The Birth House, Ami McKay’s debut novel is about the struggle of a small fishing village in Nova Scotia trying to come to terms with the advances of modern medicine. Marie Babineau is an elderly Acadian midwife and trusted healer who has seen to the medical and spiritual needs of the village women for years with herbs and spells in exchange for baked goods and local produce. With her young apprentice, Dora Rare, by her side, she fights a continuous battle to keep the old traditions alive. The newly arrived, manipulative Dr. Thomas fights hard to usurp the age-old midwifery with his expensive and often de-womanizing modern treatments.
This is a compelling story of a woman’s need to control her own body and to determine her role in a male-oriented society. Certainly a must read for herbalists and those with a keen interest in the women’s movement.