See all Patricia Harman's books, memoirs, historical fiction and now her first children's book

Contemporary Fiction
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REVIEWS AND PRAISE


The Reluctant Midwife: A Hope River Novel, 2015
“An entrancing saga of birth and rebirth, of people you come to love as they confront loss and guilt, poverty and fear, silence and doubt.” —Pamela Schoenewaldt, author of Swimming in the Moon

“A very enjoyable sequel to Patricia Harman’s first novel, this new book reconnects us with beloved characters while introducing an appealing new midwife, Becky Myers. [...] Seeing the joy of the work chip away at her reluctance is the great and true pleasure of this book.” —Teresa Brown RN, author and New York Times columnist, "Bedside"

“This title is sure to appeal to fans of American historical fiction or anyone else looking for a story with plenty of emotion, spunk, and community spirit.” —Library Journal

“This poignant, powerful novel does not shy away from the gruesome facts of life and death. Fans of the BBC’s Call the Midwife and Carol Cassella’s medically minded novels will enjoy Harman’s inspirational and introspective story.” —Booklist

The Midwife of Hope River, 2012
“As always when writing of birth, the bleakest of times can be transformed by the power and beauty of birth...the moments of joy between new parents and their baby, between the mothers and the midwife, and between the midwife and her young assistant, light up the pages. Amen baby!” (Penny Armstrong, CNM, author of A Midwife's Story and A Wise Birth)

“I learned, I laughed, I cried, but most of all I was deeply impressed by the artistry of the midwife and her central role in women’s lives prior to the advent of commercialized, institutionalized medicine. This novel will live in my heart for years to come.” (Amy Hill Hearth, author of Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel)

“Midwives are warriors in this beautifully sweeping tale.” (Kirkus)

“...will definitely renew your faith in love, loyalty, forgiveness, understanding and just plain HOPE.” (Fran Lewis)

“Memoirist Harman (Arms Open Wide; The Blue Cotton Gown), herself a certified nurse-midwife, takes readers back to hardscrabble times and adds plenty of medical drama and a dash of romance, to offer an uncommonly good piece of American historical fiction.” (Library Journal)

Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey, 2010
"There are more honest, revealing moments here than in many memoirs. Harman, whose prose is sparse but not simple, covers a span of decades, deftly revealing her own youthful struggles with identity through the children we witnessed her raising earlier in her book, revealing, in short, a full life." —Publishers Weekly

“The heart of Arms Wide Open is birthing, but its soul is sustainable living and a spirit of environmentally friendly management of resources. Harman’s commitment to this theme permeates her book, and with similar focus on other contemporary issues, it is relevant for a vast array of readers.”—Rain Taxi

“Patricia Harman’s unflinching honesty and soaring poetry unfold the dream and the reality of the rural communes, political activism, and urban counterculture in the 1970s, and what we, the veterans of that particular era of bohemian life, have become today. She weaves in the telling details—the songs we sang, the clothes we wore, the glories of nature we witnessed, and, most especially, the causes for which we organized and the austerities we endured willingly, for the sake of the earth and all her children.”—Alicia Bay Laurel, author and illustrator of Living on the Earth

“Arms Wide Open is more than a book about delivering babies and bringing new life into the world; it’s about the deterioration of the optimism once so prevalent in the cracks and crevices of this country. It’s about the human spirit, and the desire to do good unto others. But most importantly, it’s about Mother Earth, the time we spend here, the things we plant, the mark we leave and the power she has over all of us.”—Hippocampus Magazine

The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir, 2008

“A flower child who found her calling after coaching a friend through a home birth, nurse-midwife Harman works with her ob-gyn husband at a West Virginia clinic. In her sweetly perceptive memoir, she reveals how her exam room becomes a confessional. Coaxing women in thin blue gowns to share secrets—about abusive boyfriends, OxyContin habits, unplanned pregnancies—she reminds them that they’re not alone.” People magazine


“Here is an intimate account of a woman, both her career as a midwife and her life as the wife of a doctor in West Virginia. Her patients’ lives are stories of hope and loss; her marriage is a story of love and faith accompanied by debt and tension. Well-written and heartfelt.” Boston Globe



“[A] frank, absorbing memoir from a midwife at a tiny West Virginia health clinic. The book recounts the sexual, financial and family histories of her patients, and of the author herself, who struggles with her marriage to the clinic doctor and her own burnout.”Cleveland Plain Dealer


“A moving and illuminating memoir from a talented nurse-midwife about the troubled courageous women in her care.” Shelf Awareness



"This luminescent, ruthlessly authentic, humane, and brilliantly written account of a midwife in rough-hewn Appalachia—a passionate healer plying her art and struggling to live a life of spirit—stands as a model for all of us, doctors and patients alike, of how to offer good care." —Samuel Shem, M.D., author of The House of God, Mount Misery, and The Spirit of the Place



"As the mother of seven children and veteran of eight pregnancy losses, I knew when I ran my bath that I would be unable to resist Patricia Harman's memoir of midwifery. What I didn't realize was that it would cause me, a sensible person, to get into the bath with one sock still on and rise from it when the candle was gone and the water cold. Utterly true and lyrical as any novel, Harman's book should be a little classic." —Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Cage of Stars



"A nurse midwife struggling to keep solvent the women's health clinic in Torrington, W.Va., that she ran with her surgeon husband shares poignant stories about her patients over the course of a year …Wearying of the financial pressures and tensions with Tom, Harman tells in this heartfelt memoir that she dreamed of leaving the practice, though a genuine love for helping women, and her great faith both in God and her spouse, sustained her." —Publisher's Weekly