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So much to say and so little space to say it! I just realized how much I had going on at the original "From the Cheap Seats" and decided to start a little cousin blog. This blog will focus on book reviews and writings of a more creative nature.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Review and Giveaway: The Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Berkley
2008
417 Pages
Available at Amazon


After her mentor dies, a beautiful young woman known as Dark Maggie finds herself without a home and yearning for a new beginning. She signs away her life for four years as an indentured servant and leaves her home in Scotland for colonial America. After surviving the ship's treacherous conditions as well as a near-rape by an evil nobleman, she makes her way to America and finds her contract sold to the kindhearted Seth Martin.

Maggie is a godsend to Seth's family as she cares for his ailing wife. Not only does the once Dark Maggie find acceptance, she also finds love. Unfortunately, her peaceful existence is short-lived as tragedy strikes and Maggie must use everything she has in order to survive.

Did I get your attention yet?

Well, this story sure got mine. And kept it until I turned the last page. That is rarity and even more so because this was yet another departure from my typical reading fare.

I am sometimes leery of historical fiction out of fear that I will be bogged down with historical facts and details. I want a well-crafted story where the historical setting works to enhance the story. And this is exactly what I got. The details Blevins does provide are riveting, such as the hardships faced by not only the frontiersmen, but by the women of early America where their value was always under question. Blevins does not spare any details and it is those types of details, the ones that pull you into the raw human experience, that keep you reading.

Blevins deftly crafts her characters with a unique understanding of the time period. More importantly, she creates characters that you can't help but feel for as their story unfolds. I found Maggie's character to not only be intriguing, but also very real. She exemplified courage and strength while at the same time showing a vulnerability that made you root for her and her happiness until the very end.

If there are any criticisms of this book, it is that I simply wanted more. Right from the first page Blevins draws in the reader with a obvious tragic situation. Maggie's soon-to-be foster mother and her rescuer are made into powerful characters in only a few pages. I found myself wanting more of their story. Not much of a criticism, but maybe an idea for a future novel . . .

Blevins is a skillful writer and a knowledgeable historian. From historic details to the unique vernacular, she clearly knows her time period, but more importantly she knows how to build a powerful story. I was mesmerized and that is not something that happens very often to this former English teacher . . . not at all .

Blevins is definitively an author to keep on your must read list.

This book review has been brought to you by Blog Stop Book Tours.

* * *
Midwife of the Blue Ridge can be yours! Just leave a me a comment in the comments section and I'll randomly draw ONE winner on Saturday, September 13. And let me just say, I am reluctantly giving this one away. I love sharing books, but sometimes you come across one you'd just like to keep for yourself. But, dear readers, this is such a good one, I must share.

Oh, and let's make this a little interesting. Tell me in your comments the time period that you like to read about the most. For me, I'm a sucker for the medieval period. Something about knights, mysticism, castles and lore . . . and did I mention, knights?

Good luck!

EXCITING NEWS UPDATE!!! From the author Christine Blevins: "Keep your copy and email me the me the name and address of the winner. I will ship them out a brand spankin' new signed copy, along with some other midwifey goodies." WOW!!! THANK YOU!

26 comments:

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

Kick butt. Historical fiction about Scotland? You know I'm all over that!

Allison Says said...

Sweet! I'd love to read this. I'm always looking for new novels.

I enjoy two different time periods: 19th century, particularly England, and futuristic novels. I'm kind of a dork...a sucker for Jane Eyre and most Sci Fi. Most of the novels I read are modern or recent history, though.

Colleen said...

Ooh ooh! Pick me! Pick me!

I don't know that I have a fave period for historicle fiction - I recently read Pope Joan (dark ages) and surprisingly loved it! My current book is Jane Eyre, and after that I'll be sticking to modern pieces for a little while!

melissa said...

sounds like a good read!! i'm getting ready to start looking for another book to read, right after i finish my book called "the historian"
xoxo

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I don't HAVE a favorite time period. I'm a book whore - I'll read everything and anything.

Hallie :)

Cecily R said...

I love historical fiction. Love it. It appeals to me on all sorts of levels. I love a new title to look for!!

the planet of janet said...

oooh! oooh! pick me pick me!!!

OHmommy said...

Don't listen to ANYONE else.

Pick me. ;)

Mamasphere said...

Historical Fiction is by far my most favorite genre. I'm wary of books that stray into the romance zone, but this one sounds pretty good! I'd LOVE to read it!

Bunchy said...

I won't tell anyone that I'm your favorite if you just fix the drawing and pick me! ;) I swear!

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Historicaly ficition is MY FAV! However, I find myself nit-picking the historical accuracies.

KEEP BELIEVING

Stacie said...

I love reading all time periods, honestly...I good read is a good read no matter what!

I would love to be entered in the give-away, thanks.

huddtoo said...

What a great review, makes me want to check it out!!

I don't really navigate to a certain period. I do LOVE older stuff, things set in the 1800's, think Little House on the Prairie type. But, I like stories like this, something that is more real, something you can relate to. Granted I LOVE Harry Potter books, which is totally something I CAN'T relate to. I have even gotten thru some Harlequin romance novels that are of this same period, but seem "real". Ya know.

Sorry so rambly! :)

Christine Blevins said...

Wow, Laura! What a terrific review!

I really appreciate the good buzz, and the fact that you so enjoyed Maggie's story, and I hate that you are giving up your copy of MIDWIFE, so how about this -

Keep your copy and email me the me the name and address of the winner. I will ship them out a brand spankin' new signed copy, along with some other midwifey goodies.

Again, thank you for the kind words.

Cheers!

Christine Blevins
author of MIDWIFE OF THE BLUE RIDGE

CC said...

Okay, so what a great offer by the author!!!!!!!

Count me in! I love historical fiction. I never get to own books (just library) so I'll kiss it and hug it and sleep with it every night. J/K!

Jules said...

That was a really lovely review. Nice job. No wonder they send you all the great books. And what a sweet thing for Christine to do. Woo hoo for her.

As for time period? Any and all as long as the author writes well.

Keeping my fingers crossed here. :)

Kami said...

Oh this book is right up my alley! I love books set in Early America, the frontier days...I read all the Little House books as an adult.

If I don't win, I will find a copy another way, I know I will love this book.

Kellan said...

This sounds like a great book and I love that it's a signed copy from the author - very cool!

I like anything set in Louisana - tee hee. No really, I do. And, Atlanta. Can be any era

Take care - Kellan

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I share your fears about historical fiction, but was bitten by the Philippa Gregory bug some time ago. This sounds great.

Eve Grey said...

That's a tough one becuase I'm an avid reader and like almost all genres...I think probably just 20th century stuff in general though. The more I can relate to the characters struggles and joys, the more engaged I become.

Kristen said...

As a History Teacher this book is totally for ME!!!

My favorite time period to read about would the 1800's when people were deciding to move west. Seriously, living in Arizona, I think how in the world were people able to travel out here. I think the courage it took to move west is amazing. I would have reached AZ in the 1800's and cried.

Steph said...

This would be a great book club book the ladies would love it !

Colleen said...

That sounds fantastic!!!! I luuuuuuurrrrrvvvvveee historical fiction! My favs tend to be Tudor England, WWII and post-WWII Europe/Mid-East, and nearly anything American. And this is in the Blue Ridge Mtns...were I live!

**do you feel that? I'm making the random generator choose my number** :D

Misty said...

Check you out.... all reviewing books and stuff. I love you. Way.

Nap Warden said...

I am a total goober, I like futuristic. I know, I'll go sit in the dork corner now...

Amy said...

Historical fiction is definitely my favorite and I too am a sucker for knights and castles. Some of my fav books are the different versions of the King Arthur legend. I LOVE to read and want this book!!