Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Midwife By Jolina Petersheim

The story about a mother who risks everything to save a child not genetically hers . . .
The Past -- Graduate student Beth Winslow was sure she was ready to navigate the challenges of becoming a surrogate. But when early tests indicate possible abnormalities with the baby, Beth is unprepared for the parents' decision to end the pregnancy -- and for the fierce love she feels for this unborn child. Desperate, she flees the city and seeks refuge at Hopen Haus, a home for unwed mothers deep in a Tennessee Mennonite community.
The Present -- As head midwife of Hopen Haus, Rhoda Mummau delivers babies with a confident though stoic ease. Except in rare moments, not even those who work alongside her would guess that each newborn cry, each starry-eyed glance from mother to child, nearly renders a fault through Rhoda's heart, reminding her of a past she has carefully concealed.
Past and present collide when a young woman named Amelia arrives in the sweeping countryside bearing secrets of her own. As Amelia's due date draws near, Rhoda must face her regrets and those she left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free.

Pick up your copy here

I was born on a hot August day in the heart of Amish country. While my family moved to Tennessee when I was only three years old, my childhood was filled with stories of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors hiding TVs from bishops and concealing permed hair beneath kapps. But this unique heritage did not interest me. Instead, I pouted as my mother divided my waist-length hair into plaits and then forced me to change from purple overalls into a jean skirt and sneakers in preparation to visit our Plain friends--knowing, even at the tender age of six, that this combination was a fashion faux pas. Playing Hide 'n' Seek or Kick the Can with my Old Order Mennonite peers, however, I soon became grateful for that skirt, which helped me transition from Southern Englischer to intimate friend.

Years passed. I knew my Mennonite playmates had traded braided pigtails for kapped buns, yet on a visit to the community, I rebelled against my mother's instructions and arrived with unbound hair. During supper, which was eaten beneath a popping kerosene bulb, the hostess came and stood behind my portion of the bench. She slid out my blue satin ribbon and plaited my hair as I stared into my bowl of grummbeer supp accented with homemade brot.

The winter of my seventeenth year, I returned to the community to visit my once-raucous playmate whose ill health had transformed her into a soft-spoken friend. The whites of her deep brown eyes had yellowed from liver complications. Her family and my own gathered around her bed, which was heaped with spinning-star quilts, and sang hymns whose Pennsylvania Dutch words I did not know, but whose meaning struck my heart with such clarity, tears slid down my cheeks.

One week later, I stood beside her grave, wearing a thick black headband to hide my newly pierced ears with the fake diamond studs that stabbed the tender skin of my neck and gave me a migraine further magnified by jaw-clenching grief. I remember how the somber community huddled around her family as if their physical presence could shield them, not only from the slashing wind and sleet, but from the reality that their dochder and schweschder's body was about to be placed into the cold, hard ground.

I left for college that summer, almost eighteen years to the day I had been born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I was the first person in my immediate family to attempt a higher education. As I unpacked my flared Lucky jeans and beaded sweaters into wobbling dorm drawers, I thought I was leaving my Mennonite heritage along with a certain broad-shouldered, hazel-eyed man whose father had attended my father's Mennonite high school.

Three years, one death, and two lifetimes' worth of tribulations later, I realized that I had not lost the precious attributes surrounding my Plain heritage, so much as I had needed to go away in order to find myself.

I HIGHLY recommend this book!
A fantastic read, I could not put the book down.
I love the whole God can work all things for good" message in this book. The ending was fantastic, the entire book was a joy ride for me.
Petersheim really knows her stuff and has done her homework. She makes you feel as if you are living on each page of the story. I was so part of the story, it was so real to me.
I highly recommend this book. I gave it 5 stars. I have to say it is a book binge book!
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and author for my honest review.


  1. I like the Amish books, this one sounds amazing.

  2. Yes, Yes, Yes! I definitely want to read this book! it sounds GREAT! Thank you again, Mary, for such a wonderful review!

  3. Thanks, Mary for the great review. I want to read this one too.

  4. I am looking forward to reading this book also! Loved your review Mary. I have The Outcast but haven't read it yet.

    Judy B

  5. Sounds like a great book. Thank you for your reviews.

  6. Hello Mary. I have been watching this book and wanting a lot, but haven't gotten that lucky yet. I liked your excitement about this book. I don't have a book by Jolina yet but would sure love to have this one. Thanks for a chance.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  7. I have read so many great things about this book and I can't wait to read it. Thank you, Mary.

  8. Thank you for the wonderful review, Mary! I appreciate it so much!

  9. This is such an amazing story. I have had the privilege to read both, The Outcast and The Midwife. All I can say is that I'm anxiously awaiting Jolina's next novel.
    Great review, Mary!

  10. This sounds incredible. I hope that I will have a chance to read this one! Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

  11. This book sounds really good. Thanks for the great review.