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The Last Midwife

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  4,229 ratings  ·  615 reviews
It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn't imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides.

But everything changes when a baby is found dead...and the evidence points to
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by St. Martin's Press
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Nikki Brungard I haven't read Bohjalian's book in over fifteen years but the entire time I was reading this, it read very similar. Ends a smidge differently. Painted…moreI haven't read Bohjalian's book in over fifteen years but the entire time I was reading this, it read very similar. Ends a smidge differently. Painted a beautiful picture of life in 1800s Colorado. Worth the read if you enjoy that era of history.

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 ·  4,229 ratings  ·  615 reviews

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Like my GR friend Susan, THE LAST MIDWIFE was pretty much a solid 3 Star read for me too until the very last sentence that came out of nowhere and as a complete surprise..... even knowing a shocker was on the way!

Set in a small isolated mining town in Colorado, Gracy Brooken's entire life story is told in bits and pieces throughout the book, (along with other principal characters) from the time she was born and given away to be raised by a midwife. Schooled from a very young age, Gracy is only

Diane S ☔
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderful characters and such an interesting subject. Childbirth, an accusation of murder, a trial and secrets exposed. The hardships and joys of women shared and supported by each other. Loyalty and love, desperation and pity. A novel about family, love for a child and husband, and loyalty to the woman whose births were helped by Gracy.

Such difficult times, when so many children didn't live past their third birthdays and many woman did not survive childbirth. We are so fortunate now. Options
Jennifer Masterson
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 Stars for "The Last Midwife". This is a wonderful novel about Gracy, the last midwife left in a small Colorado town in 1880. I keep saying historical fiction is not my thing and yet again I have fallen in love with a book of that genre!

Gracy is accused of murdering the son of a prominent mining family in Colorado. This not only threatens to ruin her career but it could put her away for life! Throughout the book we learn all about Gracy's career as a midwife, the secrets she keeps, and the
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
What just happened to a beautifully crafted novel? This was my first experience reading Sandra Dallas. I was wrapped up snuggly with the gentle prose that enveloped each and every page.....until we were heading for the home stretch. What should have been a 4 or 5 star rating soon fizzled like the unraveling of an old-fashioned grosgrain ribbon.

I enjoy historical fiction and am drawn, in particular, to stories involving midwives. Gracy Brookens and her husband find themselves in a small mining
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hmmm...I think the person who wrote the review for this book in the Denver Post was a bit generous. The story was ok. There was a twist or two, but nothing that truly inspired deep thought or surprise. My biggest frustration was that I think the author failed to capture the actual hardships of living in Summit County in the "time of mining." There was a considerable amount of redundancy in this book, actions and words of various characters seemed to be repeated many times over. A fair read.
Allyson Brandt
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
The characters in this book are really what made it bearable, as the story moved soooo sloooooowly. The main character, Gracy, was a full and developed character with a deep history that was revealed bit by bit as the story progressed. The end, while a good twist, was abrupt and sudden and left me wanting to hear more about it. After all, the author had (in detail) described how one would make coffee in a rural mining town multiple times...but then dropped the biggest bomb of the novel and then ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
A modern Bess Streeter Aldrich. What a lovely surprise.

The Last Midwife reminded me of an old favorite, A Lantern in Her Hand, both having elderly female main characters who totally won my heart. Since Bess Streeter Aldrich is one of my favorite authors, it's high praise to compare anyone to her.

When I pick up a Sandra Dallas book (okay, I've only read two, but so far...), the pleasant, slow-pace makes me go, "Well, this is one of those books I'll probably lay down after one chapter. It's
Carole P. Roman
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sandra Dallas writes about the women who won the west. She relates the stories of the people of the plains, the settlers who built homes on the raw land, everyday a fight for survival. Their stories are sometimes not pretty, yet she imbues their tales with courage, loyalty, and friendship- making their histories vibrant as the colorful, prairie sunrise.
Accused of a heinous crime, Gracy, the local mid-wife must choose between her honor or try to save herself by revealing the dark secrets of the
I enjoyed this book a lot the author spins a good tale with mystery though not my favorite genre, I survived and really liked it. I loved the historical backdrop of gold mining in the west and how people lived back in those days, especially the women. The ending I did I expect, but it didn't bother me other than being a surprise.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Novel read for book discussion group

Sandra Dallas knows how to tell a story that will resonate long after you've finished the book. "The Last Midwife" is no exception. Gracy and her husband Daniel live on The Tenmile in Colorado mining country. Daniel fancies himself a prospector but hasn't made enough money to keep them over the years. Gracy grew up with Granny Nabby, an old midwife who taught her everything she knows.

Midwifery is truly Gracy's calling. She prides herself on keeping women's
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
This just wasn't my favorite Sandra Dallas book. I felt like instead of weaving a story, she was using it as a platform for some of her beliefs. The characters seemed hollow and the ending was a bit lame. Of course, after being that critical, she still has a great style of writing that flows well and sucks you in. Over all, though, this would not be a Sandra Dallas book that I would recommend.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel and all the historical information about being a midwife in late 1800s Colorado. The manslaughter trial and the relationship between the midwife and her husband were both interesting plot threads. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I found the frequent reminiscences by the main character into her past kept pulling me out of the current story.
I really wanted to like this book. Ms. Dallas is a local author and I have liked her other books. However, this one fell a bit short. There was a lot of redundancy in this book. I felt that is was blah.
Sharon Huether
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gracy, a midwife in the rough Colorado mountains where ore mines were prevalent.
Gracy learned her trade from an older woman and was delivering babies when she was ten years old.
Gracy lost few mothers and sometimes the newborns were too weak to survive.
One day she was accused of murder of an infant she had not delivered.

A hearing was held, next the case went before the court and jury. She was acquitted. The ending was a bittersweet event.

Sandra Dallas's books, never disappoint.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Gracy, a midwife in the Colorado mountains in the late 1800s, is accused of murdering an infant. There are many secrets that the midwife is privy to when she is helping women in such intimate circumstances. In fact, the last sentence ends the book with the revelation of one of those secrets. There were many parts that I liked about this book by one of my favorite authors. I love the revealing of secrets, the life of a midwife, the descriptions of life in the mountains in the 1800s and especially ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: It is a book club selection.
SUMMARY: The story of a midwife in 1800s Colorado fighting prejudice while trying to do "Gods work".
REVIEW: Book club members do not read this review if you do not want spoilers before our book club meeting.

The fact that this was, in a manner, historical fiction made me hopeful. There were some interesting historical facts to be gleaned. The central mystery was mildly engaging but easily resolved (except for that ridiculous twist at that end).
Aug 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
So disappointed in this. I was really looking forward to hunkering down with a new read from an author I have previously enjoyed. (Persian Pickle, and others) I ended up just skimming through and giving up about halfway into it.

Basically... Way too much about the necessity of abortion. It seemed more like a soap box than a novel.
Ann Fleming
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is the first novel that I have read by Sandra Dallas. It is truly a book to be experienced. The characters are incredible people but not without their flaws.
I hated to say goodbye at the end of the book.

For someone who hates babies as much as I do, I sure do like reading books about midwives.

Maybe it is because at one time it was the only opportunity available for women interested in health care. Maybe it is because midwives aren't taking any lip from anyone. I don't know.

This story takes place in an isolated Colorado mining town high up in the mountains. The men here are miners, looking for the claim that is going to make them rich. They head out into the mountains in the summer for months at
Heather Moulton
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If asked today, I would totally prefer to deliver my baby in the hospital, by a doctor. But reading this book had me siding with the insight, experience and love of a midwife! This book took so many turns and had my heart hurting and hoping for the trials and experiences of these characters. As a midwife, keeping secrets was important, but once again, it almost ruined her life.
Katherine Jones
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don’t often read pioneer fiction these days, but when I do, I’m reminded me of how tenacious our early-settler ancestors had to be. In contemporary times, it’s easy to lose sight of the faith in God, in themselves, and in each other they had to possess in order to survive. For me, it’s the celebration of these themes, especially as their seen in women, that is the essence of Sandra Dallas’s novels. And the particular, hard beauty of them.

The Last Midwife has all these things, as well as
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
It was difficult to get involved in The Last Midwife because the writing is very awkward. After reading the first chapter, I stopped to check if it was a cheap self-published ebook which I'd picked up. Surprisingly, the author has written many popular books for a major publisher. To me the writing is self-conscious and often repetitive. Eventually I got caught up in the plot and was less aware of the writing.

In the late nineteenth century, Gracy is the only midwife in an isolated community in
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gracy Brookens is a midwife in Swandyke, Colorado. She has delivered hundreds of babies through the years. It is 1880, and most of the residents are employed by the mines, the labor dangerous and hard. Gracy and her husband, Daniel, have had their share of misery and difficulties, but their commitment to each other is strong. When the baby of the wealthy owner of the mines is found dead, Gracy is accused of murdering the child. Gracy is innocent, yet proving her innocence may be a challenge. ...more
Nov 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was really more of a 1 1/2 star book. And that's not really saying much, is it?

I've read some of Ms. Dallas' works that I've absolutely loved. And some I couldn't finish. I wish I could feel more consistent about her work.

This book was just sad. The topic was sad. The characters were mostly sad, except for the unbelievably perfect Gracy. The backstories were sad. The writing was anything but uplifting.

I had so looked forward to the next book from this author, hoping it would be wonderful.
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!
I liked this book much better than I had anticipated!
The title drew me in, as I have read and loved stories of midwives. In this one, Gracey is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town. It is set in 1880. She is compassionate, and forgiving. She truly has a gift for caring for women & babies. She is accused of strangling one of the babies she helps, and a trial takes place. There's a secret or two revealed at the end, one I hadn't expected.
This is a good read by Sandra
Barb Martin
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Gracy is the midwife the women trust in an 1880s small Colorado mining town. But secrets come along with that trust, and when a baby she helps birth turns up dead, there are folks who want Gracy to take the blame. Written in the warm style that Sandra Dallas has perfected in her many books, "The Last Midwife" is a story that unfolds slowly, perhaps like a quilt. I saw one of the reveals coming from a mile away, but the final reveal surprised me. I'm not sure how I feel about it, either.
Cynthia Egbert
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
This is a well crafted story that gives an interesting look at the small mining communities in our Colorado mountains. I loved the main character but that was the only character of much worth, except for her young friend, Mattie. I got really fed up with the fact that there was such a dearth of any worthwhile men and, what seemed to me, a disproportionate amount of men who were monsters. I just get tired of books that portray men this way.
Miranda Lynn
DNF after 125 pages

Booooooring. Just couldn't make myself continue on with this one. At first, the premise was intriguing, and I actually really enjoyed the main character's personality. But too long went on without anything happening, and I didn't find myself caring that much about any of the characters or what the outcome of the mystery would be.

Laura Jean
I did not find Gracy to be a believable character. Nobody is that forgiving and self sacrificing without being a total doormat

I also found all of the “ah ha” revelations (except the last) to be too predictable
Connie Sadowinski
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My personal thoughts...This is the first book I have read by Sandra Dallas and it won’t be my last! I loved the character development and couldn’t help but fall in love with Gracy. The ending came as a total surprise! If you like historical fiction, you may like this one.
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Play Book Tag: The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas - 3 stars 1 16 Apr 18, 2016 04:37AM  

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Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff
“Sophie Kruger had worked in a house herself, up in Middle Swan. But now she pretended she was quality. There were none so self-righteous as those who rewrote their past.” 1 likes
“Sometimes it seemed as if the burden of each death was added to the others until she was bowed under the weight of dead souls.” 0 likes
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