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Shadows of the Workhouse

Worth, Jennifer (Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Shadows of the Workhouse
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The Call the midwife trilogy is comprised of Call the midwife (not included here, c2002), Shadows of the workhouse (this book, c2005), and Farewell to the East End (not included here, c2009). Together, this series chronicles Jennifer Worth's career as a midwife from start to finish, from her arrival in the war-scarred Docklands as a wide-eyed trainee, to the demolition of the tenements and subsequent closure of Nonnatus House. It provides a fascinating snapshot of social history, documenting the East End in the days when there was a real sense of community, when times were tough but there was plenty of good humour and neighbourly support to help the inhabitants through the harsh economic climate. The book also enables readers to follow Jennifer's personal story, as she discovers the amazing resilience of a population still bearing the scars of war, and the vibrant community of nuns with whom she lives and who teach her the skills of midwifery. In stories that are funny, disturbing and moving in equal measure, we meet prostitutes and abortionists, bigamists and mischievous nuns, and see Jennifer earn the confidence of people whose lives are often stranger than fiction.
Authors: Worth, Jennifer, 1935-2011
Title: Shadows of the workhouse
Publisher: New York : Ecco/HarperCollins, [2013], c2005
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
Characteristics: 294 p. ; 21 cm
Notes: "First published in Great Britain in 2005 by Merton Books" --T.p. verso
Summary: The Call the midwife trilogy is comprised of Call the midwife (not included here, c2002), Shadows of the workhouse (this book, c2005), and Farewell to the East End (not included here, c2009). Together, this series chronicles Jennifer Worth's career as a midwife from start to finish, from her arrival in the war-scarred Docklands as a wide-eyed trainee, to the demolition of the tenements and subsequent closure of Nonnatus House. It provides a fascinating snapshot of social history, documenting the East End in the days when there was a real sense of community, when times were tough but there was plenty of good humour and neighbourly support to help the inhabitants through the harsh economic climate. The book also enables readers to follow Jennifer's personal story, as she discovers the amazing resilience of a population still bearing the scars of war, and the vibrant community of nuns with whom she lives and who teach her the skills of midwifery. In stories that are funny, disturbing and moving in equal measure, we meet prostitutes and abortionists, bigamists and mischievous nuns, and see Jennifer earn the confidence of people whose lives are often stranger than fiction.
ISBN: 9780062270047
0062270044
Branch Call Number: B W8992s
618.20092
Statement of Responsibility: Jennifer Worth
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 294)
Subject Headings: Worth, Jennifer, 1935-2011 Midwives England London Biography Childbirth England London History 20th century East End (London, England) History 20th century BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Medical
Topical Term: Midwives
Childbirth
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY Personal Memoirs
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY Medical
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Sep 14, 2014
  • occy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Although I read this trilogy out of sequence, it didn't spoil the read for me.

I found this novel interesting & very informative. It gave you a good insight into the hardships that people endured during the late 1800 - early 1900 time period. Living in poverty in the East end of London it was very sad in part but it left you admiring how they managed to overcome the struggles and hardships they had to face on a daily basis.

Aug 27, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It was ok but not as interesting and full of social history as the earlier book.

Apr 18, 2014
  • MsMicawber rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Big disappointment. Nothing at all like the show. P.S. Just to clarify: The first half of the book is a very schmaltzy account of Jane's childhood (on the show Jane is the shy lady who falls in love with the missionary) which makes it clear that "Jane" is a fictional character who bears no relation to the character on the TV show. Part of the charm of the show for me was that it was a window on history. But if the books are fiction rather than factual biography as I had thought (and as my library has them categorized), and the shows aren't based on them anyway, it's all just fantasy, isn't it? So not only did I hate the book but I don't enjoy the show as much since I read it.

Mar 11, 2014
  • mvkramer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It was great to see the characters from the first volume back again, as well as meeting new characters. These stories focus less on Jennifer Worth's work as a midwife and more on the people she met as a nurse, older people whose lives, in many cases, had been blighted by their pasts. Learning more about the workhouse system and what it did to people was eye-opening to say the least -- and descriptions of working-class life in the 40's and earlier made me feel lazy and extremely ungrateful. The luxury we live with now compared to what people had to live with a century ago is amazing. The story of Mr. Collett, in particular, nearly made me cry. Touching stories that left me wanting more.

MsMicawber appears to have things back to front. The trilogy of 3 books are the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. The DVD's (TV shows) came later and are supposedly based on the books but, like most TV series that are based on 'true fact' books, they frequently end up being manipulated until they are far from the truth. I grew up in England during the war and I lived in poverty and Jennifer's account are as true in every detail as to what it was like in those days for many people. MsMicawber is apparently one of many people who believe everything on TV is real. These books are a joy to read.

Jan 08, 2014
  • kozakd rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

All three books are a joy to read and offer a descriptive and fascinating view of life from the first half of the 20th century. I especially liked reading from the feminists perspective and it is a good reminder of how times have changed. The read is not ruined if you watched the DVD first.

Jul 07, 2013
  • cm510 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This second book in the Midwife series described in depth a few of the people the author met in London. She writes about such poverty, and often cruelty, that she witnessed. Yet, these people were so strong! Jennifer Worth, again, writes about them with great respect.

May 29, 2013
  • ownedbydoxies rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I love Jennifer Worth's reminiscences of her time as mid-wife and as nurse. Society has certainly changed since the time she represents (1950s Britain), however the inner wants and needs of human beings has not and these books bring various individuals to life in all their complicated foibles. Lovable, is the word that springs to mind.

Apr 30, 2013
  • busstop101 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

MsMicawber, Have you read Jennifer Worth's "Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hardtimes"? That is considered the 1st in the series of 3 books of Ms. Worth's time as young nurse in London's East End. The book that you just gave 1 star to is 2nd in the series and is about the poor obviously struggling in the workhouses and not about the nurses tending to pregnant women.

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app07 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/23 09:41