Read Midwyf: Liza by Valerie Levy Online


The year is 1339. Liza’s midwifery skills are needed by the inhabitants of Hollingham. Knowing this keeps the lonely old woman going, together with the occasional ‘trip’ to her long dead husband and children. But she makes one mistake, and the villagers begin to suspect she is using occult spells to harm them. She tries desperately to regain their trust, but time is runninThe year is 1339. Liza’s midwifery skills are needed by the inhabitants of Hollingham. Knowing this keeps the lonely old woman going, together with the occasional ‘trip’ to her long dead husband and children. But she makes one mistake, and the villagers begin to suspect she is using occult spells to harm them. She tries desperately to regain their trust, but time is running short. Rosalind, rich, lonely and naïve, wants to experience true love and falls in love with a monk, by whom she conceives a child. Liza and the Lady Isabella, Rosalind’s mother, must pick up the pieces. None of the three women will ever be the same again.LIZA is the first book in the MIDWIFE series, which tells the story of midwives, women and childbirth in England from medieval to modern times. Author's note - This book was previously titled 'MIDWYF: LISA'. The cover still contains the old title because I like the medieval spelling, but the 'official' title brings the book into line with the series. MIDWIFE: BEATRIX, set in Hollingham and London in the 1630s, is due to be published early 2013. Valerie Levy holds a PhD in Midwifery Studies from the University of Sheffield. She has published in many professional, peer reviewed journals, and co-edited the ‘Midwifery Practice’ series of textbooks, which are still in use worldwide. Now retired, Valerie lives in France with her husband....

Title : Midwyf: Liza
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9317181
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Midwyf: Liza Reviews

  • Jean Gill
    2019-05-05 11:11

    I would definitely recommend 'Midwyf' as an original take on medieval English life.'Midwyf' is a 'warts and all' evocation of a historical period in which warts meant witches, and you couldn't trust even a baby to be untouched by the devil. Levy's horribly fascinating details of births, diseases and superstition are founded on her own expertise in midwifery and on meticulous research. I felt caught up in the alien world of the fourteenth century, in a suffocating English village, and if I had a criticism of the historical background, it would be that it was too realistic. At no moment did I feel any romantic delusions of wanting to live in such a world. In fact, romantic delusions of all kinds get a strong dose of foul-smelling potions throughout the plot. At the start I felt empathy for the Midwyf Liza, bereaved and dedicated to her role in the community, as a replacement for the family she lost to smallpox at the start of the novel. We see much of the story from Liza's viewpoint, and her semi-magical 'trips' to make love to her dead husband keep her character on the verge of being the witch she comes to be seen as by the villagers. However, her style of referring to herself in the third person, and her interpretation of events, keep a distance between her and the reader. I found the same to be true with the other potentially sympathetic character, Rosalind, whose girlish ideals of romance follow a more sordid path with a thoroughly despicable monk. My expectations were challenged again and again by the story, and I think this is one of its strengths; lulling the reader into categorisng the book and then making you think again. I loved the resolution of Liza's story.I wasn't convinced by some twists in the plot but Levy's capacity to surprise me made up for this. I didn't get close to any of the characters but I did get very close to feeling I lived in the fourteenth century - and I hated it there! In the version I read, Levy used footnotes, and I'm glad that she's going to change this practice. I hate the interruption to a story from footnotes and I feel there are so many other ways an author could clarify vocabulary, that it's a clumsy technique, acceptable only in non-fiction or for comic intent. I think in 'Midwyf' the footnotes also highlight the author's tendency at times to care too much about the factual background, even if it's at the expense of the story. At times 'Midwyf' teeters between a historical account, however gripping, and a story of people and passions. For me, it does fall the right side of the fence but that balancing act isn't always easy for Levy to maintain. The series will stand or fall on its stories and characters, not on what we learn about midwifery, amazingly awful as these insights might be.

  • Cherei
    2019-05-01 12:08

    I downloaded this to my kindle the other day.. started reading it last night.. and could NOT put it down until I'd finished it. The story grabs a hold of the reader.. and you just cannot stop. The author has done a superb job researching the methods and medicines used by the midwives.The storyline flows so easily. You find yourself immersed in all of the lives of the various characters in the story. With the main character being the midwife, Liza. Such a tight rope she had to walk every single day. She only wants to bring life.. and help others.Liza soon finds herself in a predicament.. when one of the wealthier villagers wants her to vacate her home and herbal garden so that his newly wed son could occupy the property that she's lived most of her life.We also follow the life of a young woman.. a Lady with all of the trappings that come with being highly borne. She must learn the ways of managing an estate from her mother before her own marriage to a much older Lord. She wants to experience life.. but, is stuck in the manor with only her cruel Mother and elderly "nurse". Sadly.. her mother only has one living child.. and it's HER. The Mother suffers the pain and anguish of knowing that she has only delivered her husband ONE living child.. and a lowly girl at that. Whereas .. his mistress has delivered him two illegitimate sons.Toss in a monastery.. where the villagers go for spiritual guidance and a meager hospital.. Mainly for the men of the village who can no longer take care of themselves or their families due to illness... even "spells" from evil witches.Wrap it altogether.. and you quickly find yourself flipping the pages faster and faster.. to find out the fate of all of the very believable characters that you come to feel as though.. you're right there.. watching their lives in person!

  • Brenda
    2019-05-18 07:10

    I really liked this book! The midwyf Liza only uses her healing for good until a very evil man threatens her existence. Then she puts a spell on him.....that will be her undoing.A very young woman wants a love potion so that a Monk will fall in love with her. He believes her to be practiced in the ways of men and women and after it is too late finds her to be a vergin. He doesn't want to be with her he wants to go back home, take off his robes and become a regular man again, but to go to school to be a doctor as he has been practicing healing with herbs and roots for years in the infirmary of the Monks he works with.The book sure has a lot of twists and turns and is so unusal that it is so unsual that the author has studied what it was like to be a Midwyf back in the day of Kings and was really interesting!Here is the information I found on this book here on Good Reads: The year is 1339. Liza's midwifery skills are needed by the inhabitants of Hollingham. Knowing this keeps the lonely old woman going, together with the occasional 'trip' to her long dead husband and children. But she makes one mistake, and the villagers begin to suspect she is using occult spells to harm them. She tries desperately to regain their trust, but time is running short. Rosalind, rich, lonely and naïve, wants to experience true love and falls in love with a monk, by whom she conceives a child. Liza and the Lady Isabella, Rosalind's mother, must pick up the pieces. None of the three women will ever be the same again

  • Emily
    2019-05-02 04:27

    I enjoyed reading this novel. Medieval midwifery practices have been an interest of mine for many years and I have done some research in the area of midwifery and witchcraft. For me, this novel provided the backstory for many of the images I saw in my research. This novel is sound in its history. That said, there are some places in the novel that I feel more was needed stylistically. The first part went too fast in some places and I would have liked to know more about the characters' inner thoughts. At times medical and historical explanations felt like reading a textbook/were too obvious for my tastes. However, the explanations in second half of the book felt more organically part of the narrative. (For, when the author talks about a character wearing the shells of pilgrimage that was an excellent way to include a historical/cultural explanation without going into too much detail. I also liked when the midwife thought back to her own training or explained to her patients why she was doing something.) I look forward to the next book in the series and hope to see the writer grow in her craft.* I also hope that in subsequent edition of this book Giuseppe is spelled correctly

  • Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
    2019-05-17 05:58

    This is a book that grips you from the start. It tells the tale of Liza, the Midwyf (medieval spelling) of the title and a short part of her life and how it intertwines with the local Lady of the Manor, Isabella and her daughter, Rosalind.Valerie Levy has managed to give you the feel of what it was like in medieval times without trying to downplay the not so nice parts, but also not concentrating on them. They are part of the story like they are a part of life. It also shows just what a tight line midwives, wise women and cunning men walked and how carefully they had to use their knowledge or face the isolation from the village in the best circumstances or the possibility of being accused, tortured and then burnt at the stake as a witch.The story does ties up loose ends with Liza, Isabella and Guiseppe but rather than just knowing that Rosalind as borne the Earl of Cottreaux 5 children I would have preferred to hear a bit more, but then that's just me.

  • Tweedledum
    2019-05-10 11:14

    Valerie Levy has woven a fast paced historically accurate story around midwife Lisa who is practising the arcane and lonely art of midwifery in the C14. Vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft as soon as something goes wrong Lisa is also pitched against a greedy landowner who tries to force her out of her cottage. Reading midwife Lisa really made me reflect on how every single person alive today probably owes their existence at some point in their family history to such dedicated women. We take for granted today that giving birth is, though still traumatic, unlikely to be life threatening for either baby or mother. We owe so much to these women who occupy the lowliest of places in the history books if they have a mention at all. A great story Valerie I look forward to your next story.

  • Kay Bolton
    2019-05-15 11:09

    On the plus side, this was a gruesome subject handled well, with a nice underlying story to it. It did seem well researched and authoritative.However, as a negative there were a whole host of oddly "hyphe-nated" words .... see how annoying that is? The hyphenation seemed to make little sense, being mid-line etc.,and I am wondering if this was some kind of formatting error - I will add a list of them in the Bug Bear/Errors section of the blog. From my own personal point of view I found it distracting, and therefore it lost a star, with an overall score of 3 stars.I'm not sure that it grabbed me enough to invest in the whole series, but never say never.You can see a fuller Review on my Blog Post Number #406 in December 2013.

  • Susan Wright
    2019-04-30 10:11

    I finished this book last night and am so disappointed to find that the next book that was suppose to be in the series (Midwife: Betrix_) can't be found anywhere. Liza was a wonderful character. She gave so much of herself to the village only to end up having them turn their backs to her. The details of her medical care for the villagers was interesting.Roselind's story can be told today but what her mother had planned would be harder to pull off in this day and age. Ms. Levy gave us very good historical information which she explains in detail at the end of the book. I only hope she will continue the series sometime in the future.

  • Renee
    2019-05-18 06:59

    This is the story of Old Liza, a midwife in the 14th century on the village of Hollingham. She is harassed at eh beginning by a man who wants the land upon which she lives, she refuses to move, places a curse on the man. She deals with difficult deliveries. One gets a good insight into the dealings of medieval medicine. We also meet a handsome monk, who fathers a child on Rosalind, who is engaged to another man. It was a fun read, and well done. The author did a great job of researching the time period and communicating that to the reader.

  • Marguerite
    2019-04-26 09:27

    I'm on a medieval kick,and this book fit the bill! Old Liza is a crinkly old lady who lives alone in a "cot" with her dog, cat and many potions. People in the village come to her for treatments and to birth babies. She has been well loved (though thought a bit odd) by her community until one action ostracizes her. There are politics, intrigue, a bit of romance (not sloppy) and a look through the peep hole of the nobility and the serfs' relationships. I found Mydwyf to be a satisfying read with well developed characters and a smooth-flowing storyline

  • Amy
    2019-05-09 12:15

    This is an awesome book, it was a quick read. The book follows Liza and the people of the village through a short time in the 1300's. I have always been interested in midwifes and even used them for the births of two my children. Midwyf tells of the practices used for various ailments and the solutions and explanations of some of the problems that occur during pregnancy and birth. Liza also helps the village folk with everyday sickness. It is amazing how medicine has changed through the years. This is the first in a series of midwife books by Levy and I am anxious to read what is next.

  • Amanda
    2019-04-29 11:03

    I only gave this three stars because I would have liked there to have been a greater focus on the midwifery of the time rather than a manor scandal, however, this was a great quick read and a well-written snapshot of the times. The characters are entertaining--Liza is completely endearing, and the ending surprisingly satisfying while still coming off as realistic. I appreciated the author's note at the end and look forward to the next book in the series!

  • Jeri
    2019-05-20 10:59

    Did you ever wonder what life was like to be a midwife in the year 1339? Fascinating story of a lonely woman who wants to take care of the people of her small town. She makes one mistake and the people turn against her suspecting witchcraft...I was intrigued by all the characters and intrigued by what life must have been like...the editing could have used some help (I almost called and offered) but get past that if you can and its a worthy read, especially for a first novel.

  • Patricia
    2019-05-07 09:01

    The first in a series of novels about midwives in England beginning in the 14th century. Midwives deliver babies, treat villagers, and are experts in herbal cures. The villagers are superstitious but they admire midwives as long as things go well, but when strange events happen they blame midwivesand acquise them of witchcraft.

  • Charlotte Jones
    2019-04-22 07:27

    Midwyf is a really good read, a story about believable characters set in medieval England. Descriptions of the birthing practices are amazing, Dr Levy has obviously done her research, but she is a midwife herself so I suppose she would know. I don't know of any book like this, highly recommended.

  • Jan
    2019-05-20 09:58

    As one who once longed to be a midwife, I found the book fascinating, even as I kept yelling things like, "Skin to skin!" "Give the baby to her mother!" Realizing also that wasn't done in the 1300s.

  • Teresa
    2019-05-17 11:00

    I whipped through this book in a day and really enjoyed it. I had picked it up when it was free on Kindle. A compelling story about the lives of women in the Middle Ages, centered on an older heroine, Liza, the midwife. I hope the author is working on more stories.

  • Emilie
    2019-04-28 09:21

    I really enjoyed the realism of the book. It was also interesting to try to figure out the medical maladies of the various people in the village. The second half of the book was particularly engaging and I had a hard time putting it down. I can't wait for the next book!

  • Bobby
    2019-05-13 08:16

    Seemed historically correct with verbiage consistent with the times. Liza, the midwyf, was only one of several important characters in the tale and this made it a much more interesting tale. A realistic feel all the way through.

  • T
    2019-05-01 10:11

    3.5 stars. What a fascinating, and, dare I say it, spellbindIng tale of medieval life, midwifery, and treachery in 14th century England. Recommended for historical fiction and medical fiction everywhere.

  • Kim
    2019-05-05 05:06

    Didn't like the ending, but overall very informative. and kept my interest.

  • Kathy
    2019-05-21 08:24

    Such a great story of medicine in medieval England.

  • Jenny Lowell
    2019-05-07 11:11

    Great!I love historical fiction, and this was a great one! Truly engaging and thought provoking. I want more like this!

  • Shelley
    2019-05-20 08:20

    Really good. Like "A Midwife's Tale" but in England in the 1300s. I can't wait till the next in the series.

  • Karen
    2019-04-29 09:18

    Loved this book it was intriguing reading about Midwifery in the 1300 and all the beliefs people had back then and how things have changed.

  • Shirley
    2019-05-11 06:27

    A very interesting read. The author has researched her subject well, but there is a good story along the way as too. Looking forward to the next 'Midwyf' book by this author

  • Annie
    2019-05-02 05:27

    Different from anything else I've ever read. I was a terrific read. Looking fwd to more in the series!