Shannon's Reviews > The Midwife of Venice

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
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Apr 17, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from April 17 to July 19, 2012

Roberta Rich weaves a tale of the challenges faced by Hannah Levi, a Jewish midwife, living in Venice in the 1500's. After her husband leaves in order to seek their fortune and a better future, Hannah is faced with a horrifying reality. Her husband is captured, sold into slavery, and held for a price. She, of course, doesn't have the money to purchase his release. Then, one dark night, rich Christian strangers appear in the ghetto. They want Hannah, who is renowned for her midwifery skills, to deliver a Christian baby. Hannah could be cast out of the ghetto or worse, tortured and killed, for doing this as it's against the law. Further, if something goes wrong during the delivery, which had already become almost hopeless, Christians might rise up against the Jews of the ghetto. However, an innocent woman's life and her baby are at stake, and the Christian father is willing to pay Hannah ... the exact price needed to free her husband. What will Hannah choose to do? Who will she protect? What rules will she follow? Those of the ghetto and the government or the rules of her heart?

From this point, the novel is written from Hannah and her husband's point of view. Historical fiction, mystery, and love story become one in this piece. While I liked the book and think it's a good effort by a new author, it didn't particularly challenge me, make me think deep thoughts, or encourage me to connect with the characters. It's a solid story but didn't make my heart sing.
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04/22/2012 page 125
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