The Birth House by Ami McKay

The Birth House

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.

Wow.  What a great book.  I can now add Dora Rare to my list of great female literary characters.  The book started off really well, and then just got better and better.  There are so many themes going on at the same time, its like book club lollapalooza.  I was really impressed with the way the author captured so well, the mood of a town on the brink of change.  I guess I always expected that people would have welcomed the advances of science and modern medicine, but this book puts it in a different perspective.  

I just loved Dora’s character and the way she was a feminist without even trying to be one.  Her sense of self was so solid, no man, or anyone for that matter seemed to phase her.  I just loved all of the Cajun references in the book since I grew up in South Louisiana. 

I loved reading this and I would highly recommend it!  Also, I love this cover, isn’t it great?!


17 Responses to “The Birth House by Ami McKay”

  1. Thanks for the rec – I promptly added it on my list of pending library holds. I’ve been in the mood for something Red-Tentish lately, and it sounds like this might do the trick1

  2. Mary – This is it! Hope you like it.

  3. I read this last year and loved it too! I hope Ami M. is busy writing another book!

  4. Funny you said that about the cover; it struck me when I first opened your page.

    God, another TBR???? I think I need to fish out my library card.

  5. AAAAAAAAAAnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnD……

    IT’S SET IN NOVA SCOTIA!! Possibly one of the most beautiful provinces of them all.

    Not to mention the main characters affection for certain Austen characters.

    I have met Amy McKay and she is the sweetest, most down-to-earth person imaginable.

    Meeting authors and discovering them to me completely human and real, ALWAYS makes me want to boost their book sales !

  6. I FINALLY get to read this author in March. I have to say, I was starting to get jealous. I live practically in the place the book is set, and I have never met her, but all these people from elsewhere have. So, I am looking forward to March.

    Her next book is due to come out in 2008

  7. Oh, and Nova Scotia is practically the most beautiful province of them all… not that I would know or anything. 🙂

  8. Danielle – I think she has another on the way soon! yay!

    LK – Get your card out girl!

    MP- I emailed Ami to let her know how much I enjoyed her book. I am hoping to hear from her.

    Kailana – I think you will really like it. Nova Scotia sounds amazing. I’d love to visit someday.

  9. Being pregnant and also from Cajun country I was wondering how you would rate this book and was leary about reading something like it, even though I know I am having a csection and am in no danger of having to invite a woman from the bayou land to birth my baby. But if it is Red Tent-ish, I’ll be picking it up soon. Thanks for the review!

  10. Michelle – Do you look like the chic on the book cover, because quite frankly, she looks a little abnormal and I’m beginning to suspect thats not really a baby.

  11. No, nor have I ever when pregnant looked that good. Though my sister looked sort of like that and made sure to tell me how everyone told her how great she looked, should be a maternity clothes model, etc. etc.

  12. I bought this book during the holidays with my book giftcard, after first hearing about it on a couple book blogs, but I haven’t read it yet. Since I lived about half my life in Nova Scotia, I’m particularly interested to read a book set in that province.

    I’ve always wondered – do many people in Cajun society know about the connection to Acadian culture and their expulsion by the British from Nova Scotia?

  13. Yes, the connection is made and I think most people have at least learned a little about this, to what depth would really depend on how interested you were in the subject and what area you lived in. Not much of cajun history is taught in schools, even in the heart of cajun country, which is sad.

  14. I may need to go back and re-read this. I had high expectations for it but, despite liking the themes in the book, I found the book, overall, to be unsatisfying, for reasons I just couldn’t put my fingers on. I tried to write a post about it, but ended up deleting it, because it just rambled and made it sound like I thought the book was horrible — which I DIDN’T. All the reviews I’ve read has been overwhelmingly positive, so I must go back and see if I misjudged. The first 1/3 – 1/2 of the book, btw, when Dora was a teen, I thought was great.

  15. I read this last year and just loved it and as the subject is very much my day job I read it with quite a critical eye and I couldn’t criticise it in any way at all. Fabulous book and I can’t wait for Ami’s next book. The book didn’t seem to do as well here in the UK as I think it should have done.

  16. Nice article found your site searching in bing I think you could have taken a more neutral view.

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