Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
(Oprah's Book Club)

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"Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . It will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird." --People

With a suspense, lyricism, and moral complexity that recall To Kill a Mockingbird and Presumed Innocent, this compulsively readable novel explores what happens when a woman who has devoted herself to ushering life into the world finds herself charged with responsibility in a patient's tragic death.

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.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins.

About Chris Bohjalian

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CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and twice became movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at www.ChrisBohjalian.com or on Facebook.From the Hardcover edition.
Published January 1, 1998 by Random House Inc. 388 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Computers & Technology. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In a strong, ruminative voice, Connie re-creates that terrible year when the state's attorney, Charlotte Bedford's family, the local medical community, and even members of the Danforths' small hometown seemed to conspire to put not just Sibyl but the entire practice of home birthing on trial.

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Publishers Weekly

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Among the many achievements of this gripping, insightful novel is the remarkable fullness with which Bohjalian (Water Witches) writes about both the physicality and the spirituality of childbirth. OB/

Mar 31 1997 | Read Full Review of Midwives (Oprah's Book Club)

Publishers Weekly

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As Connie wrestles with increasing doubts about whether or not her mother acted correctly, the Danforth family struggles to remain intact in the face of community ostracism and unrelenting media scrutiny.

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Book Reporter

he believes that Sibyl died as a result of the surgery Sibyl performed.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Midwives (Oprah's Book Club)


SuperFan badge holders consistently post smart, timely comments about Washington area sports and teams.

Dec 22 2015 | Read Full Review of Midwives (Oprah's Book Club)

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