Plot or Premise
Hannah Trevor is a midwife in 1786 colonial America. She has 3 dead children, a dead husband, and a live daughter whose unacknowledged / unclaimed father is a neighbour. Hannah is present when the authorities discover the raped and mutilated body of another village resident, who has left behind a letter accusing some of the village elite of the crime, including Hannah’s former lover.
What I Liked
The plotting is well-done, if somewhat slow to get to the discovery of the body. So well-done in fact that this would be easily readable without the murder mystery (i.e. if it was just a historical novel about life in colonial America). And perhaps that is the highest compliment to be paid to this book — that it works well on different levels: historical novel (the life of the midwife, the role of women), a mystery novel (who raped and killed the woman?), and, to some extent, a love story (the relationship between Hannah and Daniel, her child’s father).
What I Didn’t Like
I figured out the murder mystery far too early, and I spotted other murders long before they actually happened. Fortunately, the great writing carried me to the end anyways.