If you like the gore of 16th century childbirth, rich historical descriptions and strong female characters, these are the books for you!
The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
“Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers–a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical tratment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea.”
The Harem Midwife by Roberta Rich
“Hannah and Isaac return in this opulent, riveting, and suspenseful tale–a continuation of Roberta Rich’s thrilling debut The Midwife of Venice. The Imperial Harem, Constantinople, 1579: Hannah and Isaac Levi, Venetians in exile, have set up a new life for themselves in Constantinople. Isaac runs a newly established business in the growing silk trade, while Hannah, the best midwife in all of Constantinople, plies her trade within the opulent palace of Sultan Murat III, tending to the thousand women of his lively and infamous harem. But one night, when Hannah is unexpectedly summoned to the palace, she’s confronted with Zofia, a poor Jewish peasant girl who has been abducted and sold into the sultan’s harem. The sultan favors her as his next conquest and wants her to produce his heir, but the girl just wants to return to her home and the only life she has ever known. Will Hannah risk her life and livelihood to protect this young girl, or will she prioritize her high esteem in the eye of the sultan?”