Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of Arianna Franklin and C. J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomass remarkable debut, The Midwifes Tale
It is 1644, and Parliaments armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridgets friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.
Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant whos far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Marthas past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the citys most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esthers murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.
"Everything rings true in historian Thomas's superb first mystery, set in 1644 during the English civil war. While antimonarchist rebels lay siege to York, midwife Bridget Hodgson ventures to a city parish not her own to help deliver a bastard child about to be born to a maidservant 'perhaps twenty-three years old and no great beauty,' who refuses to divulge the name of the father. Bridget faces a quandary because she can't legally attend a labor unless she can identify the father, to spare the city having to support the child. Bridget later faces a greater crisis when her dear friend, Esther Cooper, is accused of fatally poisoning her husband, a crime defined as treason. To gain time to investigate, Bridget avers that Esther is pregnant in order to defer the date of execution until she comes to term. Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit's intelligently concealed clues. Agent: Josh Getzler, Hannigan Salky Getzler." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A determined midwife must solve a murder to save a friend from a horrible end. . . . Historian Thomas fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwifes skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Everything rings true in historian Thomass superb first mystery. . . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunits intelligently concealed clues.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
SAM THOMAS is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa, and is currently writing a historical monograph on midwifery in seventeenth-century England. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.