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The Midwife's Tale

(Midwife Mysteries #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,736 ratings  ·  406 reviews
In the tradition of Arianna Franklin and C. J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomas's remarkable debut, The Midwife's Tale

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,
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published 2012)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  2,736 ratings  ·  406 reviews

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Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Rosina Lippi
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
Nancy Bilyeau
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Katherine Gypson
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I liked the characters and I liked the setting, but this book pissed me off. The amount of misogyny and classism ingrained in English society at the time was awful. I appreciate that the author was trying to stick to historical accuracy by writing a heroine that was strong-willed and independent but also tied to the prejudices of her time, but... it was just so frustrating! It almost makes me wish that Bridget was much more anachronistic. (Or that the book was from Martha's POV, since Martha see ...more
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
Caly ☯ Crazy Book Lady
Fans of Veronica Speedwell or Mary Jekyll will love Lady Bridget and Martha. Earlier time period but no less enjoyable.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, litsy-lmpbc
Am I glad I finished this!
This could have been better - The book blurb really made this to be a mystery and the time period of the 1600 seemed like a great choice but the reality was that there was no real mystery and the characters were boring and spiteful, the misogynistic culture was apparent from the beginning and all the way through the book and I ended up not caring for the characters or what would happen to them which leads to a downfall in my interest.

I ended a lot up with a lot of disbe
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & 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
Mar 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
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.
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
It's no secret I love historical fiction that doesn't focus on royals. I love seeing women's work portrayed realistically, and heroines who have some oomph without being anachronistic. Sam Thomas' The Midwife's Tale might have a kind of 'yawn' title, but the book is wonderful.

Set in York, 1644, in the middle of the first English Civil War, the story follows Lady Bridget Hodgson, a midwife of means. (This surprised me at first -- I didn't realize 'gentry' had jobs like this, but what do I know?)
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas is both rich in historical details and mystery. I love books that I can learn from besides enjoying a great story. Bridget Hodgson is a well-respected midwife and gentlewoman living in York in the time of the English civil war in the 1644.

Bridget’s friend, Esther Cooper is accused of poisoning her husband with ratsbane. Bridget thinks that Esther has to be innocent; she is too kind a woman to even think of murder. Bridget has little time to find out who the true
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this historical mystery. The author, a historian, seems well able to write an authentic-feeling reformation-era voice. He also writes from a female perspective, which I appreciate. If you go to his website, you can see that he's done a lot of research into birthing traditions and law in the seventeenth century.

Bridget is a character that I'm interested in following. If Martha, her new apprentice, is perhaps a bit too conveniently talented at lockpicking and B&E, well, I can let that g
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
An historical fiction story taking place in 17th century England. I learned a lot about the role of a midwife at that time. They were employees of the government. They had the duty to find out who the father was of unmarried women. Their job was to make sure that the government didn't have to support unmarried women and their children. The government would then make the men pay child support. I also learned of the "caste" system of Ladies and Gentlemen versus workers. The workers were basically ...more
Sharon Chance
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Candy C
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
I ought to have devoured this book, but I didn't and I'm not entirely sure why.

The positives: It is very well written. It's set in a time period (1640s York) that hasn't been done to death. The characters are very likely far less anachronistic than in many historical novels. You learn a lot about the job of a midwife in 17th century England.

And yet 4 times yesterday I decided to sit down and read the last half, and 3 times I got diverted by something. Like checking the mail box and taking the re
Barbara White
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Risa Rispoli
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 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
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Midwife Mysteries (4 books)
  • The Harlot's Tale (Midwife Mysteries, #2)
  • The Witch Hunter's Tale (Midwife Mysteries, #3)
  • The Midwife and the Assassin (Midwife Mysteries, #4)

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