Charity’s Burden (A Quaker Midwife Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Midnight Ink (April 8, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07D5TWJCL
Quaker midwife Rose Carroll seeks the true cause of a young mother’s death in turn-of-the-century Massachusetts.
The winter of 1889 is harsh in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but it doesn’t stop Quaker midwife Rose Carroll from making the rounds to her pregnant and postpartum mothers. When Charity Skells dies from an apparent early miscarriage, Rose wonders about the symptoms that don’t match the stated cause of death. She learns that Charity’s husband may be up to no good with a young woman whose mother appears to offer prohibited medical procedures. A disgraced physician in town does the same, while Charity’s cousin seems to have a nefarious agenda of his own. With several suspects emerging, each with their own possible motives, Rose and police detective Kevin Donovan race against time to solve the case before another innocent life is lost.
This was such a powerful story! 1889 in Amesbury, Massachusetts and Quaker midwife Rose Carol is caught up in a hot political issue. As a midwife, she feels part of her job is to help with family planning but with The Comstock Law that is on the same level as performing an abortion. Let me be clear, Rose does not perform “mechanical” abortions but someone in town does and it may have cost one of her patients their lives.
Charity Skells is dead after losing too much blood, more blood that would have been caused by a miscarriage. Rose believes Charity may have had an abortion. When she visits the husband’s work to inform him of his wife’s death the receptionist is a little overprotective regarding who can talk to the man. A woman whose mother provides prohibited procedures. Rose also finds another doctor in town that could have hurt her patient. She soon realizes she needs to the help of her friend, Detective Kevin Donovan, but they have to get a little creative with their communications because the new police chief has banned her from the station and any case she may want to get involved in.
On Rose’s homefront, she is still waiting for approval to marry her non-Quaker beau David both from his mother and the Amesbury Friends. Her niece Faith has been given permission to wed her betrothed Zeb and the marriage will take place soon. Her brother-in-law Frederick introduces his new companion Winnie. Everyone is happy because he had been struggling greatly following his wife’s death.
Ms. Maxwell weaves such a wonderful story of the life of women in 1889. I had a “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” moment think of our world in 2019.
Rose’s life is complicated as she tries to determine how her patient died, but she is also dealing with her other pregnant patients and helping raise her sister’s children. Rose is so brave, stubborn, and independent, even when her own life is threatened. She and her Friends are comfortable in their faith and their place in the town. The author strikes a nice balance between the main mystery plot and the daily life subplots. I loved that history moves on with a telephone in Rose’s home and that she helps with an unusual birth,
Two ceremonial events, a funeral, and a wedding take place in this story. I was so intrigued by these happenings in the Quaker tradition. Even a Catholic in attendance comments on the differences. The Quakers have such a calm way about them in happy times and in sad and are very open to allowing non-Friends to express themselves as well. I was moved by both events.
Characters that are genuine with true dialogues including the “thee”s and “thou”s, are involved in a very compelling story. Scenes are described in such rich detail, I forced myself to slow down so I could breathe in every word.
I am so excited. The next book in this series Judge Thee Not will be released in just a few weeks, September 10.
As always, I recommend reading this series in order for maximum enjoyment.
About the Author
Agatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at www.edithmaxwell.com.
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