Call of the Midwife and a rethinking of Western childbirth practice are giving the midwife the spotlight in popular culture but these heroines have always been abundant in Romance Novels.
A powerful part of women's work in any time period, these heroines deserve a starring role.
Here is a diverse array of Midwife Heroines from Romanceland. My lists are never in any particular order.
1. Butterfly Garden: A Sensual Amish Historical Romance by Annette Blair
Amish woman Sara Lapp, all but shunned for studying with the English doctor to become a midwife, is shocked that, after months of waiting, her first call to tend a birth comes from self-appointed outcast Mad Adam Zuckerman. For his wife’s sake, Sara boldly tells Adam that he is killing Abby with so many babies so close, but Abby is already dead.
Adam did not call Sara to tend the birth, but to give her his children. Though Sara knows Abby’s girls belong with their father, how can she leave them with a man who seems not to care for them? As much as she loves and wants the girls, she decides that she will only take them long enough to teach Adam to love them.
As a child Adam heard the words, “I do this because I love you,” with his father’s every abuse. Adam is afraid to love his children, afraid that in doing so, he will hurt them. Without Abby to protect them, Adam must find someone else, and he can think of only one woman strong and brave enough, Spinster Sara Lapp.
2. Virgin River by Robyn Carr
Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.
When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.
But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.
3. The Secret by Julie Garwood
Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud and loyal. Her dear Scottish friend from childhood was about to give birth, and Judith had promised to be at her side. But there was another, private reason for the journey from her bleak English home to the Highlands: to meet the father she had never known, the Laird Maclean. Nothing prepared her, however, for the sight of the Scottish barbarian who was to escort her into his land...Iain Maitland, Laird of his clan, a man more powerfully compelling than any she had ever encountered.
In a spirited clash of wills and customs, Judith reveled in the melting bliss of Iain's searching kisses, his passionate caresses. Perplexed by her sprightly defiance, bemused by her tender nature, Iain felt his soul growing into the light and warmth of her love. Surely nothing would wrench her from the affection and trust of Iain and his clan...not even the truth about her father, a devastating secret that could shatter the boldest alliance, and the most glorious of loves!
4. Karma by Viola Grace
Olive has wanted to take midwife training, but the waiting list is nearly a decade long. When she is offered the chance to take the training and go into space, she takes it. Who wouldn’t?
Assigned as midwife to a pregnant Terran on an alien world, she is immersed in a world of fighters, trainers and paparazzi.
Regaran knows that a Terran would be a good match for him, but the only one he knows is taken. When he meets Olive, he is stunned by his response to her soft words and shy manner. After she gets a good night’s sleep, he finds out that her words are carefully chosen and she is not as demure as she looks. She’s a warrior who picks her battles, and he is looking for a fight.
5. Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes
By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.
In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and . . . love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them.
6. The Midwife and the Lawman by Marisa Carroll
If Devon Grant had her way, she'd turn her back on Enchantment. There's simply too much history in that small town. But her sense of honor has her returning to help her ailing grandmother run The Birth Place—even though she's still angry about her grandmother's past actions. And there's also Miguel Eiden, the man who broke her heart ten years before.
Then Devon uncovers a secret and must decide what to do and who to trust—because in order to help three innocent children she might have to bend, if not break, the law. Not so easy when the new chief of police is her old love Miguel.
7. This Golden Land by Barbara Wood
Eighteen-year-old Hannah Conroy has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps as a healer. But in nineteenth-century England, the medical profession is closed to women. She sees midwifery as a back door into that world, but her fledgling career is crushed by personal tragedy. Seeking to escape a possible murder conviction in England, Hannah’s world is turned upside down as she boards a boat bound for Melbourne. Young and naïve, with some laboratory notes and a handful of medical instruments, she hopes Australia is a place of a new beginning and a fresh start, a place where she can begin a midwife practice. Arriving during a period of enormous change in Australia, Hannah faces a myriad of challenges. Not only must she fight for acceptance as a medical professional, but she also falls in love with and must decide between two men: an American photographer seeking a new life in Australia, and a rowdy outlaw fleeing arrest. This Golden Land presents a love story that neither time nor distance can erase.
8. Never Less Than A Lady by Mary Jo Putney
As the sole remaining heir to the Earl of Daventry, Alexander Randall knows his duty: find a wife and sire a son of his own. The perfect bride for a man in his position would be a biddable young girl of good breeding. But the woman who haunts his imagination is Julia Bancroft--a village midwife with a dark secret that thrusts her into Randall's protection.
Within the space of a day, Julia has been abducted by her first husband's cronies, rescued, and proposed to by a man she scarcely knows. Stranger still is her urge to say yes. A union with Alexander Randall could benefit them both, but Julia doubts she can ever trust her heart again, or the fervent desire Randall ignites. Yet perhaps only a Lost Lord can show a woman like Julia everything a true marriage can be. . .
9. A Midwife Crisis by Lisa Cooke
Due to her family’s meddling, an Appalachian midwife finds herself with three eager fiancés, but it’s the new doctor in town who makes her pulse race.
Katie Napier’s zany family has decided she needs a husband. And when Katie’s family puts their mind to something, it’s as good as done. In fact, they’re so good, they’ve arranged three fiancés for her in less than a week. What’s a midwife to do?
Dr. John Keffer is used to helping people. It’s why he came back to the Appalachian Mountains—to build a new practice and leave behind the painful memories of the big city. But usually his help is of a medical nature, not advising the most captivating woman he’s ever met which man to wed. A difficult task, especially once he decides he wants to keep her for himself.
10. The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers using her secret “birthing spoons.” When a count implores her to attend his dying wife and save their unborn son, she is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but his payment is enough to ransom her husband Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can she refuse her duty to a woman who is suffering? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the child and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life.
Did I miss your favorite? Let me know! Vote on my Goodreads list: Delivery: Midwives in Romances.