Friday, May 4, 2012

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

by:  Roberta Rich
published by:  Gallery Books
publish date:  February 14, 2012

Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life.

I'm never disappointed by Gallery Books.  I've found that they are consistently well written quality stories.  Midwife of Venice was another great addition to the collection.

Hannah's husband is kidnapped while at sea, so she's alone when a high ranking Christian government official comes to her seeking aid for his laboring wife.  Ignoring the pleas of her Rabbi to adhere to the laws, she agrees to help his wife in exchange for the ransom money needed to rescue her husband.  Once the baby is born, Hannah is under threat of arrest for treating Christians and practicing witchcraft for using her birthing spoons, and she's protecting the baby she helped deliver from family members intent on doing it harm.  She turns to her sister who left the Jewish Ghetto to become a courtesan and they disguise themselves as plague victims to evade arrest.

The Midwife of Venice would be a great Mother's Day gift.  Don't forget that's coming up soon!  It was a fantastic read about a really interesting time in history.  It's a perfect gift for the reader moms!

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