her friends taking sides and a trial looming, Gracy must decide whether it’s worth risking everything to prove her innocence. And she knows that her years of discretion may simply demand too high a price now…especially since she’s been keeping more than a few dark secrets of her own.
With Sandra Dallas’s incomparable gift for creating a sense of time and place and characters that capture your heart, The Last Midwife tells the story of family, community, and the secrets that can destroy and unite them.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a powerful, emotionally charged novel that will keep you turning pages even when you should have been in bed hours before.
“I guess I know more than she does, because the baby don’t come out of your foot.”
I dare you to read this book and not fall completely in love with Gracy. She is the kind of character that works her way into your heart and refuses to leave. I find that I am still thinking of her, long after the last page has been read.
Really, I can’t say enough good things about this novel, or the author’s writing. I’m struggling to find words that will do it justice.
What I loved: Gracy’s life in the various terrains and her midwifery skills, including the struggles she faced with weather and other folks in the community were wonderfully descriptive. I really felt like I was there with her, travelling the bumpy roads and helping these women through their birthing trials.
What I loved even more: Gracy is forgiving, kind and understanding, but she can also be as tough as nails, as one would expect a woman living at the time and doing the duties she performs would have had to be.
This story doesn’t waste time delaying the events that shape the story, and by the time the important stuff happens, it feels like a natural progression. This author has an excellent handle on language and her writing is smooth and flows easily. I was particularly impressed with the dialogue.
There are a lot of books out there, but few that I can find no fault in–this is one. Read it, you won’t be sorry.
This review is based on a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.