Emily-Jane Orford's Reviews > The Midwife of Venice

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
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Mar 21, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, first-reads, goodreads-giveaways
Read in January, 2011

Roberta Rich has a real talent to weave mystery, history and real life into one compelling story. The main character, Hannah, is a Jewish midwife. She's rather young for this occupation; but she knows her skill. As a Jew in 16th century Venice, she has to be careful whom she helps. When a wealthy Christian asks her to help his wife, Hannah is caught between her compassion for her Jewish faith and community and the desire to help someone in dire need. When she learns that this Christian will pay her enough to free her husband, Isaac, from bondage, she goes against her Rabbi's orders and helps the Christian. This is not enough, for Hannah finds herself caught in a web of deceipt, with death lurking at every corner and evil forces that threaten the life of the baby she saves at childbirth. Will she continue to save the baby from murder, from kidnapping, from a fate worse than death? Will she save her husband? Rich leads us through two parallel stories of faith and struggle. As we follow Hannah's tale, we also find ourselves learning about her husband who is held prisoner in Malta by the Knights of St. John. This book is a real page-turner. It is also a good lesson in history. Well done!

As a First-reads giveaway winner, the book I received was a proof copy. There were still some typos, which hopefully will be fixed before the final printing. There is one major error which really stood out. On page 258 - Jessica was trying to tell her sister Hannah that she loved her. Jessica said: "I love you, Jessica."

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is the author of several award-winning books, including "Autumn". She is a regular book reviewer for allbooksreviewint.com and prairiejournal.org
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