Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: The Midwife's Confession

Summary: Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.
-- Mira

Over the past few years, I have seen Diane Chamberlain's books everywhere. Rave reviews for them are all over the blogosphere, but I also see the actual books every time I go shopping at Wal-mart or Target. I've been telling myself that I need to read some of them because they sound like the types of books that I enjoy (plus I just adore the covers); however, for some reason, I never picked one up... until now. I'm happy to say that THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION lived up to my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I was pretty much hooked from the get-go!

If I'm being honest, THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION kind of reminded me of a Jodi Picoult book. (I mean that in a good way!) There were very well developed (and very real) characters, enough of a mystery about certain events that kept me wanting to turn the pages, complex relationships between the characters, and some very interesting ethical dilemmas. It's a book that touched my heart -- probably because of the things the mothers in the story faced; however, it's also a book that made me think. THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION definitely shows the reader that things in live aren't just black and white. Rather, there are many shades of gray.

THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION is a gripping story about three long-time friends -- Noelle, Tara and Emerson. At it's core, this novel is a riveting and complex story about the lengths people will go to protect their loved ones. It wasn't always an easy read to me because I found some of the subject matter to be a little uncomfortable. The issues surrounding mother/daughter relationships affected me more than I was expecting. In addition, my heart just broke for all three of the female characters. I can't imagine losing a friend to suicide, but the thoughts that my friend was hurting so much and I didn't even know would be gut-wrenching. And then there's the whole secret thing going on that affected all three of the women (and me as a reader!)

It is evident from the first few pages of this novel that Tara and Emerson do not know many things about their best friend Noelle. When Noelle commits suicide, neither woman has a clue about why. As they start "investigating Noelle's life, they discover that Noelle had been lying to them for over a decade and keeping many secrets from them! As Tara and Emerson uncover Noelle's story, they discover many things about their friend that have huge life-altering effects on each of them and their families.

I definitely appreciated many things about THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION, but I think one of the real strengths of this novel was how Ms. Chamberlain chose to tell the story. The "mystery" is presented pretty early on in the novel, and the reader (or at least this one) is sucked right in. Since Noelle is found dead within the first few pages of this novel, there are flashback chapters which tell Noelle's story. In addition, there are chapters told through the voices of Tara and Emerson. I liked that the alternating chapters allowed me to really get to know and understand each woman (along with a few other characters.) And I absolutely loved how the story and ultimately the secrets were revealed in this way.

I'm sure you've probably figured this out on your own by now, but THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION would make a fantastic book club pick -- especially for book clubs made up of women. Since the story revolved around three women and the relationships in their lives, there are a lot of those female dynamics going on which my personal book club loves to explore. I have a feeling that you could discuss the characters, their actions, and their motivations for an entire evening. In addition, there is a reading guide available which touches upon many of the other interesting topics in this story. Some of the themes you might want to explore include guilt, forgiveness, mother/daughter relationships, friendships, secrets, loyalty, illness, responsibility, addiction, and suicide. Believe me... you won't have a lack of things to talk about!

I very much enjoyed my first Diane Chamberlain novel and I am looking forward to reading more of her books. If you are like me and enjoy women's fiction, then I highly recommend THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION.

Thanks to Meryl L. Moss Media Relations for providing me with a review copy of this novel.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow because Ms. Chamberlain has written a great guest post and I will be giving away a copy of THE MIDWIFE'S CONFESSION.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a great review - you really made me feel what must have been going on in this book! It does sound "gut-wrenching"!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've noticed that in a book, when a death occurs right up front, then you go back and get to know the person, it makes such a bigger impact. Versus a person doing their thing, then dying later in the book. At least for me. I've seen this book around. Thanks for the head's up!

bermudaonion said...

I've read 3 or 4 reviews of this book and every single one makes it sound like the book is quite a page turner! I need to get my hands on it.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have read several positive reviews of this one. And, I agree that the covers do make me want to pick them up. They are just so attractive.

Anonymous said...

I have this sitting on shelf, I'm really looking forward to it now.

Kristi said...

I am just about done with this one myself and am enjoying it also!

Beth F said...

I've heard nothing but good about this one.

Margie said...

Have read some good reviews on this one.

Just Mom said...

Your review makes me want to read this book! Sounds great!

MrsC said...

I was curious so I got this book and could not put it down. It was fantastic. Thanks for an inspiring review!!

Teena in Toronto said...

Just finished it this morning and enjoyed it.