“Call The Midwife for the 17th Century”
Lucie Smith is a respected midwife who is married to Jacob, the town apothecary. They live happily together at the shop with the sign of the Three Doves. But sixteen-sixty-five proves a troublesome year for the couple.
Lucie is called to a birth at the local Manor House and Jacob objects to her involvement with their former opponents in the English Civil Wars. Their only-surviving son Simon flees plague-ridden London for his country hometown, only to argue with his father. Lucie also has to manage her husband’s fury at the news of their loyal housemaid’s unplanned pregnancy and its repercussions.
The year draws to a close with the first-ever accusation of malpractice against Lucie, which could see her lose her midwifery licence, or even face ex-communication.
I am so excited to welcome you today to my opening stop on the blog tour on this gorgeous sunny Friday for another fabulous historical novel – The Gossip’s Choice by Sara Read
Thank you to Kelly and LoveBookstours for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book that I might never have encountered without her. It’s one of my favourite things about blogging that I’ve serendipitously encountered so many fantastic books and authors to write about and share them with other book lovers too.
These characters in this book absolutely spring to life and I defy you not to be moved by some of their predicaments. It’s not just a great piece of fiction though – it is a thought provoking and intelligent piece of writing that poses some big questions about motherhood, love and loss that would make it a perfect book club choice once the lockdown is over. I absolutely loved the character of Lucie and its civil war setting provided me with lots of food for thought and a fair few hours researching this period online after I’d finished the book.
I really did get caught up in this book. They do say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but Lucie’s story more than matched up to its gorgeous cover. One of my favourite things was the relationship between Lucie and the women she attends, and how their encounters allowed for a real trust to develop amidst all the lies, speculation and deception in the novel and in these times themselves. Its a real strength of the novel that despite the drama and twists and turns the characters in this novel remain absolutely down to earth and realistic and has you rooting for them as the pace heats up and things look pretty uncertain for them.
The Gossip’s Choice is a stunningly researched period read that had me totally captivated. It’s a moving and powerful evocation of life from a very different world as far as women are concerned, yet so many of its reflections on identity and motherhood are absolutely timeless and will resonate with so many readers.
The Gossip’s Choice is available to buy now – here’s the link
Check out what these other talented bloggers have to say about it on the Love Books Tour
Writer On The Shelf
Dr Sara Read is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research is in the cultural representations of women, bodies and health in the early modern era.
She has published widely in this area with her first book Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England being published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.
She is a member of the organising committee of the Women’s Studies Group, 1558-1837 and recently co-edited a special collection produced to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary.
She is also the co-editor of the popular Early Modern Medicine blog. With founding editor Dr Jennifer Evans, Sara wrote a book about health and disease in this era Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 (Pen and Sword 2017).
Sara regularly writes for history magazines such as Discover Your Ancestors and History Today. In 2017 she published an article ‘My Ancestor was a Midwife’ tracing the history of the midwifery profession for Who Do You Think You Are? magazine in 2017. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Freethinking programme and is often to be heard on BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio WM.