The Runaway Midwife: A Novel
Clara Perry runs away from her life as a midwife. Her husband is cheating on her, her daughter barely speaks to her, and her close colleague has recently committed suicide. On top of that, one of her patients dies in childbirth, and Clara is facing a manslaughter charge.
Clara changes her name to Sara Livingston and moves to Seagull Island in Canada. There, she pretends she’s writing a book while she processes her grief. She gets close to the locals, and soon she’s tied up in all of the provincial concerns and prejudices that plague a town of less than 300 people.
The Runaway Midwife is a story about women and the unseen trials they face in all walks of life. The story is told in an engaging yet subtle way. Clara/Sara is a deep and complex character. She’s strong, smart, and likable, and her struggles seem real and not just first-world problems. The other women on the island face their own issues, and the atmosphere in which their stories are told is breezy but not dismissive.
At the end, the author writes, “Women can’t just keep doing more and more, holding their chins high while crying inside.” Patricia Harman writes about depression, marital strife, childcare, women’s health, and women’s careers in a strong, kind, and sensitive way. While Harman touches on broader themes, she also tells a compelling story, which is what separates great books from good books.
William Morrow Paperbacks