Posts Tagged With: Christine Blevins

Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

In 1746 the battle of Culloden in the Scottish Highlands nearly wiped out the Highland Clans. This is the story of Maggie Duncan. At seven years old she was the sole survivor when her village was destroyed by the English army because the villagers had aided the Highlanders. She is able to escape and then helps a mortally wounded soldier find his way home. Luckily for Maggie the soldier’s wife is a midwife and she adopts Maggie, raises and educates her while passing along her healing skills.
When she is twenty-one Maggie’s foster mother dies and with her goes Maggie’s protection from the neighbors. They look on her as cursed since she survived when everyone else in her village perished in the attack. They are cruel and narrow minded, so she is unable to make a living for herself since the locals will not accept her as a healer. Eventually she decides to start fresh in America and sells herself as an indentured servant in order to obtain passage on a ship.
Upon arrival in Virginia, the ship’s captain sells at auction the four year bonds for each passenger he has brought over. Maggie narrowly avoids being bought by an arrogant, drunken nobleman who has made the passage on the same boat. She is bought by a frontiersman, Seth, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife and children. He desperately needs help as his wife is ill and pregnant and physically unable to cope with frontier life. For Seth, Maggie is the answer to a prayer.
Maggie fits in well with Seth’s family and the other settlers in that area of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is smart and skilled and she quickly starts to learn the medical uses of the local plants. But just when everything seems to be going well, disaster strikes and she must use all of her wits to survive.
This is a terrific, enthralling story of frontier life in colonial Virginia. The characters were compelling (or repulsive, as the case may be) and the settings were wonderfully described. I loved the balanced depiction of the Native Americans of the time, showing them from their own point of view as well as an outsider’s. I also loved that the author peppered the text with Scottish words. They were easily defined by the context but I had a great time looking up their meanings (ie: sclim=climb, swither=to be uncertain or hesitate). A really well done historical novel. I’m looking forward to future books by this author!
Midwife of the Blue Ridge is published by Berkley, ISBN 9780425221686

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Maggie knows her life is not meant to live happily ever after. As a child in Scotland, her father goes off to war, never to return, and her mother is killed when the English massacre her village. Taken in by Hannah, a midwife, she quickly learns the craft, becoming a skilled healer and midwife herself. But the villagers are wary of her, calling her Dark Maggie, and believing she is possessed of the Evil Eye. When Hannah dies of consumption, Maggie has no choice by to leave the village, again on her own.

Persuaded to sail to America as an indentured servant, Maggie faces four years of uncertainty as the slave of whoever buys her contract. After catching the eye of a ruthless English nobleman, she is saved when Seth, a poor farmer, buys her contract to secure help for his sickly wife who is about to give birth. Maggie soon finds a home and friends with Seth and Naomi, and finds her skills as healer and midwife in great demand. However, threats from Native tribes, as well as the return of the evil nobleman, threaten Maggie’s newfound happiness. Can she truly have her own happy ending, or is she cursed, as people have believed all along?

First time novelist Christine Blevins has certainly started out with a bang! Midwife catches your attention from the first lines, and keeps you turning pages until the very end. Blevins creates a cast of characters that is lively and believable, and her heroine, Maggie, is unforgettable. Level-headed and wise, but with wit and spunk, and a big heart, you can’t help rooting for Maggie through all her highs and lows. Blevins’ writing is excellent, with the ability to transport the reader to villages in Scotland and America in such a way that it almost seems you are there.

Blevins also paints an incredibly realistic portrait of life for women in the 1700s. It was hard and full of danger, and Blevins illustrates both. At times the violence might be too much for some readers, but I felt it was justified to truly show the life Maggie was forced to live. The action is quick and consistent, making it extremely difficult to stop once you have started reading this excellent novel. I would recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction, and sincerely hope this is just the beginning of a long career for Christine Blevins!

Finished: 9/1/08
Source: Christine Blevins
Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by: Elizabeth

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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