The Midwife’s Choice By Delia Parr

I thoroughly enjoyed Delia Parr’s 1st book in this series, The Midwife’s Tale, and I liked this one even more! Although you definitely want to read the other book, this one can be read as a standalone. Where the first book was exciting this one really steps up the suspense and mystery!
I really like Martha Cade, the main character, a widowed midwife in the mid-1800. She has poured her heart and soul into to profession for many years. At age 42, she is not like most heroines, young and just staring out in life. This makes her even more interesting to me. She is a tough independent woman that has weathered many storms.
Her only daughter who has run away from home in the previous book returns but her homecoming does not have the outcome Martha envisioned. She is living with to elderly sisters over their bakery business. They are very sweet and loving ladies and have taken Martha as part of their family, but the hide a very dark secret. Thomas, an old flame of Martha’s who is also widow continues his pursuit of her which causes her to question her past and future.
Her job as a midwife and making her own way has molded Martha into quite a formidable lady. She has a take charge, decisive, “my way or the highway” attitude. While these are wonderful qualities for bringing new life into the world, and caring for new mothers, they are not so great in personal relationships.
We forget that other era’s had many of the same social problems we do, but did not have all the resources we have to deal with them. Solutions relied on the love and commitment of the community. Martha reaches out to help a young woman caught up in domestic abuse, a disabled elderly man, and an orphan. I love the way she has a personal ministry with such love and compassion for others. Her unwavering faith in God and her strong relationship with Him are the foundation that brings her through so much. Sometimes though she tries to use that strength to fight against God’s plan, but she always surrenders and sees the error of her way. As always I enjoy learning more about the practice of midwifery during that time.
This book received this book at no charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

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The Body Under the Bridge, A Father Gilbert Mystery By Paul McCusker

This past year I was introduced to Father Gilbert audio CD’s I purchased at our library sale with 3 of the mysteries. I knew I was hooked! I was very happy to see a new mystery in paperback! After reading it though, I have somewhat mixed feelings.
Father Gilbert is not your average priest. He once worked for Scotland Yard as a detective and turned to the serve in the church after the death of his wife. I think his present vocation really adds to the stories. I mean who wouldn’t believe a man of the cloth? Especially one held in such high regard in the town where he lives.
The murder being investigated involves the present and the past, 200 years past that is. The deeper the case is probed, the more complicated it becomes. A young man jumps from the church tower after giving Father Gilbert a very old medallion. Not long after a bog body is found on nearby land with witnesses making it clear that the jumper could not have been at the church when he was. Was what the priest saw real? Yet the relic he held in his hands was very real.
As the story unfolds, the baffled cleric has more visions and paranormal experiences. There is a great deal of occult activity and even description of satanic rituals. It was definitely a battle between good and evil, but I did not feel as a Christian mystery that it should have been so graphic in areas of evil and violence. I do not deny that they author is a talented writer, but I was disappointed.
The audio books I listened to had mildly paranormal suggestions but were wholesome and in good taste. His past with Focus on the Family gave this book instant credibility for me, as I know their Christian standards are high. I have not given up on Mr. McCusker, because I did so enjoy his previous Radio Theater series, but I cannot recommend this one as Christian reading material.
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have written are my own.

Ashes to Ashes By Mel Starr

I am so hooked on Mel Starr’s books! Each time I finish one, I am sad and can’t wait for the next one to be published! His murder mysteries are for sure one of a kind!
I never tire of Hugh de Singleton, Medieval sleuth, doctor and surgeon. The reader becomes involved in all aspects of his life, on every level: professional, social, spiritual, family, and emotional. Through him you step back over 700 years and experience living through his eyes. I love his fantastic wit and dry humor. I can even imagine his tone of voice and mannerisms as he speaks.
In each new book I learn even more history about the 14th century and the incredible medical practices during that time. I didn’t realize the surgeon was also the coroner, with only his backyard or kitchen table to gather information about the deceased!
In this 8th mystery a person’s bones are found in the ashes of a fire after the Midsummer’s celebration. I think this is Hugh’s hardest case to date. There is little to go on and the clues keep shifting from person to person. I began to wonder if he would be able to solve this one, but he did! It was very suspenseful! He and his family faced greater danger than ever before. As with all Mr. Starr’s books, I was entertained, captivated, and surprised! I would give this book six stars if I could! If you like history and mystery you want to read this book!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange or an honest review. The opinions I expressed are my own.