The Midwife

Tricia Cresswell

02 February 2023
352 pages


A haunting and moving debut, The Midwife by Tricia Cresswell is perfect for fans of The Familiars and The Binding.

1830. After a violent storm, a woman is found alone, naked, near death on the Northumberland moors. She has no memory of who she is or how she got there. But she can remember how to help a woman in labour, how to expertly dress a wound and can speak fluent French.

With the odds against her – a penniless single woman – she starts to build her life from scratch, using her skills to help other woman around her. She finds a happy place in the world. Until tragedy strikes, and she must run for her life.

In London, Dr Borthwick lives a solitary life working as an accoucheur together with his midwife, Mrs Bates, dealing with mothers and babies in both the elegant homes of high society, and alongside a young widow, Eleanor Johnson, volunteering in the slums of the Devil’s Acre. His professional reputation is spotless and he keeps his private life just as clean, isolating himself from any new acquaintances. He is harbouring a dark secret from his past, one that threatens to spill over everything . . .

'Full of surprises, with something serious to say about women's place in society' – Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard

Amongst the many excellent entries for the Mslexia Novel Prize, this novel really stood out: a gripping and smartly executed double-narrative full of surprises, with something serious to say about women's place in society and the strategies they employ to survive
A vivid, engrossing mystery about a woman who can’t remember her own identity but knows with certainty how to deliver babies. The authentic medical details form a compelling picture of the precariousness of life in the mid-nineteenth century, when childbirth could prove fatal for even the fittest of women. I was hooked!
Atmospheric, haunting and intriguing. A compelling and beautifully written debut