Monday, 7 September 2015

Book Review -The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
Published: 27th September 2015
Publisher: Pan
Pages: 336
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
What if those you cherish harboured a secret that could break you?

Neva Bradley, a young midwife, has just learned that she is expecting. She's been present at the magical stages of many women's lives but she is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy hidden. And the weight of Neva's secret is beginning to bear down on everyone around her . . .

Neva's mother Grace finds it impossible to let the subject rest. But the more Grace presses Neva about the identity of the baby's father, the more withdrawn she becomes.

For Neva's grandmother, Floss, a retired midwife, Neva's predicament eerily mirrors events from her own past. She now must decide whether she is ready to confront a memory she's managed to supress for over fifty years.

As Neva's bump grows, it becomes harder to conceal the truth. Will each of the women reveal what has been buried for so long, or are some secrets best kept hidden?


When Sally’s Hepworth’s debut novel The Secrets of Midwives popped through my letter box I was very excited, this is exactly the sort of story I love to get lost in and discovering new authors is always exciting. After the first couple of chapters I was completely engrossed in the story of these three women and well I lost the rest of the day while I finished it.

The Secrets of Midwives tells us the story of Neva, Grace and Floss who are three generations of a family of midwives. Neva Bradley the daughter is pregnant and at thirty weeks is desperately trying to hide the pregnancy from her family to avoid all the questions and fuss as the baby has no father. Grace, the mother is determined to find out the father of her daughters baby and doesn’t see how her questions are causing rifts between the family members. For Floss the grandmother, Neva’s situation is forcing her to face her past, something she is not certain she is ready to do.

The Secrets of Midwives is told in alternative chapters between these three women as they battle with the secrets they are hiding. I loved that each voice was easily distinguishable, something which I feel was very clever given that the three women are related and are all midwives (or retired midwives) and they do lead similar lives.

I really enjoyed all three of these women and as their secrets came out, some which are expected and some which are not I felt a bond with all three of them. I loved reading about when Floss was younger and the events which led her to keep a secret for almost sixty years…now that takes willpower.

The author obviously knows lot about midwifery and particularly childbirth as there are a couple of scenes which are very detailed, a little too much maybe for the squeamish among us. She has also managed to capture with her beautiful writing just how magical the moments after childbirth are when you finally get to gaze on your little ones face and are filled with love instantly.

I loved everything about this book, the characters are lovely and the descriptions of places and events are very realistic, making me feel like I was there too. I loved that all the way through the book there are questions that need answering such as who is the father of Neva’s baby? And what exactly is Floss hiding? Both which I felt were answered very well right at the end of the book in a brilliant ending to a fabulous book.  I have adored Sally’s writing style and am eagerly going to be awaiting her next novel Things We Keep which will be out in 2016.

Thank you so much to Pan for sending me a copy to review, a well-deserved 5 out 5!


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