Shadows of the WorkhouseBook - 2013
The second installment in the three-volume work that chronicles the author's life as a midwife in London's East End interweaves her own experiences with descriptions of the lives of the city's poorest citizens who grew up in the dismal workhouse.
The sequel to Jennifer Worth's New York Times bestselling memoir and the basis for the PBS series Call the Midwife
When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood's most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.
Orphaned brother and sister Peggy and Frank lived in the workhouse until Frank got free and returned to rescue his sister. Bubbly Jane's spirit was broken by the cruelty of the workhouse master until she found kindness and romance years later at Nonnatus House. Mr. Collett, a Boer War veteran, lost his family in the two world wars and died in the workhouse.
Though these are stories of unimaginable hardship, what shines through each is the resilience of the human spirit and the strength, courage, and humor of people determined to build a future for themselves against the odds. This is an enduring work of literary nonfiction, at once a warmhearted coming-of-age story and a startling look at people's lives in the poorest section of postwar London.
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Frightening or Intense Scenes: Like the first volume's chapter about the young prostitute Mary, this volume has a very violent scene emerge from nowhere in the chapter entitled "Nancy." This chapter relates the incredibly brutal story of a girl getting "surgically raped" (just the phrase squicks me out). Skip this chapter if you're a more sensitive reader.
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