Whether or not Mr Thomas knows that it takes a village to raise a child, he knows for certain that it takes a village to successfully animate an historical mystery. That "village" is the city of York, England in the 17th Century; home to an uppity woman by the name of Lady Bridget Hodgson. And animate it - and her - he does in his new novel The Midwife's Tale!
"The river always had a stink about it, but the moat [around the gaol where Esther is imprisoned] was truly noxious, for the soldiers used it to dispose of their waste. I made the mistake of looking down and saw the corpse of a large dog, half-submerged in the water."
In the opening pages of chapter one, Bridget, a midwife, encounters throngs of frightened townspeople "racing home, carrying whatever food they had found for sale in the shops or markets." Right away we begin to get the feel of a town under siege, a town where ...
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