Saturday, 2 July 2011

Book 31 The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna

This book takes the reader into the lives of four main characters in different places and at different times. In Vienna in 1865 a doctor is locked up in a mental asylum after discovering that women are dying in childbirth due to inadequate handwashing techniques. In the present day Michael has written the story of this same Doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis, and it has become his first published book. But he is struggling to come to terms with how this has affected his life and he is forced to re-examine where his life has taken him. Brigit Hayes is going into labour with her second child and is determined to have a homebirth this time and in a future world women are locked in tall towers and normal childbirth has been outlawed. But something has gone wrong.

This book is a fantastic read and all four stories are told intelligently and with an unusual freshness. At one point in the book one of the characters states that a book about childbirth wasn't really the kind of book that a man would read, thankfully this is not true and I absolutely loved it! I loved the fact that at one moment I was in Vienna in 1865 with horses trotting down a cobbled square and the next I was in a sterile interrogation room in 2153.

But most of all I loved Joanna Kavenna's style of writing that was both interesting and fresh. Yesterday was actually a major day of celebration in Hungary where the life of Ignaz Semmelweis is honoured, I actually work with a Hungarian Consultant in my local hospital and he was amazed that I knew about it thanks to this book ! Some books rely heavily on a good ending but some books just take you on a fantasic journey, regardless of the ending, this is one of those books.

I will definitely have to read more from this talented Author.



  1. Sounds fascinating! I love multiple timeline stories. Thanks for your great review on a title I would have surely missed otherwise.

  2. Thankyou :) and thanks for taking a look at my blog. It is a really good read.