Title: The Midwife’s Confession
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Noelle, Emerson, and Tara have been best friends since college. They know everything about one another, or so Emerson and Tara think. But when Noelle commits suicide with absolutely no indication she was depressed, Emerson and Tara are shocked and devastated. They feel guilty that they didn’t see any signs and they begin to dig into her life to see what was so bad that Noelle couldn’t live with herself. But as they begin looking into Noelle’s past and find things they didn’t expect, they start to wonder if they ever even knew the woman who claimed to be their closest friend.
Diane Chamberlain writes thought provoking and engaging women’s fiction novels (reviews of The Lies We Told and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes), so reading her newest release, The Midwife’s Confession, was a real no-brainer for me. Once again, I was plunged into a world of secrets where I had to know the answers, and couldn’t put the book down until I had them.
Like Emerson and Tara, I was shocked at how much Noelle kept from her two best friends. How can you live a life with so many secrets, unable to share yourself with those closest to you? At the same time I pitied Noelle, I disliked her. She made some very bad choices, and began a downward spiral that ended with her suicide. That didn’t preclude me liking the book, though. As Tara and Emerson are learning the same thing as the reader, they constantly have to reevaluate what they thought they knew about Noelle. It’s an interesting and difficult process.
At the same time, though, Tara and Emerson are still having to live their own lives. Tara especially was a character that I really sympathized with and rooted for. Not only has her teenage daughter shut her out, but Tara’s beloved husband died in a car accident not long ago. She is trying to deal with so many changes in her life that finding out about Noelle threatens to push her over the edge. I loved how well written and sympathetic all the characters were, as well as how the book was a great balance between plot and characters.
As always, The Midwife’s Confession would make an excellent book club pick. It’s longer than many women’s fiction novels, but it’s so well written and engaging that it goes very quickly. Additionally, there is so much to discuss within its pages. Diane Chamberlain has written another winner with this book, and I already can’t wait to see what she does next.