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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Once a Midwife: A Hope River Novel

1. When Patience is reunited with Bitsy after nearly a decade she thinks, “Have you ever noticed that when you’re reunited with an old friend, someone you’ve been through hard times with, it’s like you’ve never been apart?” Discuss times in your life where this has been true, or not true.

2. How did you feel about Daniel and his refusal to fight? Do you think his feelings were justified? Why or why not? Our history books tend not to talk about the conscientious objectors in World War II; why do you think this is?

3. It’s difficult for us today to face the suspicion and hatred citizens of the United States felt for the Japanese at the time. In what ways does the novel address this?

4. Daniel and Patience both try to live life as usual: Daniel with his vet practice and Patience with her midwifery practice. Is this realistic in a time of war, even on the home front? Why or why not?

5. Were you surprised at how the community for the most part accepts Bitsy’s “adoption” of Willie and her marriage to Lou?

6. We may think of opioid addiction as a modern-day issue, but it’s clear that Daisy is a drug addict. Did this surprise you? What other situations in the novel strike a chord similar to modern-day events? Even though decades have passed, have people and their situations essentially changed from the 1940s to now?

7. Have you ever taken an unpopular position in a group? Maybe you felt strongly that something was unfair or wrong and though you were nervous or scared you had to speak up. What were the results? Can you share the story?

8. At the novel’s end, Daniel tells Patience it’s their job to “be happy and to love.” In what ways is this possible during a time of war? What do you think might be next for Patience, Daniel and their children?

Once a Midwife: A Hope River Novel
by Patricia Harman