The Midwife's Tale (Midwife Mysteries, #1)
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The Midwife's Tale (Midwife Mysteries #1)

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,403 ratings  ·  244 reviews
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 innoc...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Minotaur Books
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Seduction by M.J. RoseThe Aviator's Wife by Melanie BenjaminThe Firebird by Susanna KearsleyThe Midwife's Tale by Sam   ThomasTemple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors
Historical Fiction 2013
4th out of 575 books — 2,248 voters
How the Light Gets In by Louise PennyLeaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline WinspearSpeaking from Among the Bones by Alan BradleyDeath of Yesterday by M.C. BeatonNever Laugh As a Hearse Goes By by Elizabeth J. Duncan
most anticipated mysteries 2013
7th out of 152 books — 559 voters


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Erin
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Sam Thomas' The Midwife's Tale is the kind of book you never see coming. You pick it up on a whim and before you know it you've been up half the night with your nose stuck between its pages. It is the kind of book I love stumbling across.

One my favorite aspects of this title appears in the Author's Note where Thomas' discloses the piece was inspired by the will of a real life midwife. His mystery is of course fiction, but T...more
Andrea Guy
I wish this hadn't been one of the first books I'd read in the new year.

No wait, not because it is so bad, but because it is so good.

It has all the elements of a great historical novel, fantastic characters that are set in a wonderful backdrop of history, oh and the most important element, the ability to make the reader want to learn more about something in the novel, in this case the practice of the midwife.

There was so much about this job that I learned about through this book. You might thin...more
Rosina Lippi
This is a well-written, carefully researched historical mystery. The English Civil War has put the city of York under siege, but babies are still being born and Bridget Hodgson, a midwife, must attend. She is also responsible for forcing an unmarried mother to identify the baby's father, and so she has developed some interrogation skills and insight into the minds of persons driven to the edge of reason. She has to draw on all her experience, understanding of politics and human nature, and consi...more
Nancy Bilyeau
The Midwife's Tale is a rich and suspenseful read, with an unusual protagonist, a well-born midwife widow. She has a lot of layers to her personality, and while a strong and resourceful woman she is not perfect. The setting of the mystery, a town in the North of England in the fraught times of English Civil War, is original and fascinating. I was often surprised and intrigued by the plot twists. I highly recommend.
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review AND Enter For a Giveaway right here, On My Blog!

3.5 out of 5

Sam Thomas is a historian with a talent for the fictional side of writing, which is much to the benefit of his first novel, The Midwife's Tale. With a clever plot that will keep readers guessing about the culprit until the end, and with a keen eye for the details of the period, this is a book that will keep its audience more than entertained until the last page turns. Politics, misogyny, murder, history, revenge and lov...more
Katherine Gypson
I don't think the jacket blurb does this book any favors by comparing Thomas to Arianna Franklin and C.J.Sansom. This is an adequate murder mystery with characters and a setting that show a lot of promise for future works - but this is not a book with the depth of other authors working in the field of historical mysteries.

I was particularly struck by the strange pacing - the whole book seemed to fly by but the tempo was off. There was no build-up of suspense or careful tracking of clues. There w...more
Barbara
I am an avid reader of historical fiction and was anxious to read The Midwife's Tale but I must say I was very disappointed. After reading authors such as Sharon Kay Penman, Elizabeth Chadwick, Susan Higginbotham and others I thought the writing in this book was below my expectations. The story takes places in 1644 in York, England and the leading character is a midwife and widow named Bridget Hodgson. She is rather wealthy and enjoys a good standing in the community. The author does provide som...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"The Midwife's Tale" is a historical fiction/ mystery tale about Bridget, a midwife, who gets involved in solving a mystery while the English Civil War rages on. I usually don't read a lot of mystery books but between the intriguing premise and the great writing, this is one book that I dove right into.

First off, I've read very few books about the English Civil War so this was new territory to me. I really think that Thomas did a great job of capturing the shear chaos of living in a place like t...more
Lisa
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book and it was fantastic! The characters are so vivid and well written, for example, "His ears were perfect for a man twice his size, and his nose seemed to be recoiling from the prospect of smelling his own fetid breath." Awesome, right? There are a few mysteries intertwining themselves throughout this book including a poisoned lord, a murdered infant, and characters with some shady pasts. All these plots culminate in a page turner of an ending...more
Margaret Sankey
Part of the excellent trend of historians writing novels based on their research, this is hopefully the start of a series. Bridget Hodgson, wealthy young widow and midwife, is trying to take care of her household as Parliamentary armies lay siege to the city of York. When a friend is convicted of murdering her husband and faces burning for "petty treason," Bridget wades into a morass of conflicted loyalties, cruel masters and other ugly realities of 17th century life. The highlight here is that...more
Mary
England, 1644. While the city of York is under siege, Lady Bridget Hodgson, widow and midwife, learns that her good friend Esther has been wrongly accused and sentenced for the murder of her husband. Bridget believes that her friend is innocent, so she and her maid, the tough and loyal Martha, set out to find the real killer.

I have been reading this book in bits and pieces every time I've gone to the bookstore, but when I saw there was a sequel coming out, I decided it was time to read it in it...more
LK
Read as an ARC through NetGalley.
A thoroughly enjoyable debut mystery set in 1644 York. Positive her friend did not commit murder, a midwife and her servant seek the truth in a city under siege by parliament forces. Author and historian Thomas adds fascinating (and heartbreaking) details about early modern midwifery and motherhood. I look forward to more from this author.
Sharon Chance
This book is absolutely fascinating. Sam Thomas has created an intriguing historical fiction with a thrilling mystery threaded throughout that is certain to keep readers on the edges of their seats to the very end.

This story, told through the voice of midwife Lady Bridget Hodgson, is captivating and fast-paced. The characters are full-bodied, with personalities that endear and charm the reader. I loved how Lady Hodgson is no weak woman to be fooled with - she is smart, creative, and confident i...more
~~Dani ♥ semi-colons~~
2.5 stars

I like historical fiction and should have been engrossed in this book, but it was so predictable and poorly plotted, I could barely get through it.

Bridget is a wealthy lady in York, England in the 1640s; she is a widow and a midwife. A casual friend of hers, Esther, is imprisoned for murdering her husband. Bridget believes Esther is innocent, and she and her servant and assistant, Martha, run around the streets of York solving the murder.

On the one hand, there were some interesting his...more
Lynn
Sam Thomas is a professor of history at an American University. While doing research in York in the UK, he found some old manuscripts and copies of wills that mentioned a highly regarded midwife by the name of Bridget Hodgson. Thus was planted the seed of this historical mystery.

Set in 1644 during the English Civil War, with Cromwell's Parlimentarians laying siege to the city of York while the Royalist garrison inside tries to resist, Lady Bridget Hodgson, gentlewoman and midwife, goes about the...more
Patty
All hail the midwife!

What a fascinating new character to build a series around; Lady Bridget Hodgson is a midwife in York as Cromwell's forces battle Charles I for control. But Bridget has more pressing matters to attend to - the many births she must attend, the unmarried, pregnant girls she must question and most importantly one of her friends has been accused of murder. Lady Bridget knows her friend is innocent and she sets out to prove it with the help of her new serving girl, Martha. Along t...more
Barbara White
A BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED HISTORICAL WHO-DUNNIT

As a Brit and a former history major at York University, I found the premise of this novel intriguing. It did not disappoint.

From the first chapter, I was swept along in the familiar cityscapes and the life of the heroine, a 17th century midwife who, despite being an atypical woman for her time, never felt anything but authentic. I am full of admiration for Sam Thomas and his ability to craft Bridget's voice. I also found the supporting characters wonde...more
Risa Rispoli
Murder, Mystery and Midwifery!

Three of my all time favorite things all combined in one book.

I am a Certified Nurse Midwife. Most books on midwifery really do not portray midwives in a positive manner. Or the writing is not readable as it is historical.

The Midwife's Tale is a well written book that pulls you into Lady Bridget's life and world from the first page.
I cannot tell you how much loved The Midwife's Tale. I loved the history and the deliveries. I esp love how Bridget is portrayed in a...more
Candy C
I loved this book! Bridget Hodgson is a strong woman based on a historical person of the same name and profession. Mr. Thomas is well versed in medieval history and the city comes alive under his skillful writing. His characters are well drawn and true to their nature ~ although both the reader and Lady Bridget are often misled as to what that nature is! In her duties as a respected midwife, Lady Bridget is often called upon for difficult cases or those others will not attend. She is a person of...more
Susan Snodgrass
Amazon recommended this book to me and I'm certainly glad they did. I just finished and already wish there were more by this author. I can compare it with Arianna Franklin's 'Mistress of the Art of Death' books, only I believe Mr. Thomas is a better writer. This book was written by an historian and it definitely shows. I very much enjoyed the historical aspect of this book, the customs surrounding midwifery in the time he has written.

The mystery was done very well, too. I had no idea whatsoever...more
Jennifer
I enjoyed this book so much! While I love to read mysteries, I am often frustrated with the stilted style that often can be found in the genre...like the authors are so busy setting up the plots that they can ignore character development, setting, flow of the story, etc. I certainly was pleased with how "The Midwife's Tale" held together both as a mystery and as an enjoyable read. I loved the historical details, but never felt like the story was dragged down by them. There were twists and turns,...more
Melisende d'Outremer
An enthralling read from start to finish - and I had to finish it in one reading!

A midwife and her servants at the centre of a murder inquiry during the siege of York at the time of the English Civil War of the 1640s. The characters and the city come to life in Thomas' tale of the every day lives of those citizens caught up in the political machinations of events beyond their control.

One gets a true sense of the lot of women of this period and for most their lot is a hard one. The midwife is an...more
Linda  Arnsdorf
This is a interesting story set during Charles II reign in England. The midwives, the setting in York (one of my favorite places) and the political climate are well done. Even though the clues of the mystery were set out, I was lost in the moment of reading and only vaguely suspected who committed the murder, I was not entirely surprised but did not work to solve the mystery myself.

Then at the end of the story, the author tells us that the midwife and her apprentice were real people that he has...more
Jessica Keener
Immerse yourself in this compelling mystery set in 1644, York, England, amid a time of social unrest and political shifting and dangers. At the center of this story that will keep you guessing to the last page is protagonist Bridget Hodgson, a midwife, widow and rich gentlewoman. Bridget's intelligence, skill at midwifery, and the author's ability to take readers into the most intimate chambers of women and childbirth, makes this a fascinating and fully satisfying reading experience. Also thrill...more
Anita
Okay, this is good but don't believe the cover hype of author Thomas being a writer on par with Franklin and Sansom. Mr Thomas has a loonngg way to go to get there. This is an enjoyable book but with nowhere near the complexity and style of our aforementioned authors, who write such powerful historical fiction that you are amazed anyone could know and convey so much in beautiful prose detail.
That said, this book is a nice read, the story credible and well done. The characters could stand a bit m...more
Craig
I expect the social details of this were historically accurate, but man, what a freaking awful, misogynistic culture this book is set in. I don't like it much when historical fiction places current sensibilities on characters who never would have felt such or acted so at the time, but this was just depressing. And I think it was actually focused on a bit too much here. Accuracy is one thing, but being constantly beaten over the head by it is another. Unfortunately it meant that the characters we...more
Margarita
Very nice! Bought my Kindle edition a few days ago.
The atmosphere is just perfect! Ever read those books where you can almost smell the air and hear yourself walking along the characters? Well, this one makes me feel like that :) Truly escapist in the good way. Measured doses of suspense, mystery, historicity.
Was it just me or is there a funny parallel with Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale? :) Now, literary critics, that is for you to tackle - issues of feminism/antifeminism, female dominance...more
Robin
I unexpectedly enjoyed this. It's set in 1644 York and follows the work of a widowed midwife as she tries to survive the tricky politics of the English Civil War. Thomas is a zippy and exciting writer who has great pacing and story telling skills, and he brings to the table a real interesting look at the life of a midwife and of women in general during this time period. The great story will make you forget you're learning as you read. One of the best historical debuts I've read in quite awhile.
Jim Mcfarlane
Sam Thomas writes historical fiction the way I enjoy it: where the mindset (know your "station" and stay there) and the setting (York under siege during English Civil War) are major characters who frequently assist or hinder the protagonist but are always interesting. For example, a midwife was licensed by the city and in return had to force an unmarried mother-to-be to identify the father (no name, no medical help) so that the father instead of the church poor fund would support the bastard chi...more
Maudie
Based loosely on historical York midwife, Bridget Hodgson, Sam Thomas spins a tale of birth and murder during the English Civil War. The fictional Bridget Hodgson and her maid, Martha Hawkins, prove to be skilled detectives at solving crimes of murder in addition to Bridget's competence in delivering babies and the mystery begins to unfold.

An enjoyable and well written tale greatly enhanced by the author's skill as a historian. I'm looking forward to my next Sam Thomas read.
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