Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- Bridget is wealthy enough that she doesn't practice midwifery for the money. Why do you think she does it?
- Why did Bridget allow Martha to stay in her household, even after she lied about her past?
- What similarities and differences do you see between Bridget and her rival, Rebecca Hooke?
- Write down one word or phrase to describe Bridget, Martha, and Rebecca Hooke. Then go around the group and read your words aloud. How many different words did you come up with for each character? Once you have done this, elaborate on the complexities, or lack of complexities, of these individuals.
- How do you think the loss of her children affected Bridget?
- Despite clear evidence of her guilt, Bridget agrees to help Esther. Why?
- How did Bridget's attitude towards religion and politics change over the course of the novel?
- What qualities made a woman a good midwife in early modern England? How do these compare to what we think makes a good doctor today?
- How does childbirth in early modern England compare to childbirth today? Has childbirth become more private or less?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of St. Martin's Minotaur.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.