Author: Bridget Boland
Narrator: Madeleine Maby
Published by: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 10hrs 35min
Rating: 4 stars
Summary from Goodreads: Raised in a funeral home, Caroline Connors saw her mother miscarry when she was just a young girl and realized that she had a calling. Unlike her family, who guide souls on their way out, Caro chose to bring them in. As a doula, Caro spent years providing comfort and emotional support to women in labor, but when her best friend, Mary Grace, experiences complications, she makes a quick decision, taking the baby’s life into her hands as her lifelong friend passes away. Now, charged with medical malpractice by Mary Grace’s husband, Caro must endure a trial that threatens her professional future, questions her identity as a doula and friend, and forces her to confront a dark past that she’s been hiding from for years.
Raw, soul-seeking and poignant; The Doula will stay with you long after you've set it down.
Caroline's life was finally getting back on track after years of bumps and obstacles when Mary Grace asks her to move to Milwaukee to help with the birth of her child. Caro packs everything and starts her new life over. While I has some trouble with certain decisions Caro made, I still think she was a very realistic character. She doesn't live a charmed life and, in fact, had a pretty dramatic and scaring childhood that has affected many of her life choices. This definitely shaped her life and maybe the flaws make her more beautiful and real.
I love that the setting takes place in my city. It made me feel more connected to the story and helped me visualize everything in more detail. The story itself was filled with hope and pain. Child birth is a very personal experience and many people have passionate feelings about how they want their children brought into this world. I loved that Bridget Boland explored them all, from the formal hospital, to a birthing center, to a spiritual/commune-type location. It was so interesting learning how each doctor/midwife had their own style and feel to them. It opened my eyes to all the different options pregnant women have depending on their styles and comforts.
As for the lawsuit against Caro, it brings up emotions and past circumstances that many people don't want to face. Mary Grace's husband was completely ridiculous. I didn't like him from the first time he was introduced in the story all the way through the end. I thought he was a jerk and that Mary Grace deserved someone better than him. The one thing that bothered me with the trial is that all the blame was all pushed on Mary Grace. Especially after events that happen later in the story I think the hospital should have been investigated in greater detail in accordance to Mary Grace's death and her daughter's birthing complications. I thought something was definately suspect with the hospital and yet it seemed nothing fell on the doctors or nurses.
While listening to the audio I immediately recognized the narrator's voice. I had just finished another book that she narrates where she is a teenager, so it took me a couple of chapters to fit her voice into this new role. But after that was figured out, the narration was wonderful. I felt she really captured who Caro was and her struggling emotions through the entire ordeal.
The Doula is a novel that unexpectedly touched me and I think it will be one that I re-read often in future years.