The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

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The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Another intriguing family saga from the pen of Diane Chamberlain. Secrets, lies, deception and so much more are all in the mix after a can of worms has been opened following the death of a much-loved local midwife.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 544 Date: June 2011
Publisher: MIRA
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0778304661

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I feel that I've barely finished a Chamberlain review when up pops another of her books - such seems to be proliferation. The story opens with the build-up to the death of middle-aged midwife, Noelle. Her friends, all a little younger than herself and with families of their own, are busy getting on with their daily lives. But someone - suddenly - remembers they haven't heard from Noelle for some days. It's unusual as this group of chatty friends are forever phoning, texting or popping round to each other's houses.

Noelle is a one-off. Once seen apparently she's difficult to forget. For starters, she's unmarried and with no children of her own. That may seen unusual to some in her chosen profession (what can she possibly know about childbirth and having babies?) but generally it's irrelevant. She's a terrific and dedicated midwife who knows her job inside out and consequently she's in high demand. She can barely keep up with her work-load at times. Now and again she's expected to be in two places at the same time helping with a birth and that's when she has to draft in the services of a colleague. This happens in one particular case and things start to go horribly wrong. Chamberlain plays out every last detail for her readers.

But before all that, we meet Noelle's friends: Tara and Emerson both of whom have children. Tara is still coming to terms with the loss of her husband Sam. Sam and Noelle have some past 'history' together which the nice and trusting Tara knows nothing about - yet. And as the story jumps back and forth in terms of time, Chamberlain fills us in on both the background of her main characters and of how three very different women came to be such good friends.

Chamberlain likes to give her readers a fair amount of domestic detail, so we know a little about house style, kitchen styles, the foods the characters like to cook and eat etc. I spooned the pesto-coated rigatoni into my big white pasta bowls for example. All nice and cosy - for the moment. Until Noelle's death, that is. The family is at the heart of Chamberlain's novels and her natural style helps to draw the reader effortlessly into the story. It works for me. I find her style very easy on the eye. I know it's a dreadful cliche but her books would make ideal holiday reading material or being dissected by some book group.

There's an ideal opportunity in this book for some long-held secrets to come out into the open and see the light of day as Tara and Emerson insist on clearing out Noelle's house and belongings after her death. Letters, newspaper clippings and much more are found - and pounced upon. And the findings are shocking. Relationships are threatened. We need to go right back to a much younger Noelle to see what went wrong. To try and made sense of her subsequent actions. A simple untruth just gets bigger and bigger as Tara and Emerson dig themselves deeper and deeper into Noelle's past life. They cannot believe what they find out. And at the same time, their teenage children somehow become embroiled in the whole nasty business. You can sense that there will be plenty of tears and perhaps no happy ending. Babies and children are at the heart of it along with plenty of roller-coaster emotions which Chamberlain does so well.

There's a lot of missing pieces to put together in this particular jig-saw. Will they all fit? While I enjoyed the story I did feel that right at the end it was a little manic, perhaps a twist or a turn too many. But overall, another engaging family story. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might like to try Before the Storm also by Diane Chamberlain.

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Buy The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain at Amazon.com.

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