Cover Image: The Midwife's Secret

The Midwife's Secret

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Member Reviews

My thanks to the Author publisher's and NetGalley for providing me with a Kindle version of this book to read and honestly review.
An atmospheric engaging story of two families spread across three timelines full of lies and secrets, which occasionally taxed my ageing memory, but it was worth it.
A tale of betrayal and loss but also love and loyalty, full of brave fearless strong independent women. A novel of intrigue suspense with the occasional gob smacking surprise along the way. Though a somewhat rushed expected ending but overall totally recommended.
As a sixty four year old grumpy Yorkshire man I am sure I am not the Author's target audience but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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In this story of social injustice, corruption, and various crimes the reader meets the James family and the Hiltons. It is an extraordinary tale and the author has really done herself proud with some excellent characterisation. Those people that stand out for me are the despicable Leo Hilton, Vanessa Hilton and architect, Willow James. The story spans three different timelines - 1945, 1969 and 2017. In 1945, a midwife accused of a tragedy she is not responsible for tears her family apart; in 1969, Alice Hilton mysteriously goes missing; in 2017, Willow James is determined to uncover the truth about the past. A pacy, intriguing and satisfying read that gives the reader food for thought.

I read The Midwife's Secret in staves with other Pigeonholers as part of a group. A special thank you to Headline, Emily Gunnis, NetGalley and The Pigeonhole for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC of this book. I have chosen to write this honest review voluntarily.
This is the first book I have read by this author, a standalone novel. My review will not contain any spoilers. There were a few mistakes such as 'he sat in silence' in sentences following each other, Willow hearing her father's tv playing outside his home, seeing it playing rock music videos then 2 sentences later turning the tv on, and Vanessa having 'oxygen in her nose'. There are also a few typos - missing and mispelt words, and words run together without spaces.
It is written in 3 timelines around the families of a landowner and one of the villagers who are linked. There are some very good descriptions, such as Vanessa's feelings of confusion and forgetfulness although I must admit to disliking the repetition of churning stomachs, feelings of nausea and vomiting that littered the final 20% of the book - there can be too much description! The sections about the midwife were very interesting and realistic. The characters develop as the book progresses, and most are unpleasant as the twists and turns reveal secrets about their behaviour. This is a clever plotline told in a way that proves to be thrilling and exciting. My only criticism is that I think the final reveal about Nell is somewhat unrealistic; I'd imagine that it is hard to maintain secrecy about a young girl who had to be sent to a sanatorium to recover from T.B. in a small village.
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Story told in two timelines,tho both still fairly modern. Secrets and lies abound and link both stories. A good read with interesting characters.
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This multi-generational story sweeps us through decades of secrets and even when the story comes right up to date, the complicated mystery of Yew Tree Manor still reaches out to future generations.

Alice Hilton is just six years old when she goes missing on the night of her parents New Year's Eve party and despite a frantic search, little Alice is never found. This disturbing thread which runs like a river throughout the story will have tragic repercussions for all those who remember that snowy night in 1969. Whilst the story is very much caught up in past events, especially that of midwife, Tessa James, who was involved in her own tragic events linking her to Yew Tree Manor in 1945, there is also a modern day element to the story as architect Willow James attempts to clear the way for a redevelopment of Yew Tree Manor.

The author writes well and very cleverly weaves all the twists and turns of this complex story into a compelling read. I particularly enjoyed the midwifery elements and was eager to discover just what secret the eponymous midwife was hiding. Overall, I thought the story flowed with just enough tension, and even though I had pretty much thought out the final twist, the denouement when it arrived was handled well with a fine sense of drama. I liked how everything was finished to a satisfactory conclusion.

The Midwife's Secret is a multi-generational drama filled with secrets, sorrow and the need for restitution.
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My thanks to Emily for allowing me to read this book prior to the publication date. In fact it was so good that I read it a second time with a book group.  This is a story which involves 2 families, The Hiltons who have owned Yew Tree Manor for generations and the James, who have lived at the Vicarage. 
1969 The Hiltons had been preparing for a year to host the New Year’s Eve party for 200 guests. They were distracted by a few last minute issues and expected that everyone would change their arrangements to suit them.   When 6 year old Alice Hilton disappears, staff are sent out to look for her.  As the last person to admit to seeing Alice, suspicion falls on Bobby James.   
2017. Architect, Willow James is working on the development plan for Yew Tree Manor and the estate.  Left to present the plans to the local residents, Willow is asked what has happened to the graves in the grounds of the Vicarage. Kellie, the office manager warns Willow that their boss, Mike Scott, is not above making changes to the plans without consulting her. Willow starts to look into the history of the area, uncovering disturbing information.  
 On the day that the current generation of the Hilton family are moving out of the Manor, their daughter Sienna goes missing.  As the construction company start to prepare the ground, a major police search is unsuccessful in finding Sienna.
Is history repeating itself?     
The story gradually unravels the past and exposes the secrets of the characters in the book.
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Extremely gripping journey through several generations of two families forever linked through their relationships despite being on opposite ends of the social and economic divide.  The perceived "witchcraft" of midwifery  and the restrictions on life as a female are echoed through the years.  The Hiltons experience privilege and status whilst the James' often live hand to mouth.  The priest hole in the vicarage where the James family have lived proves to be a hiding place for children where they find sanctuary over the years.  Forever scapegoated by the Hilton's and held responsible for the HIltons' crimes the story is often overshadowed by hardship, separation, unjust punishment and poverty.  Willow, fifth generation from Tessa, has the opportunity to change all this but at what cost? Secrets become exposed and old mysteries do not rest.
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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mine

Loved this
lots of threads and brilliantly written

 I found this compulsive reading
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I found this book quite hard going. I'm usually a fan of multi timeline stories but maybe there were just too many timelines going backwards and forwards.  I did finish the book, although I guessed the twist quite early on.
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Absolutely fantastic!  The author has managed to write about two different families and span three different time periods in this book, creating one fabulous story.  

Sometimes at first I did feel a little lost with the different characters and the time periods but I soon got on board with who each character was and how they were connected.  While I could guess certain things were about to happen, I wasn't always right as there were many twists and turns and even when I was - I felt more proud of myself rather than disappointed for guessing a twist, as it really was an intricately written story.

A gripping, emotional, at times heart-breaking mystery which I'd highly recommend.  I haven't come across this author before but will certainly look out for her name in the future!
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I absolutely loved the story and devoured it in two sittings, it was always one more chapter!

It's told over different timelines and totally draws the reader in. It opens in 1969, with a New Year's Eve party at Yew Tree Manor. The Hilton family are getting ready for the party of the year. Tempers are frayed and their little daughter Alice disappears after going out to play in the snow. Her brother claims that local farmhand, Bobby James who lives at the Vicarage with his dad and sister is to blame as he was the last person to see her. 

In the past we read about Tessa James, the midwife would help anyone in distress, even taking them to the safety of her secret place at home. When she's made the scapegoat for the local doctor's mistake the family realise their lives will never be the same again.  This bring true heartache and grief to the family (and to the reader).

In the present day, Willow James is working as an Architect on the new development at Yew Tree. She feels that her boss and Leo Hilton are keeping secrets from her and she decides to delve into the past on the quiet as she feels that some things aren't quite right.. When another child goes missing Willow finds herself instrumental to finding her rather than letting history repeat itself...

I found the interwoven and intertwined stories fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking with plenty of intrigue and mystery. So highly recommend. It's one of my favourite reads this year.
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One of the best books I’ve read this year! Emily Gunnis has woven 3 timelines about 2 families and a mystery that has been unsolved for over 40 years. Beautifully crafted with strong female characters who you will love and one character that you will find yourself hating with a passion, The Midwife’s Secret is a gripping and emotional mystery. 
If you love Kate Moreton then Emily Gunnis is the author for you. This is the third book of hers that I’ve read and each one just keeps getting better! I adored every single page!
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If you enjoy books with multiple timelines, then this is the book for you! Three to be precise. The book follows two families over 60 or so years - the James' and the Hiltons. It begins with the tragic death of Evelyn Hilton, which midwife Tessa James becomes unwittingly embroiled in. Forward on 20 years and there's the disappearance of a child rocks the James family. To the present day, where a housing development is due to have the James and Hiltons family homes demolished. 

I liked this book but I did find it a bit confusing trying to keep track of everyone, who they were and where they stood in the history of everything. There's a family tree at the beginning of the book but it's hard to look when you're reading an ebook. I would have liked to have learned a little bit more about Tessa too I think. She left the story really early. I did really enjoy the book though, it really kept my attention, and it was one of those 'one more chapter' books!
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   Struggled with this one whilst I quite enjoyed it I did not really like it if that makes sense.   I am sure if I tried this at a different time I would have enjoyed this more.
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Blockbuster of a book spanning generations . The lives of two families are intricately entwined by their shared history. This book has so many elements; pathos, tragedy, heartbreak,intrigue, mystery social history . Starting with the midwife who devoted her life to helping other women , falsely set up by a cowardly doctorto face conviction for murder, we see history apparently repeat itself with false accusations when 2 children go missing in similar circumstances decades on, both seemingly linked to the old vicarage, where the eponymous midwife lived all those years ago. I was totally engrossed in this story from start to finish. Spellbindingly good!
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The Midwifes Secret by Emily Gunnis

A good book , that keeps your interest from the beginning. It tells the story over several generations as timeslip chapters which can be a little confusing at times , but the author easily captured my interest in the two families at war with each other and the secret the midwife held.
Great characters , some you could feel akin too , and others not so much !
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I found this book quite confusing as the characters are very interlinked. I realised the biggest twist quite early on and nothing really surprised me. 

The book is set over 3 timelines with two families. I do like stories with shifts in time and this was no exception. I just found it confusing keeping all the characters apart, 

It’s a well written book and the pace is good. All in all, I enjoyed it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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Heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time, a tale of a midwife and the family and history that intertwined her life moving through the decades. Atmospheric and gripping this novel will keep you entertained until the final chapter, I especially loved the timeliness changes throughout and I definitely recommend  it.
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Wow, I loved this book!! I love books that change between different timelines and this one is just incredible. A real page Turner and I couldn’t put it down. A few twists and turns that caught you off guard and suspenseful in places. Absolutely loved it
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What an absolutely fascinating book. I couldn’t believe the beginning of the book was so recent. I really thought it was back in Victorian times. A little girl goes missing and the wrong person is blamed and then many years later another little girl goes missing in the same house. It’s really very cleverly crafted and I started reading faster so that they could manage to find her in time. So many family problems but a very powerful read.
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