The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain
Published by Mira, an imprint of Harlequin
Review copy provided by the publicist
Noelle, Tara, and Emerson have been close friends since college, when Tara and Emerson were roommates and Noelle was their RA. Now, in their forties, Noelle has committed suicide, leaving Tara and Emerson shocked, as Noelle, a midwife, had never showed any signs of being depressed or wanting to end her life. The only clue the women have as to why Noelle did what she did is an unfinished letter written to a woman named Anna, apologizing for some unknown grievous action on Noelle’s part. With this letter in hand, Tara and Emerson go on a search to understand their friend, to learn things about her they never could have expected, and to uncover the truth about what made Noelle feel so guilty that she had to end her own life.
I’ve been hearing great things about Diane Chamberlain’s novels for years, but for some reason have never thought to read one. Thank goodness I was contacted by the publicist for this one, because I absolutely loved this novel and will definitely be reading more of Chamberlain’s books in the very near future.
One of the reasons I enjoy women’s fiction so much is how deeply these books tend to explore women’s friendships and relationships with one another, and that was done so beautifully in The Midwife’s Confession. Tara and Emerson are BFF’s – the kind of friends who know every single thing about one another and are always the first person each other calls in times of trouble. Even their daughters, Grace and Jenny, are best friends. The dynamic of their friendship, although they are a bit older than I am, reminded me a lot of my relationships with my closest friends. I loved reading about their history as best friends – how they met in college, and afterwards their husbands became friends and they all lived in the same town, etc. Their friendship isn’t perfect – at one point Emerson learns some information that could really affect Tara and doesn’t tell her until days later – but it was realistic and I loved reading about it.
The plot of this novel really kept me on my toes, and it is the kind of book that was incredibly difficult for me to put down. I was sucked into the story and was just as anxious as Tara and Emerson to find out the truth about Noelle. I have to admit that I correctly guessed a pretty major plot point; however the fact that I knew what would happen did not damper my enjoyment of the story – rather, I was excited to continue reading to find out if I guessed correctly or not! When all was said and done, I found myself extremely satisfied with the ending – it was sweet without being saccharine. The perfect ending to an overall excellent and compelling read.
The Midwife’s Confession really made me think about how well we know the people we are closest to. Tara and Emerson thought they knew everything about Noelle, but it turned out that she had so many secrets. It left me thinking about my own friendships – how would I react if one of my best friends turned out to have a ton of important stuff hidden from me? I’d like to think I would embrace it, but if these secrets turned out to be as damaging as Noelle’s were, I’m not so sure I could.
The Midwife’s Confession is a compelling family drama with lots of excellent characters and a plot that never stops. I highly recommend this novel for fans of women’s fiction. I definitely plan to read more of Diane Chamberlain’s work as soon as possible.