The Midwife's Apprentice ***
by Karen Cushman
Overview: An orphaned and abandoned girl begins working for a midwife in exchange for shelter and some food. She begins to develop from a wandering "animal" into a girl.
Themes: friendship, home, perseverance, midwifery
Negative elements: Parts of this book were a bit much for my girls so I "edited" it as I read it out loud. Since it is about a midwife, there are some tense scenes of childbirth. Also, the midwifes during the middle ages used a lot of "magic." There is also reference to an affair and some other implied inappropriate boy/girl relations.
Positive elements: I love the change the girl goes through as she works through her fears and pursues her dreams in the midst of great adversity. She works hard and treats people kindly even when she isn't well treated. The different characters in the town are well portrayed.
Conclusion: This short book is a bit dark and sad for me even though the ending has a glimmer of hope. I did enjoy how well it was written and the development of all the different characters. I would recommend this book for middle schoolers and older because of the mature content.