Review: The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas

Description (from cover):

‘In the tradition of Ariana Franklin and C.J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomas’s remarkable debut, The Midwife’s Tale.

It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the king and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who’s far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the lift of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.’

My thoughts:

Sometimes I find it really hard to get into a book where a male author portrays a female character in the storyline. For some reason, male authors don’t seem to get a woman’s character just right and it bothers me. Knowing that this book was written by a male author and in the voice of a strong female lead, I was a little skeptical about how well I would enjoy this book. I was completely surprised by how Sam Thomas got the female lead character just right and it amazes me on the amount of research he must have done into a woman’s world, midwifery. I am actually in awe and have resolved myself to not be so judgmental of authors stepping outside the comfort zone and trying something new. Bridget’s character in this tale is well-rounded and very captivating.

Bridget is a widow in the city of York during the civil unrest between Charles I and Parliament. York is being held in a siege and Bridget must go about her normal work as a midwife, with chaos all around her. Bridget is a go-getter type of lead female character and she has a lot of spunk and gumption. It’s really hard not to like her and want her to succeed in her investigations. When the husband of her friend turns up murdered by poison and her friend is set to be burned at the stake, Bridget must risk her livelihood and everything she knows in order to make sure justice is done and an innocent person isn’t executed.

This story moves with ease. I will admit at times it was a little predictable and I wasn’t so shocked with all the twists and turns as I felt the author intended. This book was a light historical mystery and I enjoyed reading it. In the blurb on the cover it mentions being along the lines of Ariana Franklin’s historical mystery series and I agree somewhat. Ariana Franklin’s mysteries seem to be more dark than this one was and I can’t relate this author to C.J. Sansom because I haven’t read any of his works. A good historical mystery rich in detail and kick-ass characters that left me hoping this was the beginning of a new series. I just hope that I am right!!

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  The Midwife’s Tale
Author:  Sam Thomas
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  January 8, 2013
Pages:  320
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my review.  I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas

  1. Just discovered your blog and love the layout! So pretty. Also love the shoutout to CJ Sansom in this review and agree with you – I always get nervous when a male author tries to write a strong female lead.


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