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The Birth House: A Novel (P.S.)
by Ami McKay

Published: 2009-10-13
Kindle Edition : 416 pages
14 members reading this now
7 clubs reading this now
13 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk ...

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Introduction

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent first years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife's apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.

But when Gilbert Thomas, a brash medical doctor, comes to Scots Bay with promises of fast, painless childbirth, some of the women begin to question Miss Babineau's methods—and after Miss Babineau's death, Dora is left to carry on alone. In the face of fierce opposition, she must summon all of her strength to protect the birthing traditions and wisdom that have been passed down to her.

Filled with details that are as compelling as they are surprising—childbirth in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion, the prescribing of vibratory treatments to cure hysteria and a mysterious elixir called Beaver Brew—Ami McKay has created an arresting and unforgettable portrait of the struggles that women faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine.

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Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Birth House will keep you at home"by lizblair (see profile) 10/09/14

This book kept me at home because I enjoyed the story, the theme the characters, THE WOMEN, the scenery so much I could not put it down.

 
  "Sidetracks..."by Amyelise (see profile) 03/28/13

A powerful and engaging novel of the power of women's intuition and the knowledge we pass generation to generation. Also a look at the industrialization of healthcare. Our discussion kept sidetracking... (read more)

 
  "Absolutely Excellent Read"by Karmenk6 (see profile) 10/04/12

I am reading it for the second time and love it even more the second time around. I have also read her most current book The Virgin Cures and it also was excellent

 
  "Interesting perspective of independent young woman"by hlarson (see profile) 07/21/08

 
  "The book is interesting and generally well written. It would benefit from some editting."by markdon (see profile) 12/08/07

I enjoyed reading the book and the story of Dora is well written. I found the inclusion of some the character development while entertaining did not necessarily move the story line along.

... (read more)

 
  "Outstanding - I couldn't put it down"by Wendy56 (see profile) 11/26/07

 
  "Age old wisdom vs. "modern thinking" ....who's right?"by AnnMills (see profile) 10/10/07

Despite fast forwarding almost 100 years later than the setting for The Birth House, we as a society continue to debate the safety of innate wisdom...wisdom from women themselves as well as ... (read more)

 
  "Good read, a little slow in the beginning, but picked up as you get more into the book"by louiseburgess (see profile) 10/10/07

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