Reviewed by Lisa Lickel
The Amish Midwife
by Leslie Gould and Mindy Starns
"...The settings and characters were lovingly portrayed by the authors and the host of characters' struggle over dealing with the truth painful."
From the publisher: Nurse midwife Lexie Jaeger learns the true meaning of the Pennsylvania Dutch word demut, which means "to let it be" as she reaches out to her birth family and changes from a woman who wants to control everything to a woman who depends on God.
Lexie's story of searching for family and faith has an ethereal quality from the beginning. The opening scene of delivering new life to face the world shifts abruptly to that of ushering out her father. Her friend and mentor, Sophie, is a shining light in Lexie's life, helping and encouraging her to seek her birth parents in Pennsylvania. Lexie's latest boyfriend, James, reluctantly waves her off on her cross-country journey from Oregon to Pennsylvania after Lexie takes care of some of her father's estate and gets a license to practice in Pennsylvania so she can earn her keep while she searches for her birth family. A beautifully carved antique box with locks of hair holds answers that drive Lexie to seek the question.
The Amish Midwife is not like many of the other Amish stories I've read. Every culture has secrets, ugliness, deprivation, sin. If you're a reader who prefers seeing Amish society through rosy glasses, this story may not be for you. Sophie sets Lexie up with a friend who's a lay midwife in an Amish community going through legal troubles after the death of a patient. The community, not so subtly, turns out to be the one she's looking for, but from the moment Lexie is introduced, you'll almost need a notebook to keep the families and their secrets straight.
Told in first person by Lexie, I could empathize with her confusion of being raised by elderly parents, leaving her Mennonite faith, going through boyfriend after boyfriend to avoid being rejected. Lexie was desperate to know the reason she was given up as an infant, hoping her parent's story that she had been loved was true. The settings and characters were lovingly portrayed by the authors and the host of characters' struggle over dealing with the truth painful. Was the secret better left alone? You'll have to read the book to discover that for yourself.
Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old
Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society,
belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin,
the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's
Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater,
and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com,