Cover Image: The Midwives of Lark Lane

The Midwives of Lark Lane

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Member Reviews

I struggled to get into The Midwives of Lark Lane. I felt it seemed very predictable and I soon lost interest in it that I had to give it up. Sorry was not for me.
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Oh my, this book was very good.  I didn’t realize that it was part of a series although it served well as a stand alone.  However, it was so good that I intend to read the earlier books. The story captured me at the beginning and I didn’t want to put it down. 
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Although this is the fourth book in the Lark Lane series, it is my first. However, despite coming into the story so far in I didn't feel as if I had missed anything as Pam Howes gives the reader plenty of background on the characters who have featured throughout. But as I enjoyed this one so much I have added the first three to my ever growing TBR list in the hope I will find some time to revisit Lark Lane again soon.

The story follows Cathy now grown and marrying the love of her life and father to their 18 month old Lucy. Gianni, her husband, works with a travelling fair performing alongside his father in the Wall of Death motorbike show. The couple share their wedding day alongside Cathy's mother Alice and her new husband Johnny before a brief honeymoon and a return to the travelling fair.

Upon arrival they are given a brand new caravan by Gianni's father Luca and his wife Maria, who have painstakingly prepared it for the couple. Cathy is overwhelmed by their kindness and happy to be with Gianni but she is unsure about her place with the fair. She was training to be a nurse but those dreams had ended when she discovered she was pregnant with Lucy and then marrying Gianni. Although she wished to return to nursing, this was the 1960s and all nursing students must be unmarried. So with her training incomplete and now living with the fair, Cathy has no work to keep her occupied.

Then the fair begins and so with it brings new problems. It is noisy and smells and there is no way she can settle little Lucy down at night. She closes the windows, the caravan is stifling. She opens them for air and it is too noisy. Cathy becomes more tired as they days wear on and Lucy is tetchy and unsettled. Although it is early days, Cathy finds she is not enjoying fairground life but this is Gianni's life and she cannot and will not make him choose.

But circumstances bring new opportunities as Cathy returns to Liverpool to live with family while Gianni remains with the fair. Gianni urges Cathy to return to her nurses training and to follow her dream of becoming a midwife, alongside her friends. And it's not forever as they will be reunited when the fair arrives in town and when the fair breaks for the winter months. Cathy is not sorry to leave the fair, but she is with leaving Gianni. She will not miss Maria's daughter Eloisa with whom Gianni had a one night stand and she has carried a torch for him since. But she trusts Gianni...she just doesn't trust Eloisa.

Dividing her time between her mother's house and her Granny's, Cathy returns to nursing and eventually qualifies as a midwife alongside her friends Jean, Karen and Ellie. When a large exclusive house with sprawling grounds comes up for sale, Cathy and her friends' dream of opening their own maternity home for unwed mothers and those wishing for private accommodation during the birth of their child are realised. With the help of their families, the women set to making their dream a reality.

Meanwhile, alongside Cathy's story is that of her ex-stepfather Jack Dawson. He was serving a long prison sentence for raping her friend Ellie one night in the hospital grounds, but opportunity arose in the form of a new cellmate hailing from Glasgow, and the pair escaped whilst being transported to a new prison. They parted company and Jack joined up with the travelling fair after seeing one of their flyers requesting casual work labourers.

Taking up the persona of Scottish Dougie Taylor, Jack had mastered the accent after sharing a cell with the Glaswegian. He knew Gianni but with his long hair and beard, Jack doubted he'd be recognised. Still, he kept out of his way just in case. It wasn't long before Eloisa caught his eye, showing him her wares that she shamelessly had on offer. But Jack never lost sight of his main objective - to return to Liverpool and show Cathy "a real man".

When the fair arrives in Liverpool, things come to a head in more ways than one. There is tragedy, heartbreak, love and loss and the tension is palpable as Cathy and Jack's paths stories intertwine, all the while unbeknownst to her.

Beginning in 1960 and taking us through to 1964, THE MIDWIVES OF LARK LANE is a simple, fast and easy read. A feel-good book that you just want to lose yourself to right up to the end. Whether the series ends here, I don't know, though some have stated that it would be a good place to end it...but I must admit I would like to see what else happens with girls and their families.

There is a touch of the TV series "Heartbeat" as well as "Call the Midwife" to this book, given the 1960s era, so if you are a fan of these shows then I am sure you will love this installment of the Lark Lane series. It is also very similar to Nadine Dorries' Lovely Lane series so you like that then you will love this!

Despite being the fourth book, THE MIDWIVES OF LARK LANE can be read as a standalone because the reader is given enough background information to make the necessary connections of where the story has been as well as where it is going. But like all series, I'm guessing that they are still enjoyed best from the beginning.

I definitely recommend this book, as a standalone or as part of the series!

I would like to thank #PamHowes, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheMidwivesOfLarkLane in exchange for an honest review.
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As always, I have absolutely loved this final book in this wonderful series. Pam Howes has a way of making her characters come to life and I feel as if I personally know them.
Having been a huge fan of the Mersey series, I have to say this Lark Lane series was just as good and I recommend all lovers of family sagas to read both series.
Really looking forward to whatever Pam Howes has to give her fans next.
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Love this series enjoyed going back in tie visiting with these characters again.Each book in the series drew me in to the drama the friendship the romances Hope there are more In the series.#netgalley#bookouture
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I started with this series in the early years of World War II, where the characters were thriving and surviving the war years, and change was always around the corner. Now the children in the series are all grown up and Cathy, and her husband have their own little family and Cathy is hoping to complete her midwives training, put aside when she was pregnant with Lucy.  Her mother Alice has remarried a local man, her second husband having gone to jail for his attack on Cathy’s student friend, and lives are moving forward, even as Cathy has to adjust to living at the fair with her husband Gianni and his father’s motorcycle show.  From the upheaval with her routine to not really having a ‘position’ at the fair, it’s decided that Cathy will go home to pick up her studies.  

Like many of the stories before – there are several threads here that intertwine and show growth and concerns for all the characters – from Gianni leaving the traveling fair to the threat from her stepfather from jail and the danger they all face, to her finaly getting qualified as a midwife and the plans that she and her three nurse-training friends decided on for a maternity home to both provide private care AND help unwed mothers with no options.  

Up and down – the characters are clearly experiencing growing pains as the times and their situations change, all with some solid touchstones back to Alice – the first and perhaps my favorite character in this series. Though the story moves reasonably quickly from the war years to the mid-50’s and now into the 60’s through the assassination of JFK – there’s a heartbeat that connects each moment and character seen and unseen to the story in a long thread. It feels as if you are being welcomed in to their world and confidences, and there’s plenty of cake, tea and camaraderie to go around. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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I really enjoyed this book so much.  It has a really great plot, superb main characters and I read it in one sitting.  I would highly recommend this book.
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I fell in love with the tv show about Mid Wives and I thought this one was going to be close to that.  I loved that it was set past WWII as so many titles now a days are set during it and its just taken its toll on what I want to read right now.  This one takes place around the 1960s and I loved that.  The pacing was well done and I loved the characters.  I do wish that this would have been just a tad more exciting but overall it was a very good read to curl up in a chair with a drink and take your time to unhinge from the day and just enjoy a great story.  I will say that I didn't realize that this was part of a series so I wished I would have known that.  And you totally need to read the first books in the series to really get the full grasp. Which I am excited to say that I grabbed them so yay!!
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book, the last one in this particular series.

Cathy is forging her own path in life, after falling pregnant at an early age and having to abandon her nursing training. She gets back on the horse and ends up being a midwife. When some friends suggest opening up a home for unmarried mums, she thinks it is a good idea but will they manage to get enough money to realise their dreams? And then there is the fact that her husband, Gianni, is enjoying life on the fair circuit a little bit too much. Eloisa is still around as a temptation as well.....

Jack, Cathy's cruel step-father is on the loose and what happens with him, makes me scared for all the women around him, for sure!

On a brighter note though, things are going well with Alice and her new husband, and everyone else in the family is settled. Poor Granny Lomax is the only one whose health is failing and of course Cathy is deeply impacted by this, as they have such a close bond.

All in all, this book ties all the threads together from previous books and I love how it ended.

5 stars from me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.
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Now this is a book series I love. Everything about these books is just fantastic. The writing, the story lines, the characters, each time I've read one of these books I have loved every single page. I could happily read this series every day forever. Selfishly the author seems to think that she should have a life outside of books. lol only joking. 
I felt like I was going back in time and meeting up with old friends with this book, the familiar characters and their family lives. For me I think the only character I don't much like is Jack. I don't think we are supposed to like him, which is what means for me, that Pam has done the job she intended. I wont go into detail as I wouldn't like to spoil this for anyone who hasn't read the previous books,( can I ask why you haven't read them)
I would say you could read these books in any  order, but why would you want to do that? it's worth reading them in the correct order to follow the back story of the characters, although the author does give you enough background if you didn't want to read them all. 
​Cathy and Gianni are now travelling with his family. Cathy isn't very keen on this and would rather have permanent roots. A home not a caravan. 
Cathy and her daughter end up returning to Liverpool as circumstances change. I found myself rooting for this family, I wanted and needed them to do well. 
It still fascinates me as we go back in time with this series, how very very different things were back then. The fact that a home is needed for young unmarried ladies who found themselves pregnant. How times have change and and perceptions on certain things are so different. 
This is a family saga you do not want to miss.
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This book was a little experiment for me, as I don’t normally read books in this genre. It was however a calculated risk, as Call The Midwife is one of my favourite tv series. And I’m so glad I took a chance with this book as it warmed my heart and I loved reading it.

 adored the characters in this book and the lovely community feel of this neighbourhood in Liverpool. Everyone looked out for everyone, and it felt like one huge extended family and it was a joy to spend time with them. There was one nasty character and I liked the little edge he gave the book.

On starting this book, it immediately became obvious that this was part of a series. But I was very comfortably able to jump straight in and work out who was who. 

There is something about this time period that really appeals to me. World War 2 is over, and people seem determined to build a better world, and I feel this aspect shone through. Pre war social conditions are no longer acceptable and the ladies in this book are working hard towards providing better outcomes for single mothers. Very heart warming to read about.

If you like engaging, family centred books with caring characters set in a lovely community, then I’d highly recommend this book to you.

Thanks to Bookouture for allowing me join in on this book tour. It was a pleasure.
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What a terrific series this has been. I absolutely loved catching up with Cathy and her family. I feel like I have really got to know them at this point.

The Midwives of Lark Lane is a story of love, friendship, heartbreak and most of all people pulling together during the difficult times. Set in Liverpool, Pam Howes has a brilliant way of bringing the personality of Liverpool folk to the pages in an excellent way. She breathes life into the characters and therefore the personality really comes through the pages.

Cathy has a lot going on, she is finishing her midwife training, her granny is poorly , her and her friends are trying to set up they own maternity hospital and on top of that she learns that her evil stepfather has escaped from prison. Jack is a very bad man, and is hell bent on getting revenge in the people he blames for his incarceration. Cathy is surrounded by people who care very deeply for her and will always help her in any way they can.

Pam Howes has written a truly magnificent story, a family saga that while heartbreaking at times really gave me a warm feeling throughout. It's a book that highlights the joys of having a close family, and a support network to help you through hard times. I have absolutely loved this series and I hope there will be more additions to it as I would love to see what the future holds for Cathy and her family.
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Following on from The Nurses of Lark Lane, this brings a new venture plus some old wounds thrown in the mix. I enjoyed reading this and hope there will be further novels with these girls as they progress in their careers. This was a great read and I will give it 5 stars. I recommend you read this, it can be a stand alone but it is  good to know how things have gone on from the earlier novel  Another 5 star read.
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I asked for this off Netgalley because I’d listened to an audio version of the previous book. This was ok, nothing earth shattering and not well written but an easy read. Followed stories of characters introduced in the previous book, but there was no suspense or real engagement with any of the characters.
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I am a massive fan of Pam's work and I have read most of her books.  She certainly knows how to write a book that will tug on even the hardest of heartstrings.  I have read the other books in the Lark Lane series and I couldn't wait to get hold of a copy of 'The Midwives Of Lark Lane' as I was desperate to find out what happened to the girls.  Well I finally managed to get hold of a copy and I sat down with a cup of tea in one hand and my Kindle in the other hand and began to read.  Oh my word, 'The Midwives Of Lark Lane' was one hell of a read and then some.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Midwives Of Lark Lane' but more about that in a bit.
Oh my goodness, Cathy is certainly put through the emotional wringer and then some in this book.  The beginning of the book starts with Cathy marrying her beloved boyfriend and father of her child.  From then on, things start to go horribly wrong for her.  She doesn't like living the fairground life- living in caravans on the fairground.  It's far too noisy and she feels a bit cut off from her family.  She falls pregnant and her pregnancy is the reason she gives for wanting to return to her beloved grandmother's home.  Sadly Cathy miscarries.  It emerges that her abusive step-father, Jack, who is prone to sexual, physical and emotional violence escapes from prison.  He is gunning for Cathy as he blames her for his incarceration and he wants to make her pay.  At this point I wanted to jump inside the pages of this book to slap Jack silly with a wet flip flop before kicking him in a certain part of his anatomy at least a dozen times.  So Cathy is emotional and feeling vulnerable on a couple of fronts.  Cathy is the nicest kind of person you could hope to meet.  She is loyal, friendly, compassionate, determined, occasionally stubborn, kind and generous.  I took to her so well that I began to think of Cathy as a friend and I felt very protective towards her.  I was just keeping everything crossed that thinks would work out for Cathy and that Jack was 'dealt with' appropriately.  What happens?  Well that would be telling.  If you want to find out what happens then you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out because I am not going to tell you.
Oh.  My.  Goodness, Pam has done it again and she has written one hell of a book.  It didn't take me long at all to get into this book.  In fact by the time I got to the end of the first page, I knew that I was going to have to binge read this book over the course of a day or two because I wouldn't be able to put the book to one side for any length of time.  The book wasn't exactly glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  I couldn't bear to miss a single second of the story.  It was as if the book had developed a hold over me and it was a hold that I wasn't willing to break.  The pages turned increasingly quickly as my desperation to find out what happened to Cathy steadily grew and grew.  I seemed to fly through the latter half of the book but I didn't realise just how quickly I was reading it and I got a bit of a surprise when I ran out of pages.
'The Midwives Of Lark Lane' is brilliantly written but then I find that to be true of all of Pam's books.  She certainly knows how to start a book in a memorable way which is guaranteed to grab your attention from the start and it will draw you into the story.  Pam tightens the net around you and it isn't long until you realise that you are hooked on the book and you immerse yourself in the story of the ladies from Lark Lane.  Pam writes so realistically and uses such vivid descriptions that I really did feel as though I was part of the story myself.
I certainly felt as though I went on one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride with this book with all the highs and lows, ups and downs, happiness and sadness and well you get the picture.  Every single emotion that Cathy went through, I went through.  When I finished the end of the book I really did feel as though I had been through the emotional wringer.
In short, 'The Midwives Of Lark Lane' is another amazing, no make that brilliant read from the brilliant Pam Howes. I would definitely recommend her books to other readers and especially to those who like the family saga genre of book.  I can't wait to read more of Pam's work.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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I already loved this series, so I was delighted that there was a new episode. Straight away I was totally immersed in life in Liverpool, with all the familiar characters again.

Such a lot has happened and is happening, for our characters. Cathy has heartbreak to deal with, with the death of her beloved granny, and the loss of her baby. But her family all rally round to support her.

There’s tension all the way through the book, as we wait to see if the cunning Jack will catch up with her. He’s the one character in the book who I truly loathed.

In spite of his evil presence, however, this book is such a feelgood novel. The central theme running through these books is that, in spite of hardships or difficulties in life, family, friends and love are what’s most important.

This book can be read as a standalone, but it’s lovely to immerse yourself in the whole series. The characters are so real, and the books are such a pleasure to read. Highly recommended
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This is the fourth book in the Lark Lane series.  It can be read as a standalone, but it would be better to read the previous books for an understanding of the characters backstories.  I’ve read the previous three books and have loved them!  I have to admit, I’ve read a lot of books in between this book and the third book The Nurses of Lark Lane and before I started it, I couldn’t remember which characters this series involved.  I needn’t have worried though because by the end of the first page, everyone and everything came flooding back and I settled down into the story straight away.

This book focusses mainly around Cathy and her, now, husband Gianni.  All of the other characters from the previous books also make an appearance and it was lovely to meet some of them again.  I loved Cathy’s character and it was wonderful that her and Gianni decided to marry, but I did wonder whether Gianni’s travelling fairground life was really the life for Cathy and their daughter, Lucy.  Her previous dreams of completing her nursing training had ended when she discovered she was pregnant, and it was obviously always on her mind whether she could return to finish it.  Whilst Cathy wasn’t particularly enamoured with living in a caravan, I did think the fairground community was really interesting to read about and whilst this book was based in the 60’s it seems that the travelling lifestyle probably hasn’t really changed much over the years!

Based, as the other books are, in Liverpool, I love the descriptions of the City and the images it produces whilst reading!  The dialect isn’t necessarily written as they speak, but as I’m reading the different characters, I could just hear them talking in the Liverpudlian accent!!  The storyline definitely produced a mixed bag of emotions, giving me tears in my eyes at one point and then leaving me with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart at others.  Whilst I really didn’t like Cathy’s ex-stepfather, Jack, I loved his storyline.  It gave the story lots of suspense as to what he would do and it left me with such emotion as to how much I disliked him and how he deserved anything that might happen to him!!  He’s definitely one of those ‘baddies’ that you just can’t stop reading about!

I absolutely loved this book and found it such an easy read.  Once started, I found it hard to put down and before I knew it, I was halfway through the book!!  As like the previous books, this story is warm-hearted, uplifting and full of emotion!  The characters were very likeable (well, some were!!) and you could really connect with them. Very enjoyable and I really hope there is another book to continue this series!  Highly highly recommended
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I’m a huge fan of the Lark Lane series and couldn’t wait to read this one and meet up with all the girls and their families again.

This time the main focus is on Cathy who is newly married and training to become a midwife. With her family eager to help her fulfill her dreams and a husband who wants to see her succeed, things are going well for Cathy. However, a dark cloud looms over her in the form of her mother’s ex-husband Jack. Wow! What a character Jack is!… dark, vile and incredibly sinister. 

I savoured every minute of this book. Cathy’s family and friends are a tight-knit bunch who would literally do anything for each other. Life in Liverpool in the Sixties was tough and yet they faced their hardships with a smile. Pam Howes books are guaranteed to be uplifting and heartwarming, however, she knows how to create utterly vile characters too!

I really enjoyed reading how the girls set up the Woodlands Maternity Home and how much they cared for the young mums to be. There was a huge community spirit and friends and colleagues from the past were remembered and offered employment, making a really special team. A heartwarming and inspiring read!
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If you like Call the Midwife then I am sure you will love The Midwives of Lark Lane.  It is part of the Lark Lane series by Pam Howes but can easily be read as a standalone.
Set in the 1960s, this book follows Cathy, if you have read the previous books you will have come across her already. The book starts with Cathy getting married to Gianni, and follows her struggles of married life living apart with a young child, the joy but also the sadness that is being a midwife, setting up a maternity home and the fact her mother’s ex-husband has escaped prison and is out for revenge.
Through the chapters, we go between Cathy’s point of view and then Jack Dawson’s point of view. Ohh he is a nasty piece of work! I really didn’t like him at all. I don’t want to give the whole story away so all I will say is this is one heck of an emotional rollercoaster of a book but I really liked it. 
This is not something I would see at a book store and pick up usually, however, not I have read this I am definitely going to pick up the rest of the Lark Lane books.
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The Midwives of Lark Lane is the fourth instalment in the Lark Lane series by Pam Howes. I have really enjoyed this series as it has shown such great development since book one in terms of both the story lines and characters. I feel as if I have gotten to know all the characters so well and I am deeply invested in everything that has happened to them. They have all been through so much but there is still plenty that occurs in this new book. For those that are new to this series the prologue gives a quick recap of all that has happened and it was also a great refresher for me as it had been several months since I last read about Cathy and her family. I really enjoy how several strands of the overall story have ran through each book and that things don't get abruptly or easily resolved or cut off. Instead it seems true to life in that issues and problems take time to find their resolution and that the fairytale happily ever after isn't always so easy to find. Admittedly a lot of the things that befall Cathy and her family wouldn't happen to the majority of us but still I think these books have been realistic and I have come to care a great deal about the characters.

It is now June 1960 and whereas the earlier books focused on Cathy's mam Alice, Cathy herself is now a mature young woman and married to Gianni and has her own daughter Lucy. Plenty of trauma and heartache have befallen the family but they now hope to put everything firmly in the past and move forward with nothing but positivity in their lives. But yet there are dark shadows still determined to linger and maybe there are a few more struggles to get through before happiness, peace and fulfilment can be found and maintained. Cathy's longed for nursing career had been put on hold when she discovered she was pregnant although she still keeps in contact with the many friends she has made on her course and who continue to specialise in midwifery which Cathy herself one day hopes to pursue.

Instead now Cathy has moved from Liverpool and the safety net of her family to be with Gianni on the fairground that his family runs. Life at the fairground is one of a nomadic existence where they pack up and move from place to place very regularly. To be honest I didn't think Cathy was really cut out for this as she liked her home comforts and was a very sociable person who liked to be near her friends and family and especially Granny Lomax who has done so much for her in the past. Yes there are plenty of people around at the fair but they are so busy with their daily jobs and keeping the fair running that being cooped up in a caravan with a young child really wasn't going to suit Cathy for very long. Yet on the other hand Cathy's love and devotion towards Gianni deserves much credit as she was putting her family before her own needs. But I could see from the outset that something would have to happen as things for Cathy couldn't go on the way they were.

A tragic event leads to that change and Cathy finds herself back home in Liverpool while Gianni continues his work on the fairground. You couldn't doubt the love that had for each other but it was clear that each had their own path to lead for a little while before some form of reunification could occur. I enjoyed reading of how Cathy settles back down to life at home and how she pushed events to the back of her mind and was able to get on with becoming a midwife. Anyone could see that this was her true calling and passion and the stories of the various women she meets through her job were heart-warming but also sad on certain occasions. The story progresses over several years and there are plenty of ebbs and flows. At certain points it felt as if nothing much was happening and that one or two chapters were just filling in before the story got going again. As for that dark shadow I previously mentioned there was definitely threatening and menacing undercurrents flowing through the book and they came in the form of Alice's ex husband Jack and stepfather to Cathy.

Jack has been in prison for several years following events from the previous book but chapters told from his viewpoint indicate that he is not content and his sinister and evil ways may just about to rear their ugly heads once again. I have never liked the character of Jack and even more so than in this book, there is not one good thing to be said about his character. He is mean to the core, never happy with his lot and always out for revenge. I felt worried for everyone as we come to know the inner thoughts and workings of Jack's mind and what he has in store. I was fearful that his plans may come true and all the happiness and goals that Cathy, her family and friends have worked towards would coming crashing down around them. The tension was well built up and I enjoyed how Jack's element of the story became intertwined with Cathy's very much unbeknownst to her. The unease, unrest and suspicion grew and grew until you just knew something had to give but you hoped that things could hopefully turn out in a positive way. Especially as Cathy and her close work colleagues were so close to seeing their personal long term dream come true. This long term goal aspect of the book was a lovely storyline and how it all came to fruition was just so heart-warming and inspiring. All working together for one common aim and inspiring and helping others as they do so.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Midwives of Lark Lane and I think it is the right time to end this series as everything has come full circle and to add any more would just be stretching things out unnecessarily. In the last quarter of the book the pace really picked up and there was a lot of tying up of loose ends and resolving of things that had been niggling away at me. The threads are pulled together and as Cathy herself is a firm believer of fate she has to remain strong and hope that what life has in store for her will entail things working out OK or maybe Jack will get his own way and enact the revenge he has so desperately wanted to do for long. Long time fans of Pam Howes will love this read and new fans will want to go back and discover the full story of Cathy and her family.
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