The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich- 352 pages
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers using her secret birthing spoons. When a count implores her to attend his dying wife and save their unborn son, she is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but his payment is enough to ransom her husband Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can she refuse her duty to a woman who is suffering? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the child and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Told with exceptional skill, The Midwife of Venice brings to life a time and a place cloaked in fascination and mystery and introduces a captivating new talent in historical fiction.
My Review: 4 stars
This book offered everything I like in a fast paced historical fiction romp through time. Ultimately this book is about the choices we make and following our head vs. heart and perhaps breaking our religious beliefs vs. our intuition. Although I’m a full on a believer of a hospital birth, I love reading about midwifery, especially in older times and the “spoons” that Hannah created were so ahead of her time, ie: forceps. So often these women were considered to partake in witchcraft, that I personally see them as heroes of their time! Great imagery of both the riches of Venice as well as the Jewish Ghetto were portrayed.
Quotes I liked:
- “May your words lodge like wax in G-d’s ear.”
- “Maimonides rang in his head: The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”
Tags: 2014, Historical Fiction, Italy, Judaic,
Labels: 2014, Historical Fiction, Italy, Judaic