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The Birth House
The Birth House
Author: Ami McKay
An arresting portrait of the struggles that women faced for control of their own bodies, The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare - the first daughter in five generations of Rares. As apprentice to the outspoken Acadian midwife Miss Babineau, Dora learns to assist the women of an isolated Nova Scotian village through infertility, difficult labo...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780061135873
ISBN-10: 0061135879
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 416
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 159 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Birth House on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Taking place during the first World War, this book brings to light the hardship women had face before women's suffrage. The women of a small mountain town in Nova Scotia are used to home births by a kindly wise midwife and they would not have it any other way until challenged by a new doctor in town, who deems it unsafe and basically stupid to not want a hospital birth, where the mother is sedated, barely remembering the event at all. Dora, at first a young girl at the start of this novel is at the heart of this struggle, as she takes the lead role as midwife after a tragedy occurs. I really liked this book and although it took a bit to capture my attention, once it did I could not put it down.
reviewed The Birth House on + 982 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This book was just fantastic-one of the best I've read all year! Highly recommend it. I felt like I was reading music and magic. Includes many interesting historical events of that time period and tells a great story at the same time. Dr. Thomas will drive you nuts, but you will fall in love with Marie B.! If you have or get this paperback copy, make sure you read the PS section. The author interview was just as intersting as the story!
reviewed The Birth House on + 125 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A very easy look at some difficult history. I especially liked the way the author pulled in the newspaper articles and advertisements of the day..interesting. A definite read...
reviewed The Birth House on
Helpful Score: 3
A wonderful story of a midwife in rural Nova Scotia. Lots of rich, well-researched details too.
reviewed The Birth House on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this first novel by Ami Mckay. It's both fiction and non-fiction and I found myself quite interested in both Dora's story and in the medical treatment of women in the early 1900's. I look forward to more novels from this author.
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reviewed The Birth House on + 353 more book reviews
I was quite disappointed in this book after waiting so long to read it, and al the rave reviews about it.... I've read a lot about Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and mid wifery, but the protagonist here was totally unbelievable to me. It was more like the author took a modern woman and placed her back in time a century ago. I found it to be rather shallow. Sorry, realy wanted to like it.
reviewed The Birth House on + 3 more book reviews
Good well developed story and characters.
reviewed The Birth House on + 13 more book reviews
Dora Rare makes this story compelling. Reaching out from the cold hard winters of Nova Scotia, in the times of woman's sufferage, this coming of age novel grabs you from the beginning, makes you feel what this young woman of 17 feels on her wedding day, the skills she learns as a midwife and as a fugitive from men. You cannot but hope that this story helps other young women, and older women for that, understand that to accept some hardships in your life for the greater good, is what it's all about.

Ami McKay has bathed this young woman in a beautiful light, we would be good to remember that it wasn't so long ago that women had to hide from men for fear of persecution. Although a work of fiction, this book resonates with me and the recent turning from "modern" to more home births.

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