[Review] The Harlot's Tale by Sam Thomas

Title: The Harlot's Tale
Author: Sam Thomas
Publisher: Minotaur Books January 7, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Puritan York, Midwifery, England, 1600s, 17th Century
Format: NetGalley eBook
Pages: The hardcover has 320 pages
Rating: 3 Stars for good.
Source: Free copy from Sam Thomas, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the purpose of review.

Sam Thomas's first book in this series was reviewed by me February 1, 2013 @ this link
The Midwife's Tale.

The Harlot's Tale is the second book in the series of a midwife named Bridget Hogsdon. Bridget lives in York, England during the mid 1600s. Bridget is widowed, no children, in her thirties. Bridget's housekeeper is Hannah. Her midwife assistant is Martha. A nephew named Will rounds out the main cast of characters.
A pair of gruesome murders begin the mysterious crimes in York. Bridget is enlisted to help find the perpetrators. Her midwife assistant Martha and nephew Will help her.  
Meanwhile, "a hot-gospeller," and his family arrive in York during the heat of late summer. Their rowdy, vicious, judgmental, preaching first began on the streets of York, but later transfer to the inside of churches.
The Puritan's in control want to rid York of prostitutes and other venomous people who are sinful.
York is a cauldron of bubbling attitudes and voices, all seeking to "cleanse" York, making it a temperate Puritan abode.

Pros:
1. Bridget is a strong character and I'm fond of her.
A. I loved the previous book, The Midwife's Tale, because of Bridget's determination and tenacity. In an era where women have few choices in a career, Bridget is blessed to be a respected midwife.
B. Her home is a sanctuary, even though memories of painful past events haunt her, she has a welcoming home to people who are in need.
C. Her duties as a midwife are fascinating. From her interesting tool bag she carries for her profession, to walking the dark corridors and winding streets of York at night to find her clients, led me to want to keep reading her story. 
D. She is a dimensional and realistic character. She makes decisions for her clients on the basis of knowledge and experience; however, at times she second guesses herself and her confidence wanes.
2. The descriptions of York and its inhabitants bring The Harlot's Tale alive. I have empathy for the women who make their living serving men and only make enough money to scrape by. Their reasons for how they began the trade, the squalor they live in, and the critical attitudes of people are explored.

Cons:
1. The name harlot is used on the front cover; but throughout the book "whore" is used. I felt it was used too often, it became comical to see how many times so far I'd seen the word.
2. The book addresses a stereo-type Puritan. A person who is pious, obsessive in being clean and making everyone else morally clean, drab in clothing and in personality. Wikipedia defines a puritan as being thought of as having "a strict moral or religious principle."  The author switches people: those who are thought as being pious, versus those who are thought of as wicked and evil. It is a well used plot to chagrin the Christian, but I'm bored with it.
I gave the book 3 stars based primarily on my like for Bridget.

Link for tour.

Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.
Link for website. At his website on the left side margin are links to further explore the history of midwifery.
Link for his contributing blog. 

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