Life on the colonial frontier

by myzticrhythmz@evpl on Friday, September 26 2008, 3:55pm. Viewed 901 times.

I always enjoy a well-done piece of historical fiction. Granted, sometimes it can be *too* well done, when the history outweighs the fiction.

 This is not the case with Midwife of the Blue Ridge, by Christine Blevins. As a first-time novel, this is a pretty good book.

 It's the mid-1700s, and midwife-apprentice Maggie Duncan comes to the American colonies as an indentured servant. After surviving a harrowing voyage and the unwanted attentions of a British nobleman, Maggie arrives in Virginia and is purchased by Seth Martin to help his family on their homestead. Though her life with the Martin family is difficult and sometimes dangerous, the midwife makes friends and finds a place among the settlers. Longhunter Tom Roberts is present as Maggie's sometime love interest.

 Blevins included a lot of detail about life in colonial America that was new to me, especially the elements of day-to-day existence. I was not always clear, though, on whether this book was trying to be a romance, an adventure story, historical fiction, or a combination of all of them. I found the instances where Maggie was practicing her midwifery skills fascinating. I would have loved to have seen some notes on where the author found her information on eighteenth-century herbalism and medical practices.  Also, there are a few somewhat violent scenes that might not appeal to those looking for a gentle read.

 Overall, this was a good, easy-to-read book. If you enjoy historical fiction, give this a try and let me know what you think!

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