Thursday, 26 July 2012

Catching Babies by Sheena Byrom

What's it about (from Amazon)

"From her very first day as a nervous student nurse in Blackburn to the dedicated completion of her nursing qualifications and her training as a midwife in Burnley, Sheena Byrom has never once looked back, enjoying a thirty-five-year career with the NHS.

Catching Babies is a moving account of an extraordinary career. It reveals the unique experiences that filled Sheena's days as she looked after overwhelmed mums and dads and helped to bring their precious babies into the world.

At the forefront of evolving medical practices, she was the first midwife to oversee a home water birth in her area, but also found herself at the centre of a traumatic delivery that resulted in a nine-year litigation case and tested her to her limits.

Yet, whatever has come Sheena's way, ultimately, there are the strong mothers who taught her so much and the little miracles who have made every single moment as a midwife truly magical."

Did I like it?
I worked as a Nursery Nurse in a maternity hospital in the seventies so I relived my memories reading this book. I remember how strict Matron and the ward sisters were. The rules of the ward had to be obeyed by all and women didn't really have a voice or birthing plan like they do today. Sheena speaks of breaking into the chocolate cupboard on the ward, this was where all the gifts of boxes of chocolate were kept instead of being handed to the nurses. How I laughed at this as the exact same thing happened to me when we broke into the cupboard and made ourselves sick eating all the chocolate before sister returned.

This book is a real document of  social history, it tracks the changes in midwifery and how along the way sometimes there was one step forward followed by two steps back.
Every woman should thank Sheena for her efforts in enabling women to have a choice in how they want to give birth. For the many hands she held and babies she safely brought into the world.
 I had my children in 1981 and 1984 and had no choice and had to lie flat on a bed which goes against all your natural instincts, how I wish I had had Sheena as my midwife.
The book starts from Sheena's stay in hospital as a child which I could also relate too. We are with her through her nursing and midwifery training to meeting her husband and having her own children and being involved in litigation case which nearly broke my heart as I read about it, and her case proves, don't believe everything you read in newspapers as things aren't always as they seem to be.
 I think I cried all through this book as Sheena recounts some of the births that she attended and women she met and helped. I love how she says that being a midwife is not about delivering babies but catching them as it is the woman who is giving birth does all the work. What a lovely sentiment.
Sheena has been awarded the OBE for her services to midwifery.
I absolutely loved this book and five stars is just not enough. *****

Catching Babies is in your bookstore or on Amazon and kindle
Sheena Byrom can be found on her blog Five Girls or on twitter @SagefemmeSB

Thursday, 5 July 2012

It's Publication Day!

Today is  publication day for one of my favourite authors Amelia Carr and her new book,
The Secret She Kept.
What's it about? (from Amazon)

"A dual-strand romantic epic, with lots of secrets, twists and turns, in the vein of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Katherine Webb.

Fearless Felicity Penrose thrives on adventure: she's one of the most experienced female sailors in the world. But one day, in the middle of the 1950s, her boat is found abandoned. Fliss has mysteriously vanished, tragically leaving behind her husband and baby girl.

Nearly thirty years later, Emma's world is rocked when she is approached by journalist Mike Bond with an extraordinary revelation: that Fliss was seen in America after she was presumed drowned. As Emma delves into her mother's past, she begins to unravel a tale of deep, abiding love and promises forgotten. And the rest of her family are thrown into turmoil. For Fliss is not the only one with secrets long-concealed..."

Amelia's books are always filled with family secrets, turmoils, dilemmas  and lots of twists and turns along the way and just when you think you know the ending you find out you're wrong.
I'm looking forward to reading this book with my wine and chocolate of course.

To wet your appetite for her new book here is what I thought of her last book,
 A Woman of Secrets.

What's it about (from Amazon)

"A poignant, touching and epic tale of lost love, set against the drama and danger of World War Two 1947. One wet and chilly November afternoon a woman stands at the edge of a lake forced into a heartbreaking choice between her past and her future. 2008. Police diver Martha makes an incredible discovery in a local lake of a package containing a series of lost mementoes which reveal a story of intrigue, betrayal and heartbreak. As the threads of the past and present are drawn together, Martha's world, and that of her family, is changed for ever."
Did I like it? 
I do enjoy stories set in World War Two  and although this starts off in 2008 it takes you back to wartime France and the brave men and women who fought alongside the French resistance. There were times as I was reading this book I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.
 Amelia is a wonderful story teller especially the way she weaves all the different little stories throughout the book and finally makes them come together beautifully at the end.  I cried buckets reading this book. As in her previous books, I didn't guess the ending.
The Secret She Kept is the forth novel by the author under the name of Amelia Carr but she has also written many more books under the name of Janet Tanner, check them out on  here