It’s my pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for A Summer Wedding for the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett, and sharing my review: published on 1st July by Boldwood Books, it’s now available as an ebook (free via Kindle Unlimited). My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading ecopy (provided via netgalley).
I was really looking forward to another visit to Port Agnes – I really enjoyed the first in this lovely series, The Cornish Midwife, when I read it back in April (you’ll find my review here). It was a light and lovely read, but with plenty of drama to keep the pages turning, filled with warmth, plenty of gentle humour, a few real tugs at the heartstrings, some great dramatic tension, a lovely touch of romance, and just a really perfect book to start a new series. I must say though that if this book is your first visit, you’d have no problems at all in reading it as a standalone.
Let’s take a closer look…
It’s wedding day in Port Agnes!
The venue is booked, the dress is picked, and Senior Midwife Anna Jones only has to say ‘I Do!’ to the man she loves! Theirs might have been a whirlwind romance, but Brae Penrose is everything Anna dreamed her husband would be and she can’t wait to start a family with him.
But as the big day approaches, Anna still isn’t pregnant and when disaster strikes, their perfect day looks destined not to happen at all! Is it a sign to slow things down?
The other midwives won’t hear of Anna and Brae postponing their big day, and soon the whole community of Port Agnes comes together to make sure the Penrose wedding goes off without a hitch!
And Anna realises, baby or not, she already has her dream family with Brae and her friends by her side.
Meet The Cornish Midwives of Port Agnes – where community, friendship and love are always delivered.
An uplifting and escapist read, perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Jessica Redland and Holly Martin!
I love a book that draws you in from the very beginning – and this one most certainly does that, with a life-threatening situation that involves a few of the key characters playing out while the midwifery team at Port Agnes continue to give exceptional care to the mothers-to-be within their small community.
This book is mainly Anna’s story – she’s the team’s senior midwife, head over heels in love with Brae, their wedding fast approaching. But her excitement is overshadowed by her intense need for a family, something she’s lived without for a long time since the loss of her much loved parents – she’s desperate to have a baby, to recreate the happy family she remembers so fondly. Her need is overpowering, all tied up with her many happy memories: if Brae didn’t love her so very much, it might just have caused problems between them, but Anna herself is more than enough for him and he really understands her emotional need. But the book also follows Jess’s story – another midwife on the team, now on her own after a rather toxic relationship, deciding to become a foster mother (driven by her own experience of foster care), beginning to negotiate that difficult path.
And as their lives play out, all the many dramas involved in the day-to-day life of the midwifery unit continue – a series of episodes where we witness the exceptional care they consistently deliver within their beautifully drawn community. As if all that’s not enough, they also become involved in raising funds to save Port Agnes’ lifeboat service – and then there’s the build-up to Anna’s wedding, where things certainly don’t go anything like as smoothly as everyone might have hoped.
Anna’s a wonderfully drawn character, and the author really makes you understand why she’s so driven by her need for a child, with a perfect emotional touch – but I did feel that it sometimes interfered with her seeing that what she had with Brae was something already to be treasured. I’m really a little bit in love with him – he has the patience of a saint, always understanding, gentle and thoughtful, seeing past her ups and downs and just wanting to show her how much he loves her.
But this book’s all about the wider community too – all the people whose lives are touched by the exceptional work of the midwifery unit, every single one of them ready and willing to show their gratitude when everything starts to go off the rails as the wedding date approaches. The last quarter of the book is simply one of the most heartwarming and moving sequences I’ve had the pleasure to read, and it certainly brought a tear to my eye – I love books with a strong sense of community, and you really won’t find it done much better than this. There’s a strong focus on family and what it means – but also on the importance of friendship, the family you choose.
When I read the first book, I mentioned that it had the feel of a Sunday night TV series, with a strong central story line, the perfect location, characters you take to your heart, and a succession of dramatic moments that move you, keep you gripped, and involve you in their lives. The writing really is quite excellent – easy reading in many ways, sensitive handling of some quite difficult and challenging issues, with plenty of all-involving dramatic moments to get you on the edge of your seat, but also full of warmth and gentle humour, and overflowing with love. I thoroughly enjoyed this one – the perfect summer read, and I look forward to spending more time with my friends at Port Agnes as the series continues.
About the author
I was born a stone’s throw from the English Channel and I still live near the sea in Kent, with my own family – so close to the South Eastern edge of England that we’re very nearly French – and it’s probably why so many of my books are set near the sea too. I’ve made up stories for as long as I can remember, but never really took it any further. Concentrating on my career and family, writing went on the back burner until a catalyst called cancer gave me a major kick up the proverbial. I decided I was going to write that novel after all.