Fall Pick: The Birth House

From the website of author Ami McKay

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of Rares. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing. Dora becomes Miss B.’s apprentice, and together they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labours, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives. Filled with details as compelling as they are surprising, The Birth House is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine.


The Birth House has been making its way through book clubs both in Canada and abroad and has received multiple (well-deserved) awards.  It was a #1 Bestseller in Canada and once you’ve read it, you can easily see why.  Ami McKay wove a story that was so obviously well-thought out and carefully researched –The Birth House story-line was built on a meticulously laid foundation.  It was interesting to read and provided great topics for discussion at our book club meeting.  We debated the themes of birth/life, technology, women’s rights, race and class privilege as well as love and relationships, among others.

My recommendation: This book is worth buying.  I particularly enjoyed all the “extras” that Ami McKay included at the end of the book.  Much like her website, the book provides the interested reader with a scope of The Birth House world that extends beyond just the story.  I can’t give Ami McKay high enough praise for her work here and look forward to reading more from her.

Check out some reader reviews of The Birth House here and some mixed reviews here