I’m delighted today to be joining the blog tour for A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett, the fifth book in her wonderful Cornish Midwife series, and sharing my review: published on 29th June by Boldwood Books, it’s now available as an ebook (free via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback, and as an audiobook. 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).
This really is the loveliest series of books – one I’ve been happy to stick with and look forward to every new instalment. The first, The Cornish Midwife, immediately drew me in – a great story, wonderful characters, filled with warmth, gentle humour, and a lovely touch of romance (you’ll find my review here). And I equally loved the second, A Summer Wedding for the Cornish Midwife, one of those perfect summer reads (you’ll find my review here) – and the third, A Winter’s Wish for the Cornish Midwife, really broke my heart (my review is here). I’ve just realised I never did catch up with the fourth, A Spring Surprise for the Cornish Midwife, that came out in January while I was taking my break – but while I’m sorry to have missed Jess’ story, I was really looking forward to reading Izzy’s story and catching up with my favourite midwives again…
Midwife Izzy is devastated to learn that her beloved grandmother is dying. Abandoned as a baby by her own mother, her grandparents have been the only family Izzy has ever known and she wants to spend every last precious moment with them.
New locum vicar, Noah, is a wonderful support – kind, considerate and always there for Izzy whenever she needs a shoulder to cry on. But secretly Noah is battling his own doubts about his faith – how can he offer Izzy comfort if he doesn’t truly believe his own words?
When Izzy and Noah are brought together to support grieving parents, Noah reaches breaking point. He can’t stay in Port Agnes and live a lie. But Izzy is adamant it’s the only place she can be….
Will love find a way or will Izzy’s hopes of a future be dashed?
I think I’d maybe better alert you to the fact that you’re definitely going to need tissues for this one – tell you what, make it two boxes, just to be on the safe side. Izzy’s lovely grandmother Eileen is terminally ill – her grandparents brought her up, surrounded by love and taking the place of a mother who was never there for her – but she’s still active thanks to her current drug regime, and she and her husband George have hired a houseboat in Port Agnes for the summer to be closer to their much loved midwife granddaughter. There’s a certain inevitability about how things progress, but it’s beautifully handled – the relationships between them all are something particularly special, and there are plenty of moments of lightness and sheer joy throughout.
Missing her garden at home in Redruth, Eileen enjoys spending time at St Jude’s, looking after the flowers – where Noah is covering the absence of Reverend Sampson. Noah’s struggling with his faith after a traumatic personal experience – and he could also rather do without all the social media attention he’s been getting through his “hot vicar” following on Instagram. At first, Izzy’s not quite sure what to make of him – but her barriers are lowered when they find themselves supporting a young couple through the extreme grief of their loss, and a lovely supportive relationship begins to develop. But life intervenes – as Eileen’s health worsens, Noah isn’t there when she needs him – and the possibility of a happy ending amid all the sadness looks increasingly unlikely.
I’d hate anyone to get the impression that this book is all tears and sadness though – it most certainly isn’t, it’s filled with warmth and ultimately uplifting, and the emotional content is really sensitively handled and nicely balanced by the focus on the day-to-day business of the midwifery team and the lives of all the individuals we’ve grown to know through the earlier books. There are some of the loveliest events and celebrations – and I did particularly enjoy the development of Frankie’s story, a character previously rather more in the background who I really warmed to. There’s plenty of light humour too – much of it provided by Gwen and her total absence of filter.
There’s a real chemistry between Izzy and Noah – the story is told from both their perspectives – and I was very much invested in them both, two people I entirely took to my heart. And relationships are something the author does so well – that closeness between Izzy and her grandparents was really moving and especially well handled. I also enjoyed (wrong word maybe?) Noah’s struggles with his faith, the support of his uncle and the more combative relationship with his father – and the way that particular storyline then unfolded. And I really have to mention the dogs – particularly little dachshund Pablo, a real character and a wonderful source of emotional support.
Although you’d be missing out on the background, this story really is strong enough and sufficiently self-contained to be read as a standalone – but, if you do, I guarantee you’ll want to read the rest of this wonderful series. Despite the many tears, I really loved this book – and recommend it really highly.
About the author
Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of over nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Boldwood published the first title in The Cornish Midwife Series – part of a twelve-book deal – in April 2021.