Thursday, July 5, 2012

THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE: A REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE
BY ROBERTA RICH 

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers’ bellies, aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed.  THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE by Roberta Rich unfolds when a wealthy count implores Hannah to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son: Hannah is conflicted.  A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea.  

Can Hannah refuse to help a suffering woman?  Hannah’s dilemma pits her against a treacherous family that endangers both the baby and her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life.  Not since The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.  Readers will devour Roberta Rich’s THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE and stay closely alongside Hannah Levi to see her future unfold.

AN EXCERPT FROM THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE:
Chapter 1
Ghetto Nuovo, Venice

1575

At midnight, the dogs, cats, and rats rule Venice. The Ponte di Ghetto Nuovo, the bridge which leads to the ghetto, trembles under the weight of sacks of rotting vegetables, rancid fat, and vermin. Shapeless matter, perhaps animal, floats to the surface of Rio di San Girolamo and hovers on its greasy waters. Through the mist rising from the canal the cries and grunts of foraging pigs echo. Seeping refuse on the streets renders the pavement slick and the walking treacherous.
It was on such a night that the men came for Hannah. She heard their voices, parted the curtains, and tried to peer down into the campo below. Without the charcoal brazier heating her room, thick ice had encrusted the inside of the window and obscured her view. Warming two coins on her tongue, grimacing from the bitter metallic taste, she pressed them to the glass with her thumbs until they melted a pair of eyeholes through which she could stare....To finish reading this excerpt, visit Roberta Rich's website HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Roberta Rich was born in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Colima, Mexico.  THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE is her first novel.  Roberta welcomes visitors to www.robertarich.com, facebook.com/midwifeofvenice, and @robertaannrich. To read more about Roberta's bio, visit her website HERE.

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:
THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE is historical fiction at its best in which author Roberta Rich gives readers a rich narrative set in the 16th Century. The main storyline takes place in the depressing ghetto area of Venice where the Jews who lived there faced many difficulties. There was a great deal of bigotry and discrimination against the Jews back then. The setting itself of Renaissance Venice becomes as much a part of this engrossing romantic thriller as do the main characters, Hannah Levi, her loving husband Isaac, and her antagonistic sister, Jessica.

Hannah is a midwife in that Jewish ghetto back in 1575. Her working as a midwife was against the law back then but Hannah takes a chance, against the advice of her rabbi, and comes to the aid of a Christian countess. The countess needed her skills to give birth to her child and had promised Hannah a large bonus fee for her services. Hannah hopes to use that to pay a ransom to free her husband who was being held in Malta.

I found the description of Hannah’s midwife skills to be fascinating and the devotion between Hannah and Isaac quite remarkable considering the odds facing them. Hannah and Isaac narrate alternating chapters by Author Roberta Rich thus giving the story a more intimate feel. They are devoted to each other and both are set on finding their way back to each other. THE MIDWIFE OF VENICE is a quick, well written read and involvement in the characters and the dangers they face will keep you turning pages. Hannah and Isaac, along with Hannah’s sister Jessica, who becomes a Christian courtesan, face danger and death. Just when you think the happy ending is coming, another twist comes along and the excitement ensues. I wasn’t sure about this book when I first saw it but it only took a few pages to grab me and propel me into the lives of these brave characters and their story.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO MELISSA AND THE FOLKS AT 
SIMON AND SCHUSTER, I HAVE ONE COPY OF
THIS INTERESTING NOVEL TO GIVE AWAY
 
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
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GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
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GOOD LUCK!

208 comments:

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Renee G said...

Would love to read this. Both the location - Venice and the period this book was set in intrigue me.
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Renee G said...

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debbie said...

This sounds like a really good historical novel. I would love to read more about that time period.
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Anonymous said...

This book sounds absolutely fascinating! I loved People of the Book, and as I just had a baby the field of midwives intrigues me. Thanks for the chance! Liene @ LLucane at yahoo dot com

holdenj said...

I like historical aspect of a woman who worked back then and there's also the religious aspect as well.
Plus, I really liked People of the Book.
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mamabunny13 said...

I like that the narration alternates between Hannah and Isaac. This sounds like a fascinating story and I would love to read it!
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Beachreader said...

This book seems like it would be a fascinating look at Venice in the 1500s and the differing classes.
By the way the term "ghetto" originated in Venice in the Jewish comuunity.

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Beachreader said...

I follow GFC
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rubynreba said...

I'd enjoy reading about Venice.
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Margie said...

This book sounds fascinating. It will be interesting to follow the midwive's conflicts, especially since it was illegal in that time.
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I loved the photo of Venice on the author's website. I chuckled when I read her comment about her oversexed parakeets!
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petite said...

This novel sounds fascinating. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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Carol N Wong said...

This sounds like wonderful historical fiction. I have read quite a few books on Jewish history and would love to read about this time and place. What a horrible choice the midwife has to make. I want to read this so much!

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Carol N Wong said...

I tweeted:

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Carol N Wong said...

I looked at her biograpy page on her website. She said that Buffalo, New York in January is not best place and time to be born! I really agree with that. I have only been in Buffalo one time in my life but I would also say that August is not the best time to be born there.

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traveler said...

Captivating historical. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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lag123 said...

I would like to know more about the delivery spoons. Forceps???

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justpeachy36 said...

I always find books about midwives interesting. This looks like a good one.

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Tore said...

I love the time period and Venice. I would love to read this book. It has a good storyline. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Bethie said...

I love historical fiction. This looks like a really good story.

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I follow on GFC

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Pamela Keener said...

I loved your review and it makes me want to know more.
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Chèli said...

anything set in Venice is interesting


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