Sunday, 1 April 2012

Book Club Review: The Birth House

"Most days I wake up and say a prayer.  I want, I wish, I wait for something to happen to me.  While I think God for all good things, I don't say this verse to Him, or to Jesus or even to Mary.  They are far too busy to be worrying about the affairs and wishes of my heart.  No, I say my prayer more to the air than anything else, hoping it might catch on the wind and find its way to anything, to something that's mine."

The Birth House - Canadian Trade Paperback

When I initially signed up for the Book Club it was with the intention of having a good excuse and reason to find time to read at least one book a month... Needless to say that that did Not happen... Until it was my turn to choose a book and then review it!!  So here we are... I have finally read a book for the first time in 3+ years... And I loved every minute of it :)  (I love books and love reading and it used to be my #1 hobby... before kids :) )

Over the Christmas period I researched books to give as gifts.  Somehow I stumbled upon The Birth House by Ami KcKay.  I still cant remember how, but am glad I did.  It was gifted to a couple of people and a few friends also purchased it.  Everyone had great things to say about it and so it became my choice for this months' book club.

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare - sister of 4 brothers and the first girl/daughter in five generations of Rares.  Growing up in a small and isolated Nova Scotian village in the very early 1900's, she has a short apprenticeship with an outspoken Acadian midwife - Miss B.  Whilst World War I is raging, Dora learns to assist women through labours, births, unwanted pregnancies, deaths and sex lives... and the arrival of a new medical doctor keen on the science of painless and fast childbirths.

It's hard to describe all the things/worlds/topics/issues this novel brings to life.  It's as much a clash of traditional vs scientific medicine at the time, as it is stories of young women in different and difficult relationships, happy moments and many heartbreaking ones.  Of children, good-for-nothing men (and women), and many heroes - male and female alike.

The language and writing style of this book is gorgeous.  Very easy to read, very real and before you know it you've read every last word and you're done.  The author does a fantastic job at bringing the story to life - the scenes and the characters all develop and grow and I for one felt very much part of it.  She does well at creating and setting the WWI scene without it becoming a main focus of the novel, and incorporates many interesting facts from that era relating to women's "conditions" and rights.  Whether you or I agree with any of the methods back then, or now, or not at all, it is still fascinating to see how things were once.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the main thing it highlighted to me was just how much society and life has changed.  Which always makes me wonder just how much things will change in the short time it will take for my girls to become women (and hopefully mothers :) ).

A fantastic, beautifully written and very interesting novel.
I give it 4.5 out of 5.

Next months' Book Club will be hosted by Ami at Mahlimoo.  So what have you been reading that I should add to my ever growing list? Link on up below - anything goes!

Have a great week everyone!



  1. I love love loved this book!

  2. I loved your review Leonie... Am stamping my foot impatiently and vowing to NEVER AGAIN order books from Fishpond. It's Book Depository all the way from now on. In the meantime I am half way through LAST MONTH'S book and hoping I can whizz through The Birth House and link up before too long.

    Great choice... I can't WAIT to read it!

  3. I am still waiting for my copy of The Birth House to show up, but have just linked up a book I was sent to review (and giveaway). It is only the second book I have actually read this year! Slack I know!

    After reading your review I can't wait for The Birth House to arrive. I have a feeling that it will keep me up late for a few nights!

  4. Thank you for the gorgeous block...thank you

  5. I'm a new follower from the book club - nice to meet you :D

  6. I am so frustrated with Fishpond - WHO I WILL NEVER USE AGAIN!
    Still. No. Book.
    Running out of April... had to do something... So I wrote about Game of thrones, Fishpond and BOOK DEPOSITORY.
    Hope you enjoy.

  7. This sounds like a book I may have to hunt down....thanks for sharing your review. x

  8. 5 months later!! ;)


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