Friday, January 11, 2013

"The Midwife’s Tale"

Sam Thomas has a PhD in history with a focus on Reformation England and recently leaped from the tenure track into a teaching position at a secondary school near Cleveland, Ohio.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Midwife's Tale, and reported the following:
I was a bit surprised how well The Midwife’s Tale fared on the Page 69 Test. It introduces Bridget Hodgson, my narrator – I use the first person, so it more or less has to! – but also my character’s nemesis, and the city of York which looms in the background of the entire story. The story is set in 1644, so the city is a tad less sanitary than today:
As we neared the butcher shops, the stench from offal littering the gutters struck us with an almost physical force. We passed one shopkeeper who stood, knife in hand, over a large sow whose throat he had cut moments before. The creature jerked as blood spurted from the wound with every beat of its heart, each one weaker than the last. The butcher stared at us, as if daring us to report him to the authorities for fouling the gutters.
One reaction that my early readers had to The Midwife’s Tale was the lack of smells. Why doesn’t my narrator talk about the stench? The best answer, of course, is that she would not have found it worth noting – pre-modern cities smelled bad, and that was that. But I also wanted to take advantage of particularly ripe portions of the city, so I engineered this little detour through a neighborhood known as The Shambles. (The Shambles still exist today, but smell markedly better.)
View the trailer for The Midwife’s Tale, and learn more about the book and author at Sam Thomas's website, blog, and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Midwife’s Tale.

--Marshal Zeringue