The Midwife’s Confession – Diane Chamberlain

Three women brought together in friendship. They can trust each other. In fact they can trust each other with their own children. But do they know each other?

Diane Chamberlain introduces us to Tara, Emerson and Noelle. Then she shocks them and the reader with Noelle’s suicide (this is mentioned on the blurb on the reverse of the book).

Tara and Emerson are left reeling, as I was as a reader. Suddenly as a life is extinguished, the two women seek solace in each other as they try to piece together who Noelle was. But then they knew her, so it should not be too hard should it?

This is as much as I can say, without actual giving away vital plotlines and ruining the book for any potential reader. What I will say this is a book which reflects very much on the differences in the mother and daughter bond that there is. Is it something which can hold together or can it be wrenched away from you as soon as your back is turned.

As Tara and Emerson learn about Noelle, they also learn a lot about themselves as mothers and ultimately their daughters, respectively Grace and Jenny. Grace and Jenny learn as much about the past and their mothers as they do about each other. The world suddenly seems a strange and frightening place without the support of your mother. This is a truth test on the state of friendship between these women separated by generations.

The book progress in each chapter with flashbacks to Noelle, we can form a picture of her from beyond the grave if you like. We try to understand all her actions and her reactions to events. In the ‘present’ chapters we see how Tara and Emerson as well as some other characters tell their story and learn piece by piece the confession. This technique gives you perspectives and a well rounded picture of events. For me it is a great way of getting to the heart of the story, but whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it and was drawn into the web of lies which were beginning to unfold I actually did not like any of the characters. They were not badly written in my opinion, and I am still trying to work out how I can like a book,  but not like the characters? There may not be a clear cut answer for this.

This is a book of strength, the strength of the ties that bind, mothers and daughters, friendship, love. The strength of trying to hold everything together when there is a stronger force at work trying to ruin your life. The strength of the twists and turns kept me wanting more and it is all packed into a relatively short book, where it could have laboured for many more pages, building and building but Diane Chamberlain’s writing has not needed to do this.

This was a book club choice. Chosen by me opening just one of my newbooks magazines at a page and  seeing what book was on it and then selecting that. It is more of a fateful choice as one member of my book club is actually a midwife…….. I cannot wait for this particular discussion. 




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