The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim is one of those books that I passed over reading for awhile because I'm not a huge Amish fiction fan. I like most of Beverly Lewis' books, but I've found the huge surge of Amish fiction following Lewis' popular work to be largely cheesy, unrealistic, and poorly written. So I never jump to read an Amish fiction that's not by Lewis. However, the description to this book sounded so intriguing that I gave in and gave it a shot. The description reads:
"The story about a mother who risks everything to save a child not genetically hers . . .
The Past -- Graduate student Beth Winslow was sure she was ready to navigate the challenges of becoming a surrogate. But when early tests indicate possible abnormalities with the baby, Beth is unprepared for the parents' decision to end the pregnancy -- and for the fierce love she feels for this unborn child. Desperate, she flees the city and seeks refuge at Hopen Haus, a home for unwed mothers deep in a Tennessee Mennonite community.
The Present -- As head midwife of Hopen Haus, Rhoda Mummau delivers babies with a confident though stoic ease. Except in rare moments, not even those who work alongside her would guess that each newborn cry, each starry-eyed glance from mother to child, nearly renders a fault through Rhoda's heart, reminding her of a past she has carefully concealed.
Past and present collide when a young woman named Amelia arrives in the sweeping countryside bearing secrets of her own. As Amelia's due date draws near, Rhoda must face her regrets and those she left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free."
Now doesn't that sound amazing?! Well, it was. I wasn't sure what to expect when I read this book, but I was completely blown away. I figured out many of the "secrets" and "twists" early in the book (I think the reader was meant to), but then several that came at the end were completely unexpected and I didn't see coming at all. I received this book in the mail on Wednesday afternoon and had finished it by mid day Thursday. It was just that compelling. I literally had trouble putting it down. The characters were fully drawn and rich, the setting was beautifully described, and the plot was intricately laid out and intertwined the past and present perfectly.
Also, I have to add that the cover of this book is just gorgeous. I couldn't stop looking at it - so beautiful. I loved this book so much that as soon as I closed the last page, I immediately got online and ordered her first book, [book:The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter|16922991] (okay, I had a coupon and a gift card, but still, I have never done that with an author before). I'm counting down the days till I get The Outcast in the mail, because if the reviews are to be believed, it's even better than The Midwife. I hear she's currently writing a third book and I will be getting it as soon as it comes out! Jolina Petersheim is being added to my "favorite authors" list, and you'd be smart to add her to yours, as well. I'd recommend this book to any lover of Christian fiction - even if you don't like "Amish fiction".