Dr Sara Read is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research is in the cultural representations of women, bodies and health in the early modern era.
She has published widely in this area with her first book Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England being published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.
She is a member of the organising committee of the Women's Studies Group, 1558-1837 and recently co-edited a special collection produced to celebrate the group's 30th anniversary.
She is also the co-editor of the popular Early Modern Medicine blog. With founding editor Dr Jennifer Evans, Sara wrote a book about health and disease in this era Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 (Pen and Sword 2017).
Sara regularly writes for history magazines such as Discover Your Ancestors and History Today. In 2017 she published an article 'My Ancestor was a Midwife' tracing the history of the midwifery profession for Who Do You Think You Are? magazine in 2017. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3's Freethinking programme and is often to be heard on BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio WM.
Follow Sara on Twitter @saralread
THE GOSSIPS' CHOICE by Sara Read
The Gossips’ Choice is an historical literary fiction novel and could be viewed as a seventeenth century Call the Midwife.
The birth stories, which form the backdrop to the story, are inspired by the case notes of a Bristol midwife published in 1737.
The main midwife is a woman, married to the town apothecary, who is coming to the end of her working life and who lives through 1665 with a growing sense of trepidation as she is put in contact with the people who were on the opposite side to her in the English Civil Wars.
She has to manage the conflict between her only surviving son and her husband who clash when the former flees plague-ridden London for their country hometown, not to mention the unplanned pregnancy of her loyal housemaid of over twenty years and the implications of this. This peculiar year draws to a close with her first ever accusation of malpractice which could see her lose her licence or even face excommunication.
The book mixes humour, compassion, and sorrow, and has been scrupulously researched.
THE GOSSIPS' CHOICE is due to be published Spring 2020.
Should you find yourself unexpectedly in the seventeenth century and wondering about pregnancy and labour, this guide will tell you all you need to know.
Get your Kindle copy here.