Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: The Midwife's Confession

The Midwife’s Confession
By Diane Chamberlain
Mira 2011

When Noelle commits suicide, her best friends Tara and Emerson are shocked. The women are left with only a mysterious note in which Noelle apologizes to a woman named Anna for something that is left unwritten. Tara and Emerson dig into Noelle’s past, interviewing the women she worked with as a midwife, determined to find out what dark secret caused her to take her own life.

Meh. Is that an appropriate reaction to a book? I was interested enough to continue reading, but that may have been in part because I was leaving to go on vacation and wanted to finish the book before I left. I could figure out what the big secret was fairly early on. Then there was another plot twist, which I also saw coming. The characters just didn’t really hold my interest. I actually had to check a few times if the current chapter was from Tara or Emerson’s point of view.

While Ms. Chamberlain does occasionally have some good insight into grief, it always seems to just be skimming the surface. Tara is dealing with losing Noelle in addition to losing her husband the previous March. When she realizes that her husband’s message is still on the answering machine, “I stared at the phone in my hand for a moment, then started to cry, hugging the phone to my heart. I sat on the stool next to the kitchen island and sobbed so hard my tears pooled on the granite. I’d thought I was done with this part of the grief – this sucking-down, soul-searing pain – but apparently not.”

So this book was ok for me. I didn’t hate it, but I probably won’t pick up another book by this author. There were so many places to go with the topics introduced within the novel – grieving, the relationship between mother and child, the extent to which we really know each other, the experience of childbirth - but it feels like a cursory effort throughout.