On a dark night in 1775, Lizzie Boylston is awakened by the sound of cannons. From a hill south of Boston, she watches as fires burn in Charlestown, in a battle that she soon discovers has claimed her husband’s life.
Alone in a new town, Lizzie grieves privately but takes comfort in her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams. Soon, word spreads of Lizzie’s extraordinary midwifery and healing skills, and she begins to channel her grief into caring for those who need her. But when two traveling patriots are poisoned, Lizzie finds herself with far more complicated matters on her hands—she suspects a political plot intended to harm Abigail and her family. Determined to uncover the truth, Lizzie becomes entangled in a conspiracy that could not only destroy her livelihood—and her chance at finding love again—but also lead to the downfall of a new nation.
Sissy: For so much of history, the contributions of women have gone unheralded and the records of their deeds have been lost or unknown. But we know that although they were not recognized publicly (by men) women have played a vital role in shaping history. The fabulous thing about The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard is that it spotlights the important details of what some women were doing behind the scenes of the American Revolutionary War. The women of the time just kept on doing their work and putting their lives at risk and didn’t even realize how marvelous and brave they were. Our heroine Lizzie Boylston is so young and yet does so much. It’s amazing.
Bubby: Reading this book made me feel like a wuss. A big stinking pantywaisted wuss of a woman. If I had a “rough night” (i.e. my husband was snoring or one of the children woke up or I stayed up too late reading), what do I do? I go back to bed for a bit. Out of food? Off to the grocery store, in my car. Sick? Having a baby? Medical professionals of all sorts are readily available. No war, no intrigue, no outhouses, no butchering my own chickens. Have I mentioned that I’m glad to be a 21st century woman? Even putting aside the routine drudgery that 18th century women had to endure, Lizzie and her circle of friends rise above and beyond, risking their lives to further the cause of freedom in their newly born country. How would it be to not know if your neighbor was trustworthy or was waiting to betray you to the enemy? How would it be to send your man off to war, knowing that his chances of returning were much lower than his chances of death? And even if he did survive, not being able to communicate for months or years at a time?
Sissy: Set against this backdrop of historical turmoil, we have an intricately woven mystery of spies and secret missions tempered with romance and relationship growth. Lizzie has to prove herself to her adopted community and try to figure out who she can trust, all the while being a good neighbor, midwife and patriot. She also has to deal with her romantic feelings towards someone who seems to be entirely unsuitable.
Bubby: More than one someone! Plot twist!
Sissy: Plus trying to not starve….
Bubby: I found the glimpses into the at-home life of Abigail Adams (yes, the wife of future president John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams) and her children fascinating. It’s interesting to be able to put faces and a story to the famous names. Now, our author Jodi Daynard did take some liberties with the story but in the afterword she explains which characters are real and which are fictional, as well as which plot threads really happened and which were “engineered” to make the story flow. She does a fantastic job weaving fiction and reality together – it’s seamless.
Sissy: All that Bubby just said about the real historical parts and the fictional parts? That’s what I was going to say next. She stole it right out of my brain cells. So I don’t have anything else to say except that this is an intriguing glimpse into the lives of some amazing women during the Revolutionary period. I highly recommend it.
Bubby: The Midwife’s Revolt is an enthralling tale for you history buffs out there – but if you’re not a history buff (like me), you’ll still be drawn into the novel for the romance, and the bonds of sisterhood that form between Lizzie, Abigail and the other women in Braintree. So good!
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