Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Midwife's Confession: Diane Chamberlain

It took me awhile to get into The Midwife's Confession. I can't explain why though, because once I did get into it, I was riveted. Before you get too bored with the details, let me excite your interest by telling you that this book is one big bag of secrets. Some of them shocking, some of them not so much, but all of them interesting.

Noelle is a midwife and has been since her youth. Bringing new life into the world is what Noelle was born to do. Single and childless, Noelle has spent her life reveling in the lives of her best friends, Emerson and Tara. When Noelle kills herself without any explanation, Tara and Emerson jump into the messy secrets that made up Noelle's life. Some of her secrets are juicy--like her love affairs--and some were startling--like the death of a baby on her watch. Emerson and Tara unravel the real life of Noelle and find that they never really knew her at all.

This is a twisty-turny book. Just when I thought I had something figured out, I was surprised again with some new revelation. In my mind, that indicates good writing. I might even compare the writing to Jodi Picoult, in that same dark, twisty sense. While reading, I was torn between feeling that the characters were very real, and praying that they weren't, because the kind of pain that comes out in this story is just plain ugly.

I really enjoyed some of the characters, but I struggled with the narration a bit. The book is told in chapters, each narrated by either Noelle, Emerson, or Tara. The narration shift wasn't confusing, but I was a little disappointed in the lack of narrative voice that Chamberlain created with each character. Noelle has a distinct narration, but Emerson and Tara have almost identical narratives even though they are supposedly very different types of people. Fortunately the descriptions were written well enough that I was able to identify who was who.

Honestly, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. It's very chick-lit-y, but it's really good chick lit. There are no helpless or whiny women in The Midwife's Confession; just very strong, competent individuals who share a strange and complicated past.

Rating: $$.5

ARC received courtesy of MIRA.

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