The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles
Review Copy ~ Paperback
In the dark days of war a new hope is born . . .
Mary Vale, a grand and imposing Mother & Baby Home, sits on the edge of the Lake District. Its doors are open to unmarried women who come to hide their condition and find sanctuary.
Women from all walks of life pass through Mary Vale, from beautiful waitress Emily, whose boyfriend has vanished without trace, to young Isla, cast out by her wealthy family after her first year at university goes horribly wrong.
Awaiting them is Nurse Ada and Sister Anne who work tirelessly to aid the mothers and safely deliver the babies. But the unforgiving Matron and Head of Governors, Captain Percival, have other, more sinister, ideas.
As war looms the women at Mary Vale must pull together for the sake of themselves and their babies and Ada and Anne must help protect their patients, no matter what the cost.
My Review ~
‘The place regularly echoes with the cries of heartbroken mothers unable to keep their babies’
With The Wartime Midwives, we are introduced to the wartime unwed mother’s homes and the truly awful way women were treated in the era. There are a wealth of characters within the story. From the girls themselves, to the women on staff and the dark forces at work behind the scenes. As a reader you also begin to understand that the reasons for unwanted pregnancy is not always down to the loose morals of the female but complex issues such as lack of education/access to contraception or in the worst cases… rape.
‘It seemed ridiculous that in 1939 a young woman could be ignorant of the facts of life’
There are various social/economical/financial issues that impact the women’s ability to care for or raise their children. Which class tier you identified with, usually indicated the amount of options available to you…
‘Working class I may be, but I certainly know how to love and nurture a baby’
The sheer emotional power of shame is laid bear for all to see. I really felt for each of the women and wanted to reach through the pages (and the years) to offer some support.
A perfect title for modern day women to read, to gain some insight into the lives of 1940s women. Perfect for fans of Call The Midwife. 4*