The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard

Lizzie has only been married a brief time before her husband heads out to fight for The Cause (being the independence of the colonies!). After his death, she finds herself alone on their plot of farmland. Grief takes its toll on her and her land, but comfort comes in the form of neighbors, chiefly the eminent Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams. The two embark on a lifelong friendship as Lizzie begins to feel she is part of the neighborhood. Lizzie also resumes her work as a midwife in this new community, aiding mothers before, during, and after birth, and attending those who are ill. Soon enough, Abigail insists Lizzie must have help on her homestead, and recommends Martha as a servant, although the bond between the three resembles sisterhood after a short time together. Along with Martha’s arrival comes more news of the war, on their very doorstep it seems! A vibrant cast of characters, all of whom exhibit a remarkable capacity for change throughout the course of the novel, revolve around Lizzie and her fight for The Cause. Daynard has written a compelling and hopeful book about a dark and dangerous time in American history. She has peopled her story with characters real and imagined, and given all of them depth. The complex relationship between Lizzie and her women friends, particularly Martha and Lizzie’s sister-in-law Eliza, fill the novel with heart and warmth and many pleasing and surprising twists. Although the dialogue tends toward the archaic at times, as do the often-infuriating manners of the day, it is written true to its time and subject matter. As Lizzie heals and grows, she opens her heart to the secret child of a close friend and eventually to a man who could possibly be more than just an acquaintance. The “revolt” referred to in the title seems, as Lizzie’s friends all advise, quite dangerous and there is barely an instigating event to spur her to pretend to be a spy, although her method of doing so is clever and engaging. Although many of the characters’ storylines have been wrapped up in the novel, perhaps there still might be room for a sequel.

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4 responses to “The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard

  1. Lynn A Bonfield

    Thanks. I can’t wait to read The Midwife’s Revolt. I love all your recommendations. Many thanks. Lynn revolt; I love all yo ________________________________

  2. Hi, Alta. Thanks so much for reviewing my novel. I’m really glad you liked it. And in fact, I am just beginning sequel! I saw in my note from Netgalley.com that you are a practicing midwife? I should then let you know that I’ll actually be speaking at the ACNM conference in Nashville this year–on 18th century midwifery! Maybe our paths will cross…. — Jodi

    • I’m so flattered you read my review! I am not a practicing midwife, but I am an anthropologist interested in midwifery and know many midwives. I’ll ask if any of them are planning to attend the conference in Nashville. And a sequel? I can hardly wait!

      • Thanks, Alta. I’m getting snowed in here in Boston. My favorite state of being–until I have to shovel! I hope my novel spreads into the wonderful midwife crowd, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know the ACNM group.

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