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.
What an astounding book! A profound story about life and loss and ultimately hope. A wonderful witness to the glory of God's master plan and his divine ability to heal the deepest wounds.
Petersheim has a unique writing style. Rich descriptive passages paint vivid images that add depth and vibrancy to a compelling plot. Unusual too, because the story is written in first person point of view. Pay attention to the headings and dates because The Midwife is told from different characters' viewpoints, both past and present. That took a bit of getting use to in the beginning, especially since some scenes were written in past tense and others in present tense, but once I got the hang of it, the words flowed until they built to an astonishing crescendo. Honestly, there is more than one gobsmacking surprise buried in this emotional tale.
There's also unspeakable sorrow as well. Experience has taught Rhoda to guard her heart and she has turned herself into an outcast in many ways. The broken pieces of her past mesh with the shattered ones in her present and turn into something so hopeful and good it defies description. An incredible read.
*My thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.