I started and finished this book in one day. It is by no means a short book. But 90000 degree temperatures that force you to stay locked in your bedroom with the air conditioner lead to a nice day/evening of reading.
Midwife of Venice starts off rolling. Hannah, a Jewish midwife, lives in the Jewish ghetto in Venice in 1575. She has gained a reputation of tempting even the most stubborn baby out of the mother’s womb. One night, a wealthy Venice Conte and his brother come knocking on her door. The Conte’s wife is dying, and the child she carries will die without Hannah’s help. One problem. It is illegal for a Christian to receive medical assistance from a Jew.
Hannah risks her own life, and the lives of every member of the ghetto by agreeing to help the Conte. She manages to bring the child to the world with the help of her birthing spoons, which are early forceps. She is afraid of being branded a witch, and demands an outrageous amount for her services, 200 ducets. She only asks for this ridiculous amount to ransom her husband Isaac from Malta.
The story alternates between Hannah and Isaac and how they struggle to find each other and their struggle for survival. I loved the book, the pace was great, with very few stretches that stretched on tediously. Not for the squeamish with the birthing ordeal.