The Runaway Midwife Author: Patricia Harman

Title:  The Runaway Midwife
Author:  Patricia Harman
Pages:  399 (ARC)
Year:  2017
Publisher:  William Morrow
My rating is 2 stars.
Clara Perry is married with one teenage daughter and uses her midwife schools at a local clinic.  Her best friend committed suicide six months prior, taking Clara completely by surprise.  Clara is grieving her friend’s death when she discovers her husband is cheating on her…again.  He has been doing this on and off for the past three years.  Her daughter is in Australia studying abroad in college and refuses to answer Clara’s phone calls or texts.  On top of that, she is informed upon arriving at work one morning that her patient who she left in the hands of a doula to perform a home birth has unexpectedly died.  Clara is devastated by this death and leaves the office in tears immediately.  Her only thought is to get away.  She goes to the bank and empties out the joint checking account and safe deposit box, steals a woman’s driver’s license at a Walmart and heads for Canada.
Once she is in Canada, even though illegally as she has no passport, she assumes the identity of the Walmart woman and begins a new life.  She has rented a small cottage for three months and after a time begins practicing midwifery again.  There are only 250 people on this small island and some of them live in a hippie settlement.  She makes friends with some local women and some of the hippies, but is constantly forced to lie about herself as she is there illegally and under an assumed identity.
I just couldn’t get connected to this story.  The main character of Clara’s disappearing so easily with no experience doing so seemed implausible.  She steals another woman’s identity, leaves her husband, daughter and friends with no word and lies about her life as she establishes herself on a remote island in Canada.  There was a homosexual couple in the novel as well as a sex scene between Clara and a male character in the story who is not her husband.  Nothing graphic, but I don’t care for that type of stuff in books.  I thought the hippie commune angle was out of left field and couldn’t really understand why it was included.  I had hoped for more of a mystery or suspense aspect to the story, but was disappointed.

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