The Birth House by Ami McKay

The Birth House

byAmi McKay

Kobo ebook | April 24, 2009

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$12.99

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about

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of Rares. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing. Dora becomes Miss B.’s apprentice, and together they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labours, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives. Filled with details as compelling as they are surprising, The Birth House is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine.

From the Hardcover edition.

Title:The Birth HouseFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 24, 2009Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307371441

ISBN - 13:9780307371447

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I wish the world had more books like this Debut novels are sometimes an authors best work. There is a good chance that The Birth House is no exception. Just read it!
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book club One of my favorites. Hard to think this how life was. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my faves You won't want this one to end. Such a great read!
Date published: 2017-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! Amazing book, couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Didn't want it to end! Wonderful piece of Historical Fiction.
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite! Love this story, is on my short list of all-time favourite books :)
Date published: 2017-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! Really interesting peek into the lives of women in Acadia. Couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent local book Being from Nova Scotia, I love that it was based in the province I grew up! This book talks of the conflict between midwives an doctors in a time when women were not given much credibility. An inspiring book for anyone to read.
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing book! Rich in historical detail, interesting information, compelling characters, and a beautifully-described setting.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time favorites Historical drama set in Canada, loved it!
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! It's been awhile since I read this book but I still think about it. A must read for anyone with an interest in midwifery or child birth in general. I actually read this book shortly after discovering I was pregnant myself which made the story even more compelling!
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Much better than The Virgin Cure I enjoyed this novel far more than I expected I would. I found the main character to be, at times, annoying, but I admit that I'm judging her from a position of privilege rather than from within her own frame of reference (turn of the century, rural...). She is compassionate and quite likable once she finds her courage.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! A beautiful story and a gripping historical novella. Exquisitely written and impossible to put down. One of my all time favorite books.
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story telling I fell for this story with the first page. A beautiful tale of strong women, in a small Canadian community. I am looking so forward to more titles from this author.
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read! If you enjoy stories of women coming together in hardship, you will enjoy this book. Loved the Nova Scotia setting. I have recommended this book to my family members!
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Tad Slow Good book but a little slow.
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating An interesting look into birth.
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Slow I could not get into this book. I felt like it was slow and I had to drag myself through it. I enjoyed the setting though and that it took place in Canada.
Date published: 2017-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book I sped through this book! I enjoyed the topic (midwifery and tradition versus modern medicine), the characters and the setting.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from lovely book great book, made me really want to try some groaning cake! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book. I don't have much time for reading these days but I'm dying to re-read this one. It's still one of my favorites and I highly recommend it. Engaging and thought provoking.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Enjoyable I didn't expect to enjoy this book so much, but it was gripping throughout!
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oh Canada! I am always proud to pick up a good book that takes place in Canada. This book was definitely one of those to be proud of! Showcasing some things that may have been taboo at that time... it was a great read
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great A great Canadian novel. Interesting and intriguing, certainly a unusual topic. This novel held my interest and I became entwined in the tale of Dora and her life's work. Would highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good read This is a sweet story of human tenderness and endurance. It’s not a very fast-paced novel that you will zip through; it’s more like a fine wine that you will savour slowly. A book you can cozy up with, especially on those cold days that are coming up. In this gracefully written novel where tradition collides with science, Ami McKay has put together a lovely story about birthing rituals, friendships, heartache and the strong bonds in a tight-knit community.
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun Canadian Read! I bought this book two weeks ago after seeing it so highly recommended by the CBC Canada Reads competition. It was a very enticing read, which zoned in on a very fun historical period (Nova Scotia, 1910s- with all the suffragette, influenza, electrification, and World War fun). I don't think I expected this book to carry such a strong feminist message, but it made strong statements about the diversity of women, the importance of women's voices and of safe spaces and communities of women. Also the cover is stunning, and the copy of the Willow Book at the end was fun to browse.
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I very much enjoyed this story. Set in Nova Scotia in the early 1900s, a young girl from Scots Bay becomes the protégé of an aging midwife. I loved the stories of the births and all of the small town gossip. The bits of writing from journals, letters and newspaper clippings added to the story.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read It's not often you cone across a truly amazing story based in Canada. I truly enjoyed following Dora's story. Would highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not engaging #plumreview I was expecting to love this book but found it very difficult to get into. I was not even able to finish it.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend This book was recommended by a friend, a style of book I don't typically read, but I absolutely loved it!
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Loved this truly Canadian book. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read The Birth House is a good fictional story. For me, it is a great historical account of the medicalization of childbirth. It is a clear rendition of how the natural function of giving birth, moved from being a task for women, to become a medical procedure controlled by doctors who, at that time, we're mostly male. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Spunky heroine The writer brings to life the fine line that her character has to walk in to help the women that need her and the men who try to stop her. Love it when she pours molasses over the doctor's head,even though you know that repurcussions are going to follow!
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Annoying heroine, but beautifully written! I enjoyed this novel far more than I expected I would. I found the main character to be, at times, annoying, but I admit that I'm judging her from a position of privilege rather than from within her own frame of reference (turn of the century, rural...). She is compassionate and quite likable once she finds her courage.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House This book is a wonderful piece of Canadian history along with some magic! After reading this book I quickly read both of Ami McKay's books. She is an amazing writer and I couldn't get enough of the characters. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting I very much enjoyed this story. Set in Nova Scotia in the early 1900s, a young girl from Scots Bay becomes the protégé of an aging midwife. I loved the stories of the births and all of the small town gossip. The bits of writing from journals, letters and newspaper clippings added to the story.
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House I LOVED this novel. It was so wonderfully written and you really fall in love with the characters. The story is unique and flows so well. I couldn't wait to buy and read the other books Ami McKay has written. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fantastic example of NS historical fiction As someone from the east coast, it was incredibly easy to be drawn into this story. I don't think that knowing the area would be a prerequisite to enjoying this book, though.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Birth I enjoyed the birth aspects of this book so much. It really made me imagine how it was life for her, growing up in a small town long ago.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh I wanted so bad to love this book... it was just ok
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great local story As someone from Atlantic Canada, I found it to be a great story that explores the history of the area and the people through the interesting perspective of rural women.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Folksy and delightful 3.5! A nice story of a young learning midwife in Nova Scotia during 1918 when people still believed in fairies, witchcraft, curses, and old wives tales. I liked the addition of letters and newspapers clips to add to the storyline and I loved all chapters related to the Occasional Knitters Club and its ladies. Interesting to read about the potions and birthing complications that the stupid doctor couldn't recognize. A good folksy tale overall!
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Love Love! This book is one that I really enjoyed! It is rich in history and has a wonderful story!
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lovely tale of a Nova Scotia midwife 3.5! A nice story of a young learning midwife in Nova Scotia during 1918 when people still believed in fairies, witchcraft, curses, and old wives tales. I liked the addition of letters and newspapers clips to add to the storyline and I loved all chapters related to the Occasional Knitters Club and its ladies. Interesting to read about the potions and birthing complications that the stupid doctor couldn't recognize. A good folksy tale overall!
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I enjoyed this alot The characters in this book are well drawn and full of life. It's a hopeful story set in a fascinating time and place of Canadian history.
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it Down! I haven't read a book in awhile so by chance I was in chapters and came across this book, saw it and thought sure. I couldn't put it down Ami has a way of drawing you into the story as it was your own.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great novel Great to read stories about small town NS
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! Fantastic story and well worth the read!
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another world I felt as though I was there, living in Scots Bay in the early 20th century, battling for women's rights. A beautiful story, beautifully written, with relatable and loveable characters.
Date published: 2015-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House Fascinating insight into how things were done for women, by women, back in the early part of the last century.
Date published: 2015-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House A fabulous book. Couldnt put it down. Character were wonderful. Easy read about difixult rime in history
Date published: 2015-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House by Ami McKay An excellent read! Set in Nova Scotia, I particularly enjoyed the realism of this book which depicts the life of women & midwives in 1916-1918. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2015-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birthing House Excellent read. Well written and researched, interesting and thought provoking. The reader's imagination is constantly creating images as the book easily encourages the reader to identify with the characters and environments it describes. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
Date published: 2015-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing An amazing book and an author I hope to follow. Best book I haveread this year by far. Her writing style is gripping and fluid. I read this book in a single sitting unable to put it down. Her historical accuracy and the depth of character tethered Dorrie to my heart, mind, body and soul. <3 Cant wait to read The Virgin Cure next
Date published: 2015-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read I loved this book! It was engaging and educating about the ways of life in the past. Enjoyed that it was set in Canada as well. Couldn't put this down!
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House. Great book. Well written. I was born in Kentville so was like reading history of home. Knew people in all the places mentioned.
Date published: 2015-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Manager Lovely story. Gives a sense of how folks lived a 109 years ago. Lots of common sense!
Date published: 2014-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Good Book I really enjoyed this book. I was encouraged to read it by my mom and my aunt, after we drove through Canning, Nova Scotia. Now that I've read the book, I wish we had looked for The Birthing House.
Date published: 2014-09-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from BORING!!!! I've tried so hard to give this book a chance, but it just bores me to tears .I have no idea why are all the people excited about this book. maybe it's just good for house wives.
Date published: 2014-07-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring! so how many pages I have to get through to get into the story??? it's a common story and really dull. I don't think I can get through this book.
Date published: 2014-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. What an awesome book, loved that it was set in Canada.
Date published: 2014-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent read. Great book, very well written.
Date published: 2014-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. This is one of the most beautiful books that I have read. I loved Ami McKay's writing style - she is very graceful in her descriptions. I thought it was nice to read about the transitions that were taking place for material care and how the women were treated.
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. This is a fantastic book. I loved it!!
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. This was an amazing book. McKay blends historical fact with fictional characters with ease. This book, like McKay's The Virgin Cure provides important commentary on early feminism and is a must read.
Date published: 2013-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. As a Doula helping birthing mothers, I found it a great book. I couldn't put it down
Date published: 2013-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. I met Ami McKay when she was setting out to do her book launch. She captivated me during our conversation and I knew I had to read this book. It was amazing, well written, and the story kept you enthralled. I told everyone about it for weeks. Proud to support a fellow Nova Scotian.
Date published: 2013-10-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent read. We read it as one of our book club book, and loved it. We especially like the setting in Canada, and the empowerment of women.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent read. I really enjoyed this book and found the story very interesting.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read. Well written book. The author holds your interest, and has you peering around every darkened Old Canadian corner, trying to glimpse at what life is like just around the bend. Definitely worth the read.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply fantastic I loved everything about this book from the moment I picked it up. I loved the story, the characters, and I love how well it was written. I felt like I had been taken back in time. It's very descriptive an excellent read. Highly recommended
Date published: 2013-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful Portrait of 20th Century Nova Scotia This rich Canadian novel brings readers to twentieth century Nova Scotia. Through the powerful prose, readers are brought into this world created by Ami McKay to peer at that house "at the edge of the earth" and follow her main character, Dora Rare, in and out of women's homes. The domestic stories, at the fore of this novel, create a dynamic view of motherhood. The Birth House is an essential read. You'll arrive at the end of the novel, alongside the midwife Dora Rare, both satisfied and ready to read more of McKay's work. I highly recommend this beautifully written page-turner!
Date published: 2012-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written Set around the Women's Suffrage movement, The Birth House describes the lives of those around Dora Rare in a small fishing village in rural Nova Scotia. Through the heartbreaking circumstances the women find themselves in, the readers are taken to a community in which women are treated as inferior counterparts to their men. Although the stories are often sad and devastating, The Birth House is ultimately about women's triumphs, their understated value and their fight towards equal rights. Beautiful and subtle, this book was a joy to read.
Date published: 2012-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic!! I loved this book & couldn't put it down! Being from Nova Scotia, I loved learning about how babies were born in small communities in the early 1900s. Mrs.B is great & I really fell in love with the characters.
Date published: 2011-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I did not want this book to end!!!! I want more Miss B!!!
Date published: 2011-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Recommended to all women! Adored the story & characters Oh Miss B., if only we could all be as humble and wise as she. Sorry couldn’t resist the rhyme once it was in my head! I absolutely ADORE this book and its characters. I recommend it to all women. Pregnant, already mothers or not - it doesn’t matter. Considering a midwife or not – you’ll still gain a renewed sense of the miracle of birth. To be honest, I don’t know if it would make you lean towards midwifery or scare you away from both it and medicine! Some of the old medical/health practices make you wonder how we survived at all, and what we will think of our current ones in the future! I wonder if my health plan covers this vibratory treatment for hysteria? ;) The history of medicine and midwifery is fascinating and is quite relevant today considering the great resurgence of midwives. The characters are endearing and so well developed you feel like they are real. By the end I was honestly wondering if I was mistaken in thinking this book was fiction! Showcases the strength of women, and what it means to play our many roles (wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend,...), as well as the importance of social support to get us through. Moreover, reminds us of the often forgotten role of women in history and how strong they had to be. Anyways, I’m off to make myself some “tea with mitts” … :)
Date published: 2010-09-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth Reading This is a quick read. It highlights a certain aspect of feminist, Canadian history--the transition to the malecentric medicalization of the female body and childbirth. It is a thought provoking, endearing, heartbreaking, and entertaining book. However, there was something about Dora Rare that left me less than totally invested in her story. And at times the book seamed more politically oriented that a naturally flowing story. It was decently researched but excluded certain prevalent social norms that would have been prevalent during that era.
Date published: 2010-08-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent! This book has it all. A strong female protagonist, excellent and entertaining sub-characters, rich settings, informative narrative and a darned good yarn to boot. Dora Rare is a fantastic character -- I especially liked how she could be so strong and assertive as a midwife, and yet so inexperienced as a wife. It showed her as truly human, with strengths and weaknesses. I am pretty sure I would have wanted to be in Dora's Occasional Knitters Society if I had lived in Scots Bay in 1915. Excellent!
Date published: 2010-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Canadian Novel A wonderful story of a young girl who becomes a midwife in rural Nova Scotia in the early 1900s. Not only about catching babies, this novel takes details what life was like at this time in Canadian history and the struggles that women had to face. I especially enjoyed learning about the archaic and somewhat humourous methods of 'treatment' that these so-called professional women's doctors promoted while they tried to eradicate midwifery. I love a novel with a strong female protagonist and that is exactly what Ms. Rare is! A great read that I definitely recommend!
Date published: 2010-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular Read! Strong female character who will capture your heart. Such a great read! I loved it so much I emailed the author, Ami Mckay (never done THAT before!) and she emailed me back. :) Highly recommended!
Date published: 2009-12-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Tale of Sex, Birth, Love and Pain “Everything I’ve learned from Mother, every bit of her truth, has been said while her hands were moving.” Ami Mckay: “The Birth House”What started out as a fun summer read turned into an enlightening, nostalgic walk back in time. Ami Makay’s The Birth House is a phenomenal piece of literature. Each sentence explodes with detail, emotion and history. Reading this book was like stepping into a journal, the narration is passionate and told by a young feminist who captures her audience with her charms, naivety, and wit. Humorous, and delightful, this colourful account of life and the collection of scrapbook type newspaper clippings to provide proof of her accounts of life leave the reader in awe of the main character: Dora.Set in the early 1900’s Nova Scotia in a time when women were not considered persons and feminism was an ideology away Dora Rare dares to become an independent female. An elderly midwife, Marie, takes Dora under her wing and trains her in her field of work only to leave Dora to deal with a loveless and burdensome marriage, a child left in her care after being abandoned by her parents and a university educated doctor that claims he can deliver babies “pain free.” Through birth, love, sex, and pain we see the development of a young naive child grow into a passionate feminist woman, a woman who first discovers what an orgasm is in the medical chair, a woman who joins in with the suffragette movement and a woman who had she have been living in the 21st century would probably choose the same path of life that she had lived. With unforgettable characters, illusive descriptive writing and historical value, Mckay’s Birth House is a priceless read. She has written a Canadian masterpiece that is likely to enlighten and entertain readers for years to come.
Date published: 2009-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from excellent book This was a book club pick and not one I would normally gravitate to but I really enjoyed it. It was a bit slow going to begin with - it took me up to about page 70 to get into it. Also, I thought some of the dialogue between the women in her occasional knitters club was not likely for the period. Definitely worth a read.
Date published: 2009-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from LIked it I am sitting on the fence with this book. I found it very slow in the beginning, but when it took off it became very interesting. In a small town from Nova Scotia, a young girl grows up to become a midwife, not only catching babies but taking care of all sort of woman's problems. Enter a doctor who advocates a more safe and sterile environment. at a nominal fee in his new facility. The story shows woman's struggles to have control over their own bodies as science versus compassion.It also gives great insight into living in small towns with the cliques, gossiping and also the great relationships that one can form over a lifetime. While not the best book I have ever read, it certainly is a book that you will discuss. In conversation I found out my mother, was delivered from a midwife, as well as her other 9 brothers & sisters.. I never would have thought to ask if I had not read this book. ...Great cover!! t
Date published: 2009-09-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WOW ~ Very cool read! This book sparked a few debates between me and my husband! It brought forth the argument that not all those lovely big families of our past were derived from women who may have wanted them! They had no choice! This book brought to light an interesting education about old wive's tales and how women throughout history have valued the ability to control their bodies and destinies... I found this a fascinating read and couldn't put it down. A book that'll make you think... and think... (I've thought about this book alot since putting it down) It'll spark the feminist in you!
Date published: 2009-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating This was a captivating book about midwifery. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Having lived for some time in the Annapolis Valley, I really could picture the landscape and environment as she described it. I also felt for the main character, Dora, as she struggled with the society she lived in and the restrictions and limitations facing women at that time. A very good read and a well written book.
Date published: 2009-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good writing all around The Birth House is an absolutely brilliant book. The writing is so wonderful and what I like about it is that it triggers various emotions. It makes you angry and it makes you sad. It makes you happy and it makes you want to bite your lip because you're just so attached to the characters. I rate it right up there with The Crimson Petal and the White for fictional quality as well as a thought provoking story that will stay with you after you've placed it back onto your bookshelf.
Date published: 2009-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't out it down This is absolutely one of my favourite books. I read it awhile ago while I was pregnant and loved it. I just read it again for the second time for a book club. I have never reread a book but this one was easy to read it again. Please read it if you get a chance. Not only will you enjoy it, you will also get a bit on insight into a midwife's world.
Date published: 2008-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wonderful! I can see that this book may not appeal to everyone, sometimes it lacked adventure. It was however the perfect book for me and will be a keeper on my shelf. It tells the story of Dora a young girl in the early twentieth century who becomes the village midwife, learning through a village elder. Dora's life is tragic, traditional and rewarding. It's a fantastic look at the history of healthcare.
Date published: 2008-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tear Jerker A must read for any mother young or old
Date published: 2008-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful This book brought me back in time. It was sad, heart wrenching, warm and thoughtful. A pleasure to read.
Date published: 2008-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Maritime Lit As an East-Coaster I am always looking for great Canadian reads and Ami McKay did not disappoint. You will not want to put it down....Just grab this book, a large cup of tea and hunker down for a lazy Sunday.
Date published: 2008-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the birth house This is a great piece of Canadian literature. I got it for Christmas and couldn't put it down. The main character is compelling and it's an interesting mixture of fact, folklore and fiction. A great read!
Date published: 2008-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Birth House A thoroughly engaging book by Canadian author Ami McKay. A page turner about Dora Rare, a midwife in Nova Scotia, McKay skillfully weaves historical facts about widwifery, World War I, the Spanish Influenza epidemic and the Halifax Explosion with tales of sex, love, childbirth, infidelity, difficult marriage, and how life was for a woman at that time in history. I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This is my favorite book lately. I had just had a baby and I felt moved by this book. I found it to be very well written as she pulled me right into the story. I am just getting into a more natural lifestyle and I love that midwifes had such knowledge of herbs and such. I felt I was 'learning' from her as well. I loved how at the end she has the lists of herbs and their uses. Some of them are quite funny and useless now! I would recommend this book to anyone! I really hope the author comes out with another book!
Date published: 2008-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story First I borrowed it from the library... then I bought the book. What more can I say? I just had to add it to my library. I will no doubt read it again someday. Amy McKay was real kind to send me an authographed bookplate.
Date published: 2007-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read Having grown up in this area, I enjoyed reading about familiar places. My grandmother was born in Canning about 5 years before this story took place and I wish I was able to discuss it with her. I laughed out loud at certain parts and I felt great apathy for the central character. The way women were viewed at this time is laughable!! I would definitely recommend this. I hope Ami writes another book soon.
Date published: 2007-11-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wonderful book for an afternoon read One of the first books I read this year and easily the best novel I encountered in 2006, this account of a midwife in turn-of-the-(20th)-century Nova Scotia is everything a novel should be: funny and tragic, joyful and sorrowful, filled with rich, carefully drawn characters and experiences that linger long in the mind. The Birth House spent most of the year on bestseller lists and marked the arrival of a splendid new talent. I can't wait to see what Ami McKay does next. - Robert Wiersema, for the Vancouver Sun. Ami McKay's book The Birth House is a natural selection for book clubs. Set in rural Nova Scotia circa the First World War, it tells the story of Dora Rare, the "only daughter in five generations of Rares." Dora is a smart girl who spends much of her time with Miss B, the area midwife. Miss B is part-healer and part-witch and Dora learns much under her tutelage. Truthfully, it took me a while to get settled into Dora's quiet world, but the book's charms are undeniable. For one thing, Dora is utterly likable. She is kind and sensible and although she is young, she is no shrinking violet. McKay does a wonderful job of creating a world far removed from technology and the horrors of the war, but certainly not immune to either. For example, Dora's faith in midwifery is tested (as is the faith of all the women of her community) when Dr. Thomas arrives in the area and sets up a hospital, offering women pain-free births. And when the Halifax Explosion of 1917 happens, Dora rushes off to help and is forever changed by the experience. Scots Bay isn't modern and McKay paints a riveting picture of poverty and backwoods thinking. But the book isn't without a sense of humour either. Dora's marriage to town hunk, Archer, necessitates a visit to Dr. Thomas where he diagnoses her with "neurasthenia" and prescribes treatment using the Swedish Movement Health Generator. I dare you to keep a straight face. The Birth House isn't a flashy book, but it's a book that will resonate with readers, particularly women, and I heartily recommend it.
Date published: 2007-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A tale from home Having recently moved from Ami McKay's neck of the woods to the nation's capital, I was aching to read something from home. Remarkable research went into this one, given that Ami is a relatively new resident of Nova Scotia. Having been a resident for 30 years, this book took me home again, even if only for the duration of the read. SUPER book!
Date published: 2007-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interestingly nice... This book gives a great insight on the early years of Canada when midwifery was dying out. It gives a good demonstration of technology taking over in an old fashioned town. Its really interesting and pretty good. Nice plot and everything!
Date published: 2007-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a Fantastic Book I felt empowered when I read this outstanding work by Ami McKay! The book showed that there are different ways of seeing a situation and different methods of doing things that change the impact of the event. The writing was bold and exciting and I didn't want the book to end. I identified with the characters and there was a good portrayal of life in Canada at war time. I would definitely recommend this book.
Date published: 2007-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Fantastic! I picked up this book before heading to Cuba for a week as it seemed long enough to carry me through my trip, but I found I wasn't able to put it down. I was down to the last chapter in less than 2 days!!! I fell in love with Dora and cheered her on throughout the entire book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to read a great story - but make sure you have the time to devote to it because it is very hard to put down!!! I wish I had brought a second book with me to read on my trip!
Date published: 2007-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read!! I loved this book! It is a fantastic read. You just can't put it down, you need to know what is going to happen next. I thought Dora was a great character-strong and smart! I highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2007-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Un-put-downable! Read this book in 2 days because I couldn't bear to put it down. Every page urges you on to the next and the next. Old and tested folklore versus modern sterile stupidities leave the reader informed, opinionated and enthralled. I recommend you read this book if you have an interest in birthing methods of the old days (village midwife), but also if you are keen to see advancement in modern healthcare and technology.
Date published: 2007-05-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I would still choose the epidural, but... I truly enjoyed the book and loved seeing how women from small villages could either stick together through painful times, or try to bring each other down out of jealousy and vanity. Great Read.
Date published: 2007-05-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Yawn It was not a bad book, but the writing was not great and the story was not gripping. Not a book with haunting passages that I wanted to reread. An OK but implausible story that was not a compelling read. This was not the way it was or is in Nova Scotia.
Date published: 2007-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from NOVE SCOTIA LOVE STORY In her 1st book Ami nails it. Her portrayal of DORA RARE is empapthetic and touching. She spares none of the ''gritty'' under belly of life on the shore. Cast includes drunken wife-abusers, kindly eccentric midwife, selfish wealthy aunt and an incredible ''against all odds'' love story.
Date published: 2006-11-11