Author Sally Hepworth’s first novel, Love Like the French, was published in February 2014 by Random House Germany as Wenn du an meiner Seite bist. She’ll have a much more global audience for her new novel, The Secrets of Midwives, out now in the U.S. and scheduled for a worldwide release.
It’s a multigenerational novel set in New England that’s told in the alternating voices of three strong women — daughter Neva, mother Grace and grandmother Floss. Each one is a midwife, although Floss is 83 and retired from the family business.
When 29-year-old Neva surprises her mother and grandmother with some news — she’s seven months pregnant and refuses to name the father — it becomes the catalyst for revealing some other surprising (and closely held) family secrets.
“I have always thought there was a certain magic to midwifery — for a while, after I left high school, I even considered becoming a midwife,” Hepworth says in press materials. “So, when it came time to start a novel, there was no choice to make.
“But, when all is said and done, The Secrets of Midwives is a book about family. What makes a mother, what binds a family together and the role of biology. In writing this book, I found answers to a whole lot of questions I never knew I had.”
So, it’s really no surprise that Hepworth says it took her nine months to write it.
— Celeste Williams
The Secrets of Midwives
by Sally Hepworth
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99
Audiobook: Macmillan Audio, $29.99; read by actress and author Alison Larkin.