The midwife of Venice

Title: The midwife of Venice
Author: Roberta Rich
Publisher: Ebury
ISBN: 978-0-091944-90-2
Buy it? Amazon UK

Hannah Levi is famous throughout Venice for her skills as a midwife, but as a Jew, she’s not allowed to help Christian women.
One night, the Conte di Padovani appears at her doorstep and asks her to help his wife, who is giving birth since two days, without result.

Hannah is facing a difficult choice, attending a Christian woman and receiving a generous reward or letting her die. If she helps the Conte and his wife, she receives enough money to pay the ransom of her imprisoned husband.
She knows that if she fails to save the child that she won’t be safe and what about her husband? Will he ever be with her again?

I didn’t know what kind of novel this one would be, but it turned out to be an amazing mix of suspense and love set in Venice and Malta during the 16th century.
I loved the character of Hannah, who was willing to help other people, even when it could endanger her own life. The story is about love and how far you go for you friends and family.
The story is told from two different points of view: Hannah’s and her husband’s Isaac. I have to admit that I was less appealed by the events around Isaac, but of course they were important for the story, especially for the ending. It’s not that I didn’t like Isaac, not at all, but as a slave, his life was less interesting than Hannah’s.

What I especially loved about this book was the setting. Venice and it’s Jewish ghetto are well described and as I’m a very curious person, this made the story even more perfect. In fact it’s the main reason why I love historical fiction: all the information about how people lived centuries ago  is very interesting.
You also get to know something about slaves, which has always intrigued me, but of course not in a good way.
The ending was beautiful. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m happy with how it is and I think everyone who loves suspense and a bit of history has to read this great novel!

Rating: 4 stars!

by Katrien

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