Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review: The Midwife of Venice by Robrta Rich

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
Gallery Books
February 2012
Hannah Levi is a Jewish midwife in 16th century Venice.  Despite segregation of the Jews, her skills are known to all Jews and gentiles.  When a Venetian nobleman shows up in her ghetto, she knows he must be desperate to sidestep Papal Edict to ask a Jewish midwife to save his child.  Hannah would love to refuse his request and avoid any trouble for herself or her people.  However, several months before her husband was captured and was held for ransom.  Helping the Content could give her enough money to pay the ransom.
Of course she agrees to help with so much riding on her decision.  Ransoming Isaac is the most important thing;enough to make her more than willing to disobey both Catholic and Jewish law.
We also find out that Isaac is alive and struggling to his life as a slave.  A man who uses his wits he has difficulty adjusting to the physical labor of his new life.  Dodging all the attempts at forced conversion, he uses his wits to try to better his situation.
There are many twists and turns.  Thwarting laws are only the beginning of Hannah's problems.  Dragged into the intrigues of a Venetian noble family ,she crosses boundaries and makes alliances she never thought she would, sacrificing everything for Isaac.
This was a great debut novel.  Ms. Rich did a great job of building an authentic and historically correct 16th century Venice.  My only issue was the somewhat predictable plot and ending.  A sequel would be interesting since it could go anywhere.
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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