A Review of Midwives by Chris Bohjalian


If you’ve read any of our book club posts then you know that Midwives was the first book chosen. This was actually my selection. I was secretly hoping that Midwives would be the one out of my three choices that would win the vote and it did!

Midwives is a story about Sybil Danforth as told by her daughter Connie. Connie is telling us the story as an adult, but she was 14 during the time of this particular story. Sybil Danforth is a lay midwife and during one home birth she finds herself in a terrible situation where she takes desperate measures to save the life of a baby whose mother has seemingly passed away during childbirth. After the labor, doubts arise as to whether the mother was actually dead, which brings Sybil’s actions into question and we’re taken down the intense road of a criminal trial that sees Sybil Danforth at the center of it.

Right from the start I had a hard time putting Midwives down. Even though the story is told from the perspective of Sybil’s daughter, we’re not left feeling like we didn’t get enough information. Even knowing the premise of the book, I was in disbelief that Sybil was charged with the woman’s death. It seemed obvious to me that the woman, Charlotte, was dead when Sybil saved the baby and I felt that if I were in Charlotte’s position I would want my midwife to do everything she could to save my baby. As the story went on I got a better understanding of why Sybil was charged and also why there were so many doubts about Charlotte’s death, but I never personally thought Sybil should be found guilty. Bohjalian does a superb job of giving different perspectives. We’re shown the prejudices that many people had (and still have) about midwives and home birth, and we’re also shown the side of people who believe wholeheartedly in the practice of midwifery.

For me, this was an edge-of-your-seat story until the very last page. I know a lot of members of the book club agreed with me, while others enjoyed it, but weren’t crazy about it like I was. I’d love to tell you more of my thoughts on Midwives, but for fear of giving away any vital parts of the story, I will stop here. Please feel free to join Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club at Facebook and join in our discussion of Midwives, as well as the book we’re currently reading, She’s Come Undone.


Reminder: Midwives Discussion Starts Tomorrow

We just wanted to remind everyone that our discussion of Midwives starts tomorrow on our Facebook group page, “Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club”.  We are very excited to start talking about our thoughts on our first book and to see what everyone else has to say.  For those of you who might not have finished yet, please exercise caution when checking the group page.  There are sure to be spoilers!  You can just jump into the discussion when you are finished!

If you are just now tuning in to the goings on in the book club, feel free to join us as we begin reading our second book, She’s Come Undone on Thursday.  The group can be found at: Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club. Simply follow the link and click “join group.”

Look forward to hearing from everyone tomorrow!

Book Club: Books 1, 2, & 3 Selections

The two day voting window for the first three book polls at Facebook are officially closed and I am pleased to announce our first three book selections. I will introduce them now with a description of each book as found on Goodreads.

Book One (April 16 – April 30, discussion at Facebook on May 1st): Midwives by Chris Bohjalian


The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if—as Sibyl’s assistant later charges—the patient wasn’t already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?

As recounted by Sibyl’s precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives—and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.

Book Two (May 2 – May 16, discussion at Facebook on May 17th): She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.


In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Meet Dolores Price. She’s 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.

Book Three (May 20 – June 3, discussion at Facebook on June 4th): Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

We’re all very excited to start reading the first book and hope you are as well. Enjoy!