The Midwife's Daughter
A deeply moving tale, set in a small Cornish village just before the First World War, about two sisters and the young black orphan who changes their lives
'Anyone in Silkhampton of the poorer class, aged twenty-eight or under, stood a fair chance of having been seen into the world by Violet Dimond. She was Mrs Dimond, urgently sent for in the middle of the night, ready to practice the arcane behind closed doors, in possession of the grisliest secrets of the hidden adult world . . .'It's the turn of the twentieth century and Violet Dimond, the Holy Terror, is the village's best handywoman. She's the last of a dying breed, as for some the good old ways are no longer good enough: medicine is moving forward, with all the modern formalities and administration that will change her profession for ever. But Violet does not know that change is coming – or that her decision to adopt a young black orphan, Gracie, will have far-reaching and unforeseen consequences for herself and her twin sister, Bea. In what sort of world will Grace grow up, with war and change galloping towards them all? And what was it like to be black and a young girl in a Cornish village then? A moving tale of prejudice, struggle, love, tragedy, bravery and the changing lives of women in the twentieth century, The Midwife's Daughter grips the reader all the way to its quietly heartbreaking conclusion.
'She is precisely the kind of writer whose novels you'd expect to find advertised on tube billboards and selling in the hundred thousands – plotty, emollient, fluent, concerned with relationships and what fosters or thwarts them, and capable of making you root for the characters' Guardian'Strong, affecting, vividly depicted . . . It is a pure pleasure to read' Lionel Schriver, Telegraph
Patricia Ferguson's first book, Family Myths and Legends, won the Betty Trask, David Higham and Somerset Maugham awards. Her most recent books, It So Happens and Peripheral Vision, were both longlisted for the Orange Prize. She lives in Bristol.