Today I’d like to promote J.E Rowney’s ‘Life Lessons (the Lessons of a Student Midwife) as part of Story Origin’s author promotion campaign swap:

https://storyoriginapp.com/swaps/a406cdfc-d672-11ea-be06-579c7e066d1d

jerowney

Violet dreams of being a midwife.  All that stands between her and her future are anxiety, self-doubt, and three years of training. Can she overcome her demons to make her dreams come true?

Life Lessons is a new adult chick-lit medical drama, with splashes of clean romance.
Expect an unputdownable emotional page-turner that will take you deep into the life lessons of a student midwife.

Violet wants to be a midwife, but she has struggled with anxiety throughout her teenage years.  With her best friend Zoe at her side, she gets a place at University and starts training for her dream job.  Can she overcome her fears and find the self-confidence to make it through her first year?  Will Zoe’s romance with their housemate spell dating disaster?

Here is a NetGalley review by Natalie Kelly:

Natalie Kelly

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 July 2020

Violet and Zoe have always been the best of friends and dreamed of going to university together. Zoe wants to be a teacher whilst Violet wants to train to as a midwife. Their dreams finally come true and they embark on their first year at university together. Once there, they meet housemate Luke and quickly become a trio. Told from Violets point of view we follow her through the first year of midwifery study and training. From classroom to hospital and all the highs and lows in between. We also see her battling terrible anxiety that has the potential to ruin her dreams if she can’t overcome it.

I absolutely adored this book! It ended up being such a personal book for me that I couldn’t not love it. The reason this book initially appealed to me is because it was compared to This is Going to Hurt, A Hard Push and Call the Midwife. I love books that focus on and share stories from medical settings, and one told from the perspective of a student midwife sounded different to other books I have read. Now because this book was compared to those aforementioned books which, are all nonfiction I assumed this book was also a nonfiction. To be completely honest I spent the first 30% of this book believing it was a nonfiction. I only realised it wasn’t when I went back on to Netgalley and noticed it was marked as fiction. However, once I knew this it didn’t change my reading experience. It did read very much like a nonfiction story and I think that played a part in how quickly I read it as I tend to read nonfiction quite quickly. It also meant the characters felt incredibly real and I immediately became invested in their lives and story.

The main reason this book struck so strongly with me is studying midwifery is almost ‘the one that got away’ scenario for me. I picked my degree on a total whim and continued to study it despite knowing it wasn’t right for me. This was driven by fear and lack of confidence in admitting I made the wrong choice and starting from scratch. When picking my degree at college we were offered very little guidance and I didn’t know a quarter of the options that were out there and where they could lead. It was only later on when I began to research this career path and wished I had given it a go. I actually started the process of applying a few years ago but again I chickened out and didn’t continue with this. This book offered me a mall window into what it may have been like to study midwifery. I adored how much detail went into documenting violets journey. We learnt so much about what she did in lectures and then at her placements. It really documented the academic process and made me feel like I was there with her learning and that’s what really made me love this story. I just felt a real personal connection with it. I obviously cannot comment on how accurate the portrayal of studying this degree is, but it felt very authentic. There was so much detail in here that I can only assume the author had personal experience or spent a lot of time researching the topic.

Violet also really struggles with anxiety and once again I related to this on such a personal level. I too suffer from anxiety and could empathise with violets feelings on so many occasions. She spoke about her feelings of worthlessness and feeling she is a fraud. She also addresses her feelings of being a burden on people around her. Having experienced all of these feelings I really felt for violet. There was a scene where her anxiety really got the better of her in an exam and I had a very similar experience when I was taking my initial exam to study midwifery and it meant I couldn’t finish. Although it was hard watching Violet battle these things it was great to see her go through these experiences, grow in confidence and come out the other side.

I have also always loved books set at university, particularly those where the students live away from home. It gives me the opportunity to relive my student years through them. Although Zoe, Luke and Violet were all quite tame! They were far more interested in studying than partying. It was just fun following along with them on their journey.

Finally, I adored the friendships in this story. Zoe and Violet really are the best of friends who were always there for each other when needed. They knew each other so well and could tell instinctively when the other was upset. It was lovely to read about such a positive depiction of female friendship. Luke was also a great character and settled well into the girl’s dynamic. I also liked that for Violet there was no romance at any point for her. I loved following a character who was focused on friendship and her studies. I was also excited there is a new installment in this series coming out in August where we re-join Violet in the second year of university. From the synopsis it does sound like romance may be on the cards, so I am interested to see how violet balances this with her friends and studying.

Overall, I chose this book thinking it would be a collection of nonfiction stories from a student midwife and got something so much more. Despite it being fiction, it felt very real, authentic and like it could have been a nonfiction account. It was great gathering an insight into what it may have been like study midwifery. That teamed with violets experiences with anxiety really struck a chord with me. It meant this book really provoked strong emotions in me. It meant a really enjoyable, coming of age story become something more to me. I think it’s a book I will continue to think about and return to many times in the future.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for review.