Thanks to Melissa at Simon and Schuster for sending me this one to review.
About the Book
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. Not since The Red Tent orPeople of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.
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This was a good book. It had it all: love, romance, excitement, and fear. But I just didn't "click" with it. I liked the characters well enough, and the plot was pretty interesting. However there was just something in this one that I couldn't connect with.
Hanna was a brave fierce woman who takes every chance she can get to get her husband back. She's a midwife who uses "unorthodox" (and she's Jewish, so excuse the pun) actions to help babies and mothers who are struggling during childbirth. But she's got her mind set on saving her husband from captivity so against her Rabbi's suggestion, and against the law she goes to deliver a baby that will earn her enough money to save her husband. She was a very strong woman and knows what she wants.
There's some twists and turns in the story that are unexpected, but for me the story seemed predictable, and the pace was slow. Even the tense scenes seemed to move slowly.
Overall it was ok. Rich does a good job at describing the scenes and explaining the character's emotions. But I just didn't connect with the story. It was readable and even enjoyable, but I just can't say that I loved it.