Title: Letters to the Midwife
Author: Jennifer Worth
Publisher: Orion Publishing, 2014
Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcester Acute NHS
What was it like?
I have enjoyed all of Jennifer Worth’s books and this is the fifth book in her series. I was so pleased to be able to review it. This is a lovely book with letters from people who loved her books and wanted to tell Jennifer this. There are also personal touches from people they knew at that time, areas of Poplar and the east end. Although this is titled as letters, there is also are really interesting section of Jennifer’s life in 50s Paris and good descriptions of post war Paris.
This book is easy to read, I read this in a day as it was light and such a lovely read.
What were the highlights?
I particularly enjoyed the foreword by Miranda Hart comedian and actor who Jennifer knew immediately that Miranda would be ideal for the role as Chummy as she reminded Jennifer of this character- sadly Miranda never got to meet Jennifer as she died in 2011. There is also a good insight by the family as an introduction.
It also reminded me of the book The Real James Herriot written by his son Jim Wight and just how much his fans loved his books. Jennifer trained as nurse at in war torn London where the NHS was in its infancy, the east end was poverty stricken and this was a very different time in nursing.
Surprising for me was that she was also a musician too.
At times I found myself smiling as she has good sense of humour and at other times I was moved to tears.
Strengths & weaknesses:
This is a wonderful collection of correspondence to and from Jennifer and it highlights her love of her books and her enjoyment in corresponding with her fans both men and women.
It highlights her caring as a nurse and as a wonderful person. She writes with warmth and like James Herriot memorable characters and I found no weaknesses in this book.
Who should read it?
This book is for all healthcare professionals both midwives and all trainees. Times and conditions were poor, but the standards of care were high. This is for anyone who enjoys nursing from a bygone age too.