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Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse (The Midwife Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Worth
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Dignified and unsentimental social history. OBSERVER


The sequel to Jennifer Worth's New York Times bestselling memoir and the basis for the PBS series Call the Midwife

When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood's most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.

Orphaned brother and sister Peggy and Frank lived in the workhouse until Frank got free and returned to rescue his sister. Bubbly Jane's spirit was broken by the cruelty of the workhouse master until she found kindness and romance years later at Nonnatus House. Mr. Collett, a Boer War veteran, lost his family in the two world wars and died in the workhouse.

Though these are stories of unimaginable hardship, what shines through each is the resilience of the human spirit and the strength, courage, and humor of people determined to build a future for themselves against the odds. This is an enduring work of literary nonfiction, at once a warmhearted coming-of-age story and a startling look at people's lives in the poorest section of postwar London.


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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Dieses Buch geht unter die Haut 9. Dezember 2013
Von petra
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Das erste Buch "Call the midwife" habe ich auf Deutsch gelesen und schon dort fand ich die Erlebnisse der Hebamme Jennifer sehr beeindruckend, das Thema "Workhouse" wurde im ersten Teil nur angeschnitten und machte mich neugierig auf diesen zweiten Teil, den ich dann auf Englisch gelesen habe. Die Handlung beruht auf wahren Begebenheiten, die sich im Umfeld der englischen Hebamme ereignet hatten. Bedrückend, wie viele Kinder Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts keine Wahl hatten, als sich den grausam strengen Regeln der "Workhouses" zu unterwerfen. Das Schicksal einiger dieser Kinder wird aufgegriffen, die in ihrem späteren Leben doch auch noch Positives erleben durften und das Beste daraus machten. Darüber hinaus berichtet die Autorin über wichtige Stationen und Personen ihres eigenen Lebens. Interessant, informativ, lebensbejahend und voller Herzenswärme. Für mich ein wichtiges Buch, das ich nicht vergessen werde.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Very informative 4. März 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Having enjoyed the dramatization, I was delighted to find the books. This is real history brought to life through recollection, and very well done.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  866 Rezensionen
90 von 91 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Shadows of the Workhouse 25. September 2012
Von Afternoon Attic Reader - Veröffentlicht auf
In her first book, Jennifer Worth introduced us to the life of a midwife in London's East End in the 1950's, and in this second book, we take up the stories of some secondary characters from the first book (Jane, Frank & Peggy, and Sister Monica Joan) as well as the story of an old soldier by the name of Joseph Collett. This book contains much less of Worth's own experiences and more of the stories of others that she encountered while working as a midwife. Some of the stories within have more to do with the institutional workhouse than others, but most have some connection thereto. I enjoyed the layout of the stories, logically arranged into three parts and appreciated the author's reflective, non-judgmental voice throughout the telling never condemning a person for actions or choices that were clearly a product of the times and the situations people found themselves in. Wonderful read and an excellent continuation of the first book in this series!
44 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen wonderfully told story 7. März 2012
Von A. Penwell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I just finished reading this book and I can say I loved it! It was painfully hard to read in many parts, especially parts about brutality towards children. the story needs to be told though, even the hardest parts because we have to acknowledge what a painful time this was and how not to repeat these mistakes.
there are several different stories throughout. All interwoven. All painful and joyful.

if you like to see into peoples lives and hear their stories, this is the books for you. Amazing.
21 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Not as good as the first one! 10. Februar 2013
Von Whitney - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
If you are thinking of picking up Shadows of the Workhouse because you've seen the BBC series and or read a Memoir of Birth Joy and Hard times, don't expect it to be the same. This book is clearly less a memoir than an extrapolation of stories she heard and gathered while working as a midwife. There are details she clearly could not know presented as fact and there is not much at all about being a midwife. I did enjoy the portion about Joe the ex-military gentleman with ulcers on his legs (presented in the BBC series), but overall it doesn't measure up to the original Call the Midwife book.
23 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Shadows of the workhouse 13. Mai 2012
Von Heather Arthur - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is an amazing book and very well written. I could not put it down!The workhouses of early last century and before, were terrible places.
12 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Beautiful, Tragic Memoir 25. Juli 2013
Von Carpe Librum - Veröffentlicht auf
'Shadows of the Workhouse' is a brilliant memoir by Jennifer Worth that carries on her story of working as a nurse in the East End in the 1950s which began in her first installment, 'Call the Midwife.' Her descriptions of hardships endured by those who were forced to enter the workhouses near the turn of the century are heart-wrenching. Though she points out that in terms of social welfare they were well ahead of their time, that doesn't change anything for those people who suffered under the system. The first section especially focuses on people she encountered who grew up in the workhouse system. I found it curious that the second section centered on a woman who had never entered the workhouse, though she would have worked with people who were its victims. The third, and final, section tells the story of a man who entered the workhouse only in his old age after it was converted into a home for the elderly. Therefore, the title is somewhat misleading, but the stories are still amazing.

The story of Jane, Frank, and Peggy growing up in the workhouse together, and the long-term emotional effects that it had on them was full of emotional highs and lows. The reader cheers for their successes and cries for them when they are hurt. This story was the most relevant to the author's theme of the effects of the workhouse on those who were still alive two decades after they were officially closed. (Officially only because it would be impossible to just release thousands of poor people into the streets, so the workhouses carried on under other names with only slightly improved conditions for decades.) After this third of the book, I was ready to give it five stars.

The second portion of the book tells the story of Sister Monica Joan being on trial. Without giving anything away, I will just say that Sister Monica Joan was not one of my favorite characters in this or the first book, so a full third of the book focused on her was a little dreary for me. Also, I failed to see what any of it had to do with "living in the shadows of the workhouse." I'm sure others disagree and found this section amusing, but this is what brought it down to four stars for me.

The final part of the book tells the story of Joe Collett, who is an elderly man added to Worth's nursing schedule because of ulcerated war wounds - not wounds from WWII or even WWI, but from the Boer War in 1899. I greatly enjoyed this story of their growing relationship and his reflections on so much of England's history that he had experienced. She becomes the one bright light in his life, and he becomes like a grandfather to her. Collett's life is filled with struggle, ambition, love, and tragedy. The fact that this man who has already been through so much ends up relocated to a workhouse that has been made into a home for the elderly when the Canada tenements are scheduled for demolition, would make the most hard-hearted tear up.

My only concern is that this book is categorized as a non-fiction memoir, but Worth includes detailed dialogue that she would not have been present for, such as that of Peggy and Frank's childhood. It would seem unlikely that either of these people remembered in perfect detail or that they would share it all with Worth. Some of these scenes read more like factual historical fiction than nonfiction even if they are enjoyable to read.
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