A Midwife’s Song of Freedom: Oh Freedom! (Hope River Novel #4) by Patricia Harman. Flying Squirrel Publishing. November 2019. pb, 478 pp.; ISBN-13: 978-1702575003.
In 1956 the Civil Rights movement is beginning to pick up steam as well as the threats from America’s Cold War with Russia. Patience and her dear friend Bitsy share the unfolding events, both decrying their ancestral memories of slavery and freedom as well as current events that threaten the stability they have come to know. Their work as midwives has slowed but is now gaining prominence as the new “painless” childbirth methods often are nothing but drugs and more forceful ways of helping mothers give birth such as the use of forceps to rush delivery of newborn infants. Women are learning that childbirth may be better when occurring naturally, but the fear of things going wrong gives some expectant mothers trepidation and fear to try the natural method.
While sharing their story, someone drops off on Patience’s porch some journals of Grace Potts, a “white slave” who chronicles her realization that she is owned chattel and her journey to freedom through the Underground Railroad throughout America and into Canada. It’s an emotionally devastating tale and some of the scenes are sure to haunt readers, but the scenes that she and Bitsy read are real and remind them of the cost of freedom that only fuels their Civil Rights protests and fervor.
However, their children have new problems for the new century. Patience’s daughter becomes pregnant outside of marriage and her son drinks too much. Bitsy’s son comes home from the Korean War emotionally hurting. Both mothers have to and will learn to let their children go to a new freedom where things heal beyond parental patterns and dominance.
So what does one do when freedom is looming on the horizon? One sings and many of the Civil Rights freedom songs are written, sung and shared by all who yearn for the change of true freedom. Freedom began in the 19th century but still has fulfillment to attain. Patricia Harman has deftly and ably presented that journey in a way that is readable, exciting, emotionally riveting and memorable! Enjoy and look forward to more novels in the Hope River series – both past and those to come soon! Recommended historical fiction books!!!