Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Popish Midwife by Annelisa Christensen


In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.

Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.

‘‘Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’ With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.
This is the incredible true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.

About the Author:

One day, several years ago, I bought some pages of a trial, merely to hold a piece of a three-hundred year-old book. That purchase changed my life. The defendant in the trial captivated me. Her story demanded to be told. My debut novel, The Popish Midwife, is based closely on the true story of Elizabeth Cellier, an extraordinary seventeenth century midwife.

My research revealed Elizabeth to be known in three areas of interest—for writing books, being caught in The Popish Plot, and as a forward-thinking midwife—but her story was all in pieces and scattered. I wanted to link it all together and share it with people of today. If she could be all she was in a time of such suppression, how much more good could she do now, when we have so much more freedom?


First, someone needs to let writers know that footnotes don’t work in e-books unless you put them at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book. If you want them to immediately accessible, you can link the word, phrase or number to the explanation. But different devices have different page sizes, so more often than not your footnotes will end up in the middle of the next page. Not to mention the fact that they pull the reader out of the story. Most modern e-readers include dictionaries. All one needs to do is press on a word and the definition pops up—even archaic ones.

Second, I hate modern word usage in historical books, especially when that usage is wrong. “That” is a thing, not a person. People in the seventeenth century would have said “who” when referring to a person. They also would have used adverbs when appropriate, instead of substituting adjectives, which I see a lot these days. We editors tell our authors to use adjectives sparingly, not to dump them altogether.

Finally, I found the book slow-paced and tedious. In fact, between being pulled out of the story by bad grammar and footnotes, I was bored to tears by the pacing. I couldn’t finish it. I made it through about thirty-five percent by forcing myself to read it, but I wanted to put it down after the first chapter. I cannot recommend The Popish Midwife. You may as well look up Ms. Cellier in a text book if you can find her. It would probably be just as engaging.

Length:  454 Pages
Print:  $28.25
Digital:  $7.99

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40-50% of the net proceeds from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40-$2.99. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $1.70-$2.10.

Download the file from the publisher onto your computer as you would any other file. I’ve created a folder for books on my computer, with subfolders by source (Marketing for Romance Writers, Net Galley, Authors who find me on Kindle lists, etc.). That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Some publishers send books in all digital formats. If my Kindle breaks and my kids buy me a Nook, I won’t have to replace all of my books. If you have a Kindle and your hubby has a Nook, you won’t have to buy separate copies, so buying directly from the publisher can save you money.

Moving the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your e-reader charging chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder into which you’ve downloaded the book to Documents/Books directory on your e-reader. You can move the file by highlighting it and dragging it to the documents directory in you Kindle you want to move it to. Or right click on it, and then left click copy or move. Or hit Control/C for copy, Control/X for cut, and Control/V for paste.

Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting.

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