The Midwife of Venice is a well-researched historical novel that explores midwifery and anti-Semitism in sixteenth-century Venice. Hannah, the most skilled midwife in the Jewish ghetto, is called upon to attend the birth of a Christian child — the son of a wealthy and powerful count. Hannah wouldn’t consider risking her own safety and that of others in the ghetto by breaking the law in this way — except that the money the count is offering may be enough to ransom her husband, held prisoner and about to be sold into slavery on the island of Malta.
The novel alternates between Hannah’s point of view and Isaac’s, building suspense as treachery, plague, and murder make it more and more difficult for the two to achieve their goal of being reunited. The Midwife of Venice was a real page-turner and I thoroughly enjoyed it.