Shadows of the Workhouse : Call the Midwife

  • by Jennifer Worth
  • Narrated by Nicola Barber
  • Series: Call the Midwife
  • 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Nice followup to "Call The Midwife"

"Call The Midwife" was my favorite book of last year. Although the next two books both stand alone, I would strongly suggest reading it first. Shadows of the Workhouse focuses less on the work of the midwives, rather on the experiences of older neighbors, nuns and patients who either lived in or were strongly effected by the workhouse (poorhouses). You get a vivid insight to the system that damaged families and left many who were still alive in the 1950's scarred by their experiences. I really enjoyed this book: it is tender, humorous, heartbreaking and makes history real. I do genealogy and have found several family members who lived and died in the poorhouses, so it was very personal to me. There remains a James Herriot feel to the books which consists of multiple short stories flowing together around the theme. Sister Monica Joan continues to steal the show with her antics, the book is worth the credit to see her arrested and in court for stealing jewelry. I didn't realize this is now a popular series in Britain by the BBC, you can view it on Netflix.
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- Jan "Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear."


I thoroughly enjoyed "Call The Midwife". This second book.......not so much....... BUT.... I watched the BBC version on television in between listening to this one and the first. The television show had included many of these stories so they were a bit anti-climatic. Also, the writers of the TV series took the very best of Worth's memorable stories and expanded on the plots and gave the characters so much more depth.

This book is a just an average grade follow-up to the first but is made even more sub-standard and redundant if you've already watched it on BBC.
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- Linda Lou "OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-04-2014
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books