Hannah – A Midwife’s Tale
In the village of Steadman’s Cove the tall, lithe, fair-haired Hannah stood out in her struggle to adapt to the traditional role of the women in northern Newfoundland.
As the local Midwife, the comforter for the undoctored cove and the neighbouring hamlets along the coast, Hannah was accustomed to being called at all hours to travel by dog team and sled through the perilous night to deliver a baby, ease someone’s pain, sooth someone’s dying. The novel is sustained by a metaphysical magic as Hannah transcends the daring challenges of a northern outpost during the era when the island became Canada’s tenth province in 1949.
Tenderly women throughout the novel are sparkling threads of Hannah’s love for an American surgeon with whom she closely shares the vigils with the sick.
Playing over in the readers mind are the vivid images and the symbolism by which the author portrays her admiration for the outport people, whose courage she saw mirrored in the timeless tides of the sea and etched on the rock upon which they built their homes, staking their faith in themselves and each other.
Robina Salter, who has served as a science writer at the University of Toronto, has written fiction for children and adults. Today, while continuing to write, she also teaches the art of creative writing””. During the two years that Salter worked in Northe
Newfoundland, she came to respect and admire its people. It was here in Newfoundland that she was inspired to write Hannah a Midwife’s Tale.
“A vividly sculptured bridge binding readers from Canada’s mainland to life in Newfoundland’s outports at the time of confederation in 1949. It depicts a life dominated by visions of mortality… But there is love too, romance, fun and laughter.”
– Dr. George Ignatieff, Chancellor, University of Toronto
“I was unable to take leave of these living breathing, multi-dimensional Newfoundlanders until the final chapter ended. Hannah’s role as practical nurse-midwife ensures a significant medical component in the fabric of the story, compelling and totally believable.”
– Dr. Bette Stephenson
“A moving story of human courage and compassion in a harsh environment. As a first novel, it is a triumph.”
– A old Edinborough