Sunday, 24 February 2013

Books #18-19 Shadows of The Workhouse/Farewell To The East End by Jennifer Worth

The Midwife Trilogy


Length Of Time In Possession : Roughly 2 weeks

Last year, I read the first in The Midwife Trilogy "Call The Midwife" on which the BBC series is based. I picked up the sequels in an omnibus of all 3 in the charity shop and proceeded to read. The follow ups are "Shadows of The Workhouse" and "Farewell to the East End"

Like the original book, some of the stories in these novels are familiar from the show, the second two books like the show strike a darker tone reflecting various social issues from the times : Tuberculosis, Backstreet abortions and the Workhouse.

I'm sad to say that I have found the most recent series of Call The Midwife rather depressing and these books are likewise, with few moments of the humorous respite shown at the beginning.

I have to hold my hand up and say I skipped the lengthy section devoted to the old soldier, it was covered in the series and didn't interest me that much then either. I probably need a slapped wrist for saying that.

As the third book concludes Jenny's life at Nonnatus House and brings the book up to date, it is pretty sad to read. The fact that they all lost touch with Chummy, Cynthia's struggle with religious life, then mental illness, then cancer. The eventual irrelevance of the service Nonnatus House offered, its demise and closure, and the deaths of each nun they worked alongside. But death is, inevitably what happens to people who were in their 20s, 60 odd years ago.

Worth reading, but the novels have almost been entirely covered by just two series worth of Call The Midwife "Jenny Lee" did move on to be a midwife in a hospital for nearly twenty years, and I can't help but wonder if the series will evolve and move on from its Nonnatus setting.

Worth reading but didn't set me alight 7/10

Destination : Back to the charity shop

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