Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Audiobook Review: Outback Midwife by Beth McRae

Title: Outback Midwife
Author: Beth McRae
Genre: Memoir/Non-Fiction
Publication Date: 13th July 2015

Narrator: Caroline Lee
Time: 9hrs 2mins
Book Source: Library borrow (Borrowbox)

Synopsis: Call the Midwife meets In the Middle of Nowhere in this heartwarming memoir of an adventurous Aussie midwife's life 'catching babies'.

Outback Midwife is the story of Beth McRae's 40 years as a midwife, from her terrifying first day witnessing a birth as a naïve student nurse to her training as a midwife – the days when the words ‘birth plan' were unheard of and what women wanted was a long way from being part of any plan - to the outback.

Beth's career of catching babies takes her from the city to the bush, bonding with people from all walks of life at one of the most important moments in their lives. But there was one more frontier she was determined to conquer.

At a time when most people are thinking about slowing down, Beth decides to move to a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land to embark on a whole other adventure.

My Thoughts: 
I loved Outback Midwife. As a former nurse I'm drawn to nursing and midwifery stories, and not only is Beth's memoir an entertaining read with humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes but with 40 years experience as a midwife, it's like getting the history of midwifery in Australia without the dry history lesson. 

Beth's nursing training, the slow changes to prenatal care, birth and neonatal practices over the years made me both giggle and cringe in acknowledgement. I also identified with the tragic loss of her baby daughter at 26 weeks, it echoed how little had changed when my own baby died. 

I loved reading about her time in remote aboriginal communities, especially Beth's last posting to Maningrida in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. We lived in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory for 5 years and briefly visited Maningrida so Beth's time there brought back memories ... 

The cultural differences, respect for ancestors and aboriginal family structures, friendships formed out of acceptance and respect. Beth was accepted by the community, included in "women's business" and learnt as much as she taught. 

Remote area nurses provide life-altering and often life-saving care in isolated and challenging conditions, their experience is invaluable but you can feel reading this that Beth feels the privilege is all hers, she is passionate, candid and humble. 

Beth completed her contract in Maningrida in June 2015, returned home to Wodonga planning to spend time with family and enjoy her grandchildren and she is now looking for her next adventure. 

Caroline Lee is a one of my favourite narrators ... brilliant in The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty and The Lake House by Kate Morton. And her narration in Outback Midwife is just as compelling. 

Thoroughly recommend this one

Connect with Beth McRae


  1. I've just added this into my wish list at Audible, it sounds like one to listen to on audio. Just annoyed with myself that I bought the book of The Lake House instead of listening to it though. Wow fancy living in the Nth Territory for 5 years, with your nursing experience plus that, it would give you a real feel for the memoir.

    1. I did my primary school years in the NT Kathryn, didn't live there as an adult but brought back memories I thought I'd forgotten. I hope you enjoy this one!

  2. Replies
    1. hope you get your hands on a copy B, it's a real slice of Australia. I think it's also on Netgalley :)

  3. Replies
    1. I think you'd love it Mystica ... try netgalley too.

  4. Ohhhhhhhh this sounds good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hope you get your hands on a copy Julie and like it as much as I did :))

  5. I love Caroline Lee too and that just may help me pick up a non-fiction audio!

    1. it didn't read like a non-fiction Nise`, Beth McRae leads a very interesting life. Hope you enjoy it!


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