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Summary

Jennifer Worth's tales of being a midwife in 1950s London, now a major BBC TV series.

Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction. 

Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. 

Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2007 Jennifer Worth (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Call the Midwife

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A Beautiful Book

This was a beautifully written and narrated book. I've watched the television series but enjoyed the book even more. Funny and emotional in equal measures. Would thoroughly recommend.

6 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Fantastic book, heart warming and tear jerking! We'll worth listening if you like the TV programme, I always knew the programme was fairly accurate but didn't realise just how true to life it was. Amazing how different things were in relatively recent history.

4 people found this helpful

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I wanted it to never end

I absolutely loved every second of this fascinating story. Jenny transports you to East London with her stories of the characters, their lives, their streets and homes. Juliet Stevenson narrates wonderfully, going from character to character effortlessly. Having watched and enjoyed the tv version I was a little sceptical about whether it was worth downloading the audio, not wanting to be disappointed... I wasn’t. Highly recommend this title.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent read.

Excellent read. Gritty and eye opening. well worth listening even if you have seen the TV programme.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book - love the midwife stories!

enjoyed listening to this book. would highly recommend if you love the TV Call the Midwife series.

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fablous story shame about the reader very poor

struggled to get through this as the reader was very mono tone if it was not for me liking midwifes I would of given up on it.
making out Cynthia had a sexy voice was not in my eyes correct and feel she didn't do the characters justice. I was going to get the others but can't stand listening to the reader.

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laugh/cry/empathise

I loved this book. it is told in such a way that I felt as though I was there. I have always been grateful for our National Health service but this brought home to me how lucky we are now. I cannot even imagine the poverty and hardship so many people lived through even such a relatively short time ago.

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Great book and audio

Great audiobook. Loved the narrators voice and the story is fantastic. Will recommend to others 😊

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Beautifully read, beautifully written.

I Would recommend this book to everyone to read or listen to. Man or woman. Young (adult) or old. It is like looking at a beautifully painted scene of nature, Capturing the joyful and the harrowing reality of life.

The stories can be read alone as chapters (sometimes spanning two or three chapters) and each story stands alone, itself a gem.

My grandmother lived in these times and my mother and aunts and uncles all born when the babies in this story were born. As our parents and theirs didn't speak of these things often, it is a precious glimpse into the way life was. Not just the midwifery but the whole city of London and some of Ireland is glimpsed ...the streets and shops and pubs and parties and the shocking difficulties and deprivations which seem so distant and Dickensian connect with the jolly picture of these times like in "heartbeat" or "the darling buds" that kind of thing, the simple life, kind of picture of the past.

Overall the stories are uplifting because of the way they are told with such spirit and compassion. And even though there are sad sad stories the general feel is positive and full of bittersweetness.
Its also just a good historical account of the recent past from a perspective which is all too often overlooked and ignored.

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so well read

really enjoyed this book cant wait to read. The next one so true to life

1 person found this helpful