Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

In The Midwife's Confession , author Diane Chamberlain weaves a complicated but very readable story that uncovers the secrets friends keep from each other. Tara, Emerson and Noelle met in college and remained close through adulthood even living near each other. When Noelle commits suicide, Tara and Emerson are shocked and they get their first clue that there is much about their friend that they didn't know. They knew she loved being a midwife and that she was eccentric but they didn't realize she was suffering. When they uncover an unsent letter Noelle left behind, the get a glimpse into the cause of her suffering but that is only the beginning of the secrets Noelle held.

 In addition to the storyline of Tara and Emerson unraveling the mystery of their friend Noelle's secret, there are a few secondary storylines that ultimately connect to the main storyline. At the book's opening, Tara has lost her husband, Sam - he was killed in a car accident and Tara and her daughter Grace are slowly adjusting to the loss and learning to have a relationship with each other. Grace was closer to Sam than to her mother; that, coupled with the typical mother/daughter teenage conflict adds another stress as they grieve. Grace struggles with feeling separate from her mother and does not see any similarities between them; without her father to buffer her relationship with her mom, Grace is filled with resentment and pulls further away from her mother. Tara is trying to move on following her husband's death but feels his loss acutely every day. She spends time with her husband's friend and partner because it makes her feel close to Sam. Through her relationship with him and the investigation she and Emerson do into Noelle's death, Tara also discovers that her husband may have held some secrets on Noelle's behalf.

Anna Knightly, the intended recipient of Noelle's letter, heads the Missing Children Network. It is an organization she became involved with when her oldest daughter, Lily, disappeared from the hospital shortly after she was born. She was never found but Anna hopes to help other parents of missing children through her work leading the network. Her second daughter, Haley, is facing a recurrence of leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. It is not lost on Anna that Haley's sister Lily would likely have been a match but she tries to put those thoughts aside as she goes public about Haley's condition in an effort to find a match in time. How are childless Noelle and Anna connected? What was Noelle confessing to Anna as she started her unfinished letter?  

My Thoughts
What I have laid out above may seem complicated but Diane Chamberlain expertly weaves it all together and I never felt lost as I read the book. As I have found in all of her novels, the characters are very well drawn and that makes it easy to identify them as the novel moves from storyline to storyline. The element of mystery created by Noelle's suicide and the discovery that she had a huge secret kept the novel moving and created just the right amount of suspense. I highly recommend this one - the author is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of the book club hosted by Great Thoughts


  1. I do have a copy of this one Colleen. For some reason I haven't read this author in a while, but have enjoyed her in the past. Thanks for the great review.

  2. I've only read one of Chamberlain's books and I really enjoyed it. This sounds excellent as well. The fact that it's complicated yet easy to follow speaks volumes about the author's abilities.

  3. Ahh, I've had my eye on this one and may need to check this one out soon. I don't mind a storyline that involves a lot of layers to it; I think it gives much more foundation for the meat of a story, so I'm all in. Will need to pick this one up.

  4. Great review! I agree completely about the skills of Diane Chamberlain! I would put her up against Jodi Piccoult any day of the week!

  5. I had never been an avid reader, but Diane Chamberlain changed that: I have devoured 19 of her charming, twisty, turny novels and look forward to the others yet to be enjoyed. Keep writing, Diane! What talent!

  6. Just finished it this morning and enjoyed it!