Linda Lee Chaiken File:
Reviewed by Vickie McDonough
The Midwife of St. Petersburg
by Linda Lee Chaiken
"...takes readers to a time and place you don't often read about in Christian fiction...Czarist Russia."
Karena Peshkova has long dreamed of attending the Russia’s Imperial College of Medicine and Midwifery, but year after year, she is disappointed when her application is denied. She learns to be content working beside her mother, the midwife of a small village, and hoping that next year she’ll be accepted.
On a trip to visit her wealthy cousin, Karena experiences high society life. When she meets the man her cousin is expected to marry, Colonel Aleksandr Kronstadt of the Russian Secret Police, Karena is thrown off-guard by the instant mutual attraction between Alek and herself.
Alek’s plans are made. He may not love Tatiana, but marrying the general’s daughter will secure his military career. He can’t afford to be attracted to Karena, and yet he can’t get the lovely woman out of his head.
But when Karena and her family are implicated as being revolutionaries in the growing Bolshevik movement and possible suspects in the murder of a policeman, Alek must covertly work hard to save her without damaging his career. Is he ready to risk all he’s worked for to rescue a woman he barely knows—a woman who has claimed his heart—a woman who could be an enemy of the Czar? When danger escalates, will Karena flee all she knows and loves to protect herself and her family, or will she stand and fight?
The Midwife of St. Petersburg takes readers to a time and place that you don’t often read about in Christian fiction. Linda Lee Chaikin does a superb job of bringing to life the difficult times in Czarist Russia where a mere slip of the tongue could land you in prison. If you happened to be of Jewish descent, your very existence was in peril.
The conflict between Alek and Karena is tense and realistic. For Alek, caring for Karena, means losing all he’s worked for, and though his heart is engaged, he’s unsure whether Karena is a revolutionary or just an innocent victim. Karena wants to trust Alek and lean on him for support, but how can she trust a member of the secret police? She doesn’t know if Alek truly cares for her or if he’s just trying to get information from her that could defame her family.
The Midwife of St. Petersburg has some unexpected twists and turns, but some readers may find that the historical passages move slowly. Although Alek and Karena are apart much of the book, their blossoming romance is believable and will keep the reader’s emotions engaged. There is also an interwoven faith element that is realistic and unique. The story has a satisfying ending, but as with many Linda Lee Chaikin novels, much is left unresolved, leaving the reader hoping for a sequel. With a tension-filled plot, danger, and a heart-tugging romance, The Midwife of St. Petersburg is a book you won’t want to miss.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written four Heartsong novels and five novellas. Her stories have placed first in several prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Noble Theme, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and the Texas Gold contest. She has also written books reviews for nearly five years and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie is a wife of thirty-one years, mother to four sons, and a new grandma. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. Vickie loves hearing from her readers via e-mail.