The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman
ISBN: 9780062467300 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062467317 (ebook)
ASIN: B01FD9RXFW (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
From the USA Today bestselling author of the Hope River series comes a new contemporary midwife novel.
Say “goodbye” to your old life, and “hello” to the life you’ve been waiting for…
Midwife Clara Perry is accustomed to comforting her pregnant patients…calming fathers-to-be as they anxiously await the birth of their children…ensuring the babies she delivers come safely into the world.
But when Clara’s life takes a nosedive, she realizes she hasn’t been tending to her own needs and does something drastic: she runs away and starts over again in a place where no one knows her or the mess she’s left behind in West Virginia. Heading to Sea Gull Island—a tiny, remote Canadian island—Clara is ready for anything. Well, almost. She left her passport back home, and the only way she can enter Canada is by hitching a ride on a snowmobile and illegally crossing the border.
Deciding to reinvent herself, Clara takes a new identity—Sara Livingston, a writer seeking solitude. But there’s no avoiding the outside world. The residents are friendly, and draw “Sara” into their lives and confidences. She volunteers at the local medical clinic, using her midwifery skills, and forms a tentative relationship with a local police officer.
But what will happen if she lets down her guard and reveals the real reason why she left her old life? One lesson soon becomes clear: no matter how far you run, you can never really hide from your past.
Clara Perry is having a horrible year. First, a good friend commits suicide. Second, she finds out that her husband is cheating on her…again. And last, one of her midwifery patients dies in labor and Clara is wanted for questioning about medical negligence and possible manslaughter charges. Unable to cope with everything crashing down around her, Clara does the only thing she can think of and that’s run. Not only does she run away from her husband and the medicolegal dilemmas facing her in West Virginia, she runs away from everything, taking all of the cash available in the bank, assuming a new identity, and leaves the country. She ends up on a small Canadian island off of Lake Erie across from Ohio. It is there that she finds the chance to find out what she wants from life and how she might be able to obtain it since she’s living as not only a fugitive but also as an illegal immigrant. But how can she truly find herself if she’s living a lie? Is it possible to run away from who we really are and build a new life on a shaky foundation?
I found The Runaway Midwife to be a fast-paced and entrancing read. Even though I was dealing with an increasingly severe migraine headache, I kept on reading simply because I had to know what happened next. (I did eventually wind up taking a break for a few hours to allow the pain medication to kick in, but I didn’t want to set aside this story even for a cursed migraine.) I enjoyed reading about Clara/Sara’s journey of self-discovery and the realization that the past might just come back to bite you when least expected. Ms. Harman incorporated so much more into this story than just run away from life’s problems, there’s an unsolved rape case on the island that has repercussions in the present, there’s an initial divide between the life-long islanders and the so-called “hippies” that have moved in and are interested in living off the land, there’s an environmental standoff when confronting development versus preservation, and then there’s the socioeconomic adversity of a dwindling population and what can be done to maintain the island and the islander’s lifestyles. This isn’t just a story of running away from life’s problems, it’s also a story about new beginnings not just for Clara/Sara but for the island as well, and a story of hope. If you haven’t read anything by Ms. Harman, you are sorely missing out. Her nonfiction, as well as her historical fiction books, are truly a delight to read (I’m not just saying that because she’s a fellow West Virginian either). The Runaway Midwife is a recommended read by this blogger/reader and I hope that you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did. Now, go out and get yourself a copy so you have something enjoyable to read this weekend. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed reading The Runaway Midwife and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Harman in the future.
About Patricia Harman
Patricia Harman, CNM, got her start as a lay midwife on rural communes and went on to become a nurse-midwife on the faculties of Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and West Virginia University. She is the author of two acclaimed memoirs and the bestselling novel The Midwife of Hope River. She has three sons and lives near Morgantown, West Virginia.
Find out more about Patricia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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