The Midwife of Venice
By Roberta Rich
Venice, 1575. Hannah Levi , a midwife from the Jewish community, awaits news of her husband, who was captured during a business trip and imprisoned on the island of Malta. Desperate to raise the funds for his release, she accepts a hefty offer from a Venetian nobleman in exchange for saving his laboring wife—though it is illegal for a Jew to attend a Christian in any medical service. This is the first step to a whirlwind of deception and treachery, as Hannah fights to survive and reunite herself with her husband.
While this story offers tangible details on certain aspects of the characters’ lives, it seems to be severely abridged, as if half the story was edited out. The time lapses (or lack thereof) create an improbable plot that leaves the reader questioning the characters’ motives, which seem to change frequently as the story twists and turns.
Though the strong points—fantastic dialog and realistic descriptions—move the story along, the inconsistencies prove too distracting to be ignored. I enjoyed this book as a quick read with a refreshing setting, but was disappointed with the implausibility and the impossible time frame in which the events occurred. The author has definite talent, but I believe this story is missing much needed content with perhaps fewer violent twists.