THE GOSSIPS' CHOICE by Sara Read
"the context of the novel expertly reflects the issues women faced, including repeated childbearing and patriarchy, the author weaving a tale of how women bonded through female rites of passage."
"Childbirth was something most women could not avert and navigated by shared emotional and communal bonds. Here this is depicted through female intuition, humour, and an empathy often demonstrated in their compassion for one another."
-- Carol Hindley, R.M.
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On Plague and Pregnancy: Sara Read discusses her debut novel ‘The Gossips’ Choice’
Posted By Katrina Longhurst
Respected midwife Lucie Smith is married to Jasper, the town apothecary. They’ve lived happily together at the shop with the sign of the three doves for almost three decades. But 1665 is proving a troublesome year. Lucie is called to a birth at the local Manor, and Jasper is uneasy at her involvement with their former opponents in the English Civil War. Their only surviving son Simon flees plague-ridden London for his country hometown, only to argue with his father. Lucie is shaken to learn their loyal maid has been keeping a secret, and knows when Jasper finds out he will be furious. How could she have missed the signs?
As the year draws to a close, Lucie is accused of serious negligence in her care of one of her mothers which could see her not only lose her licence but face excommunication.
“... beautifully crafted novel, giving dramatic insight into the life and work of a midwife.”
- Terri Coates, Clinical Editor, Call the Midwife
"From its opening dramatic scene where much too young a mother gives birth to her first child, to its final vivid moments, The Gossip’s Choice is deeply infused with Sara Read’s expert knowledge of seventeenth-century women and their culture. I consumed it at a single sitting."
- Professor Elaine Hobby
"Impeccably researched and compelling book. If you’re a fan of ‘Call the Midwife’, then this is a must-read. Travel back to the year 1665 with the local midwife, Lucie where you'll learn out about the trials and tribulations experienced by a community midwife of the time."
- Sarah Murden, All Things Georgian
"The novel is well written and researched, well paced, with memorable characters in Martha, Simon, Jasper, and especially Lucie. What a joy it is. Congratulations on having transformed your research into such a good novel — and one relevant today on so many counts."
Professor Sara Jayne Steen, University of Plymouth, NH, USA.
"Pregnant with period detail, The Gossips' Choice takes us deep into the bowels of seventeenth century midwifery, delivering a powerful story with flashes of dark humour."
- Pete Langman, author of Killing Beauties.
"Lucie Smith is a wonderful creation, offering readers a woman's eye view of the seventeenth century in all its troublesome glory. The Gossip's Choice is a great read - atmospheric, absorbing with an almost tangible sense of place and time."
- Rebecca Rideal, author of 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire.