by Linda Lee Chaikin

April 2007
ISBN: 978-1400070831
Reviewer Graphic Button Waterbrook Press
Trade Paperback

Karena Peshkova dreams of attending medical school to become a midwife. However, she’s been denied admittance twice already, and if she doesn’t make it this third time, she will have no choice but to marry the man her family have picked out for her to wed. While she waits for medical school, she works along side her mother, the village Jewish midwife.

Colonel Aleksandr Kronstadt is unhappy with his new position. His unit will shortly be sent out to war, but he is forced to stay in St. Petersburg and work as nothing more than a glorified police officer. He’s unhappy with his upcoming engagement to the beautiful and rich Tatiana as well. He and Tatiana are not getting along very well and he doesn’t look forward to spending much time with her.

When Alex and Karena meet, the sparks between them are instant and immediate. But Karena is warned off by her cousin, Tatiana, and Alex must report for duty. When others believe that Karena is a traitor, guilty of murder and assassination, Alex is forced to risk his life and career to try and protect her. But will he find her in time? Are the accusations false? Will Alex and Karena ever be able to acknowledge their love?

The Midwife of St. Petersburg is the first book I’ve read by Linda Lee Chaikin, and I wasn’t horribly impressed. While rich with detail from the 1914 Russian time period, the characters were rather flat and the story line seemed contrived and rather melodramatic at times.

I couldn’t really relate with any of the characters. For a smart woman who is wanting to go to medical school, Karena makes some really bad decisions and then wonders why things go wrong. Alex also seems less than realistic for a man rapidly moving up through the ranks of the Russian military.

While I’ve heard good things about Linda Lee Chaikin as an author, her best work was not represented in The Midwife of St. Petersburg. I did like the attention to detail that she gave the setting – the one good thing about the story is that the reader could see the scenery that she described in the book.

Reviewed in August 2007 by Laura.

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