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Get a FREE eBook about Chilbury midwife Edwina Paltry at my website:

Author Jennifer Ryan's book, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, has a midwife called Miss Paltry
Babies were born in bomb shelters during the Blitz

Babies do not choose when to be born, which made the role of the midwife so much more difficult in England during the Second World War. Bombs, a lack of public transport, and a shortage of hospital beds meant that midwives had to become super resourceful.

With civilians threatened by bombs, people’s morals were quickly forgotten: extra-marital affairs were more common, as were illegitimate babies. Midwives also had to help with these problems, and some less scrupulous midwives took advantage of these situations to line their own pockets.

Miss Paltry, from The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, was based on one such midwife, vying the war as a means to an end. Although this was not commonplace within the profession—midwives were on the whole a caring, socially-minded lot—there were some who veered into illegal ways, knowing that the private nature of their work meant that it was unlikely that they could be caught.

Bribery was perhaps the easiest way. Keeping people’s love affairs secret in exchange for money could prove lucrative. With wartime promiscuity, gonorrhea and syphilis flew around the civilian population. Midwives were often called upon to deal with these problems, and knowledge like that could be valuable in small communities.

Miss Paltry took it one step further though: dealing in unwanted babies, culminating in the baby swap, where a girl baby was swapped with a much-needed boy baby to continue the family line. But would Miss Paltry get away with it?

In the story behind the book, the free eBook lets you unravel the facts, see how the character came to life, and find out what happens to her in the end.

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