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47 Reviews
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
I bought this book on a whim. I'd never heard of it before, but the cover just...caught my eye. And the charming binding made me pick it up. I wasn't dissappointed. It took me...a day to read it, 12 hours maybe, of solid reading, because try as I might, I couldn't bear to set it down for long. The story just...completely drew me in, and the characters make you fall in...
Published on July 12 2007 by M. Cannell

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Read - Nothing Spectacular
While I am normally a huge fan of historical fiction, I was not that impressed by this novel. I found the characters to be underdeveloped and the plot stilted. I found myself skipping over a lot of superfluous information that did nothing to further the story or enhance the characters. Before I get yelled at by those who love the book, I would like to say that I very much...
Published on July 7 2006 by Mrs. Shaw


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, July 12 2007
By 
M. Cannell (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Paperback)
I bought this book on a whim. I'd never heard of it before, but the cover just...caught my eye. And the charming binding made me pick it up. I wasn't dissappointed. It took me...a day to read it, 12 hours maybe, of solid reading, because try as I might, I couldn't bear to set it down for long. The story just...completely drew me in, and the characters make you fall in love with them from the very first chapter. This book made me laugh and cry and rage all in a single chapter...and provoking such an emotional response...is one of the hardest jobs an author has. Also, the additions of a glossary, recipe and other little fun tidbits in the back of the book were delightful. The perfect book for the summer.

Here's to tea with mitts!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Treasure, April 14 2006
By 
Jhuzen Ketsugo "Ketsy Baby" (Toronto, On CANADA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Hardcover)
The story of Dora Rare's Life, Love, Profession, and Compassion is not only Compelling, It's Inspiring. Amy McKay Paints a picture of life in an isolated village in Nova Scotia during WWII. Dora is drawn into the world of the holistic midwife, helping to bring new life into the world. Yet with the sweet comes the sour, Dora often learns to ease fragile souls onto their next journey. As an Obstetrical Nurse, I found the details of Dora's work both fascinating and true to life. But beyond my personal connection with this book, it is truly a great novel.
A must read, can't put it down, page turner!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't get enough of The Birth House, June 6 2007
By 
Kerri Scholz (Whitehorse, YK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Paperback)
When I bought this book in the Toronto airport, I was looking forward to having an interesting read to Vancouver. Little did I know that this book would consume my every thought. I couldn't put it down! I stayed awake the entire flight reading it and couldn't wait to read more. I must say that when I finished this book, I was quite upset, and still am, that it was done. A really excellent read!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Read - Nothing Spectacular, July 7 2006
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Hardcover)
While I am normally a huge fan of historical fiction, I was not that impressed by this novel. I found the characters to be underdeveloped and the plot stilted. I found myself skipping over a lot of superfluous information that did nothing to further the story or enhance the characters. Before I get yelled at by those who love the book, I would like to say that I very much enjoyed the glimpse into the history of midwives/birth and woman's rights as well as the subtle yet clever parallels between the two. (IE the "birth" of women's rights and freedoms). However, I still felt it could have benefited from a good editor and the fleshing out of the plot.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ami McKay is a fantastic writer!, May 12 2012
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Paperback)
I've read both Ami McKay's books and both are just amazing! She is just a wonderful writer and really brings you into the time peroid and lives of these characters. I love the fact that the underlying current in both books is women and their rights and women banding together and taking control of their bodies. In this one, it's about a woman's right to decide how and where she will have her baby. Not the doctors decision or her husbands. As well it's about women choosing when to have babies. So empowering. Dora Rare is an unwilling midwife to begin with and then finds her power and place in the village as a savour to the women there. Truely a great read for any woman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, Aug. 16 2006
By 
J. Smith (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Hardcover)
I was drawn to this book by its strking cover and the locale of the story - - an area of this country that I enjoy every summer with my daughter. What a welcome surprise that the story itself turns out to be even better than the package & the lure of coastal Nova Scotia. I found the book particularly thought provoking given some the present day assaults being launched on women's reproductive rights both north and south of the border. Plus ca change...it would seem.

For anyone who enjoyed Lori Lansen's Rush Home Road, The Birth House is guaranteed to please. A tender and thoughtful addition to the wealth of contemporary Canadian literature that we are so fortunate to have at our fingertips.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drawn to it, March 19 2007
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Paperback)
I'm initially drawn to novels becasuse they offer me either something totally foreign, or because of their location. Hence my picking Haddon's "Curious Incident" as I wasn't autistic and didn't live in England. Also the reason for picking "Bark of the Dogwood" as I don't live in the Southern U.S. So I picked "Birth" because it was set before WWI, a period I've always been fascinated with. Now, living on the opposite side of Canada I also was somewhat intrigued with Nova Scotia. Perfect book for me right?

This novel is real and you can literally smell, feel, and taste the experiences. It's the story of Dora, a young girl, who trains under an Acadian woman that many believe to be a witch. When a "real" doctor shows up, i.e. Dr. Gilbert Thomas, the clash begins. He represents all that's new and scientific and Miss Babineau and Dora represent just the opposite. The story unfolds from there, with a lot of good writing and even some poetic passages.

The author obviously did a lot of research on this novel, and that also impressed me. This alone is probably the reason the experiences shown are so real and the characters' interactions touch the right nerves. For those looking for a great read, might I suggest this book, along with the novel "Middlesex" and the book "The Time Traveler's Wife."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth House by Ami McKay, Feb. 14 2011
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Paperback)
When I finished reading this book, the images stayed with me for a long time. Ami McKay has a real feel for the characters in her book. Before I bought the book, I listened to Ami being interviewed on CBC radio recently.
If you have an interest in the tension between midwifery and the medicalization of birth, this would be a good book to read. Not only does it develop the constant struggle between the medical community vs. the common sense practice of the midwives, it also gives a strong feel for the people of east coast Canada at the beginning of the twentieth century. I give this book five stars because it captures the Canadian spirit of independence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite enjoyable but biased, April 4 2010
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Paperback)
This book was a really enjoyable one and it was a page turner and I couldn't put it down like many other best-sellers, however there was, in my opinion, a major flaw. I felt like the author didn't really understand the psychology, values, and behaviour of the people in her story's time period. The "good" characters had very modern perspectives, and their opinions on certain things such as female rights and others, did not truly reflect the time period. The "bad" characters, though, held what we consider today traditional, out-dated views. This did not sit well with me because I feel it is reflective of the author's modern-day views, rather than a realistic representation of a true early 20th century Nova Scotia town. Also there was very much promiscuity in the novel, but real people in their shoes would have had very different values from ours today. Although Dora's trip to the city might have been more or less accurate, her account of the townspeople was pretty inaccurate.
But disregarding the historical aspect, it's a good read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Compelling!, Sept. 13 2006
Ce commentaire est de: The Birth House (Hardcover)
Congratulations, Ami, on a fabulous first novel.

A young girl, Dora Rare, moves in with an elderly small town midwife or 'traiteur' who claims that Dora will take over her birthing business. Marie Babineau trains the young girl in the ways that only tradition can teach.

The story takes place over a number of years, seeing the main character married, giving birth to her own children and raising someone else's child. Dora is caught between the old ways and new, modern birthing practices. The story evolves slowly, deeply and emotionally.

As a fellow Canadian author, it is uplifting to see Canadian fiction so well accepted. I too write about Canadian locales, but haven't yet made it to the east coast in my books yet. Having lived in New Brunswick and traveled to Nova Scotia, I think McKay has painted a quaint and realistic picture of how life was (and maybe still is to some extent), with characters that live and breathe. Canadian fiction is alive and well, thanks to authors like Ami McKay!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to delve into the emotions and lives of small town Nova Scotia. But warning...bring Kleenex!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, [...]
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The Birth House
The Birth House by Ami McKay (Paperback - March 6 2007)
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