Midwyf: Liza
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Midwyf: Liza

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The year is 1339. Liza’s midwifery skills are needed by the inhabitants of Hollingham. Knowing this keeps the lonely old woman going, together with the occasional ‘trip’ to her long dead husband and children. But she makes one mistake, and the villagers begin to suspect she is using occult spells to harm them. She tries desperately to regain their trust, but time is runnin...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published (first published August 17th 2010)
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Jean Gill
I would definitely recommend 'Midwyf' as an original take on medieval English life.

'Midwyf' is a 'warts and all' evocation of a historical period in which warts meant witches, and you couldn't trust even a baby to be untouched by the devil. Levy's horribly fascinating details of births, diseases and superstition are founded on her own expertise in midwifery and on meticulous research. I felt caught up in the alien world of the fourteenth century, in a suffocating English village, and if I had a...more
I enjoyed reading this novel. Medieval midwifery practices have been an interest of mine for many years and I have done some research in the area of midwifery and witchcraft. For me, this novel provided the backstory for many of the images I saw in my research. This novel is sound in its history. That said, there are some places in the novel that I feel more was needed stylistically. The first part went too fast in some places and I would have liked to know more about the characters' inner thoug...more
Brenda Rupp
I really liked this book! The midwyf Liza only uses her healing for good until a very evil man threatens her existence. Then she puts a spell on him.....that will be her undoing.
A very young woman wants a love potion so that a Monk will fall in love with her. He believes her to be practiced in the ways of men and women and after it is too late finds her to be a vergin. He doesn't want to be with her he wants to go back home, take off his robes and become a regular man again, but to go to school...more
Momma Bear
I downloaded this to my kindle the other day.. started reading it last night.. and could NOT put it down until I'd finished it. The story grabs a hold of the reader.. and you just cannot stop. The author has done a superb job researching the methods and medicines used by the midwives.

The storyline flows so easily. You find yourself immersed in all of the lives of the various characters in the story. With the main character being the midwife, Liza. Such a tight rope she had to walk every single d...more
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
This is a book that grips you from the start. It tells the tale of Liza, the Midwyf (medieval spelling) of the title and a short part of her life and how it intertwines with the local Lady of the Manor, Isabella and her daughter, Rosalind.

Valerie Levy has managed to give you the feel of what it was like in medieval times without trying to downplay the not so nice parts, but also not concentrating on them. They are part of the story like they are a part of life. It also shows just what a tight li...more
Valerie Levy has woven a fast paced historically accurate story around midwife Lisa who is practising the arcane and lonely art of midwifery in the C14. Vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft as soon as something goes wrong Lisa is also pitched against a greedy landowner who tries to force her out of her cottage.

Reading midwife Lisa really made me reflect on how every single person alive today probably owes their existence at some point in their family history to such dedicated women. We take...more
Kay Bolton
On the plus side, this was a gruesome subject handled well, with a nice underlying story to it. It did seem well researched and authoritative.

However, as a negative there were a whole host of oddly "hyphe-nated" words .... see how annoying that is? The hyphenation seemed to make little sense, being mid-line etc.,and I am wondering if this was some kind of formatting error - I will add a list of them in the Bug Bear/Errors section of the blog. From my own personal point of view I found it distrac...more
Jan 23, 2012 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
This is an awesome book, it was a quick read. The book follows Liza and the people of the village through a short time in the 1300's. I have always been interested in midwifes and even used them for the births of two my children. Midwyf tells of the practices used for various ailments and the solutions and explanations of some of the problems that occur during pregnancy and birth. Liza also helps the village folk with everyday sickness. It is amazing how medicine has changed through the years. T...more
This is the story of Old Liza, a midwife in the 14th century on the village of Hollingham. She is harassed at eh beginning by a man who wants the land upon which she lives, she refuses to move, places a curse on the man. She deals with difficult deliveries.

One gets a good insight into the dealings of medieval medicine. We also meet a handsome monk, who fathers a child on Rosalind, who is engaged to another man.

It was a fun read, and well done. The author did a great job of researching the time...more
I'm on a medieval kick,and this book fit the bill! Old Liza is a crinkly old lady who lives alone in a "cot" with her dog, cat and many potions. People in the village come to her for treatments and to birth babies. She has been well loved (though thought a bit odd) by her community until one action ostracizes her. There are politics, intrigue, a bit of romance (not sloppy) and a look through the peep hole of the nobility and the serfs' relationships. I found Mydwyf to be a satisfying read with w...more
Did you ever wonder what life was like to be a midwife in the year 1339? Fascinating story of a lonely woman who wants to take care of the people of her small town. She makes one mistake and the people turn against her suspecting witchcraft...I was intrigued by all the characters and intrigued by what life must have been like...the editing could have used some help (I almost called and offered) but get past that if you can and its a worthy read, especially for a first novel.
I only gave this three stars because I would have liked there to have been a greater focus on the midwifery of the time rather than a manor scandal, however, this was a great quick read and a well-written snapshot of the times. The characters are entertaining--Liza is completely endearing, and the ending surprisingly satisfying while still coming off as realistic.

I appreciated the author's note at the end and look forward to the next book in the series!
The first in a series of novels about midwives in England beginning in the 14th century. Midwives deliver babies, treat villagers, and are experts in herbal cures. The villagers are superstitious but they admire midwives as long as things go well, but when strange events happen they blame midwives
and acquise them of witchcraft.
Charlotte Jones
Midwyf is a really good read, a story about believable characters set in medieval England. Descriptions of the birthing practices are amazing, Dr Levy has obviously done her research, but she is a midwife herself so I suppose she would know. I don't know of any book like this, highly recommended.
I really enjoyed the realism of the book. It was also interesting to try to figure out the medical maladies of the various people in the village. The second half of the book was particularly engaging and I had a hard time putting it down. I can't wait for the next book!
I whipped through this book in a day and really enjoyed it. I had picked it up when it was free on Kindle. A compelling story about the lives of women in the Middle Ages, centered on an older heroine, Liza, the midwife. I hope the author is working on more stories.
Seemed historically correct with verbiage consistent with the times. Liza, the midwyf, was only one of several important characters in the tale and this made it a much more interesting tale. A realistic feel all the way through.
3.5 stars.

What a fascinating, and, dare I say it, spellbindIng tale of medieval life, midwifery, and treachery in 14th century England. Recommended for historical fiction and medical fiction everywhere.

As one who once longed to be a midwife, I found the book fascinating, even as I kept yelling things like, "Skin to skin!" "Give the baby to her mother!" Realizing also that wasn't done in the 1300s.
A very interesting read. The author has researched her subject well, but there is a good story along the way as too. Looking forward to the next 'Midwyf' book by this author

Loved this book it was intriguing reading about Midwifery in the 1300 and all the beliefs people had back then and how things have changed.
Different from anything else I've ever read. I was a terrific read. Looking fwd to more in the series!
Really good. Like "A Midwife's Tale" but in England in the 1300s. I can't wait till the next in the series.
Didn't like the ending, but overall very informative. and kept my interest.
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Valerie Levy holds a PhD in Midwifery Studies from the University of Sheffield. She has published in many professional, peer reviewed journals, and co-edited the 'Midwifery Practice' series of textbooks, which are still in use worldwide. Now retired, Valerie lives in France with her husband.
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