#aww2019 · 2019 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · new release · romance

New Release Book Review: The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthur

Title: The Desert Midwifethe desert midwife small

Author: Fiona McArthur

Published: July 16th 2019

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 352

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

The heart-warming new romantic drama from the bestselling author of Mothers’ Day.

What if the love of your life forgot who you were?

When outback midwife Ava May meets Zac on a flight to Alice Springs, they tumble into a whirlwind affair. But an exciting adventure leads to a terrible accident, with shattering consequences. The couple who had so much going for them now find themselves with everything to lose.

Devastated, Ava retreats to her family cattle station to help salvage what she can of the critical situation. But at home on the drought-ridden farm, her brother is being pushed to his limits, and as his depression intensifies, Ava must step in to prevent another family tragedy.

Against the majestic backdrop of Australia’s Red Centre, old dreams are shattered, new babies are born and true love takes flight.

By Australia’s renowned midwife and bestselling author of Mothers’ Day, The Desert Midwife is a romantic drama about strong families, medical miracles and new beginnings.


A romantic drama with plenty of medical action, all set to a stunning outback backdrop, The Desert Midwife is a book that encapsulates the circle of love and life. Fiona McArthur makes a triumphant return with her latest novel, it is full of heart, romance, good times and hard times. I enjoyed The Desert Midwife immensely.

A book about finding love and losing it very quickly in devastating circumstances is at the very heart of The Desert Midwife. Fiona McArthur’s latest full length novel introduces the reader to Ava, a dedicated outback midwife and Zac, the object of Ava’s affections. It is definitely love at first sight when these two clock eyes on a flight. Zac and Ava cannot deny their attraction to one another. They engage in a swift and passionate affair, that is broken by an awful accident the couple are tragically involved in. The after effects of the accident has strong implications for Ava and Zac. It ultimately tears them apart. Ava decides to seek solace back home, at her family’s cattle station. While tending to her own broken heart, a health crisis occurs very close to home and Ava must take charge before things go from bad to worse. Meanwhile, Zac struggles with his thoughts, feelings, memories and the lasting effects of the accident. Can he find a way back to Ava, or has he lost her for good?

I loved how the focus of The Desert Midwife was on Australia’s red centre. From Alice Springs to Uluru and the surrounding areas, The Desert Midwife is a touching tribute to this valuable slice of our country. I appreciated the full and detailed descriptions of the landscape, complete with the fauna and flora that inhabits this part of Australia. There is a strong visual quality to McArthur’s writing in so many of the setting sequences, which impressed me greatly.

Fiona McArthur made me feel extremely comfortable with her character set. From the leading couple, Ava and Zac, along with the appealing supporting cast, McArthur works hard to build our connection to these people. We come to experience their innermost thoughts, feelings, upsets, celebrations and so on. Emotion is injected into the protagonists at all points in the novel and I found myself sympathising with many players in this novel, across a range of situations.

Fiona McArthur is known for her prowess in the romance department. If you are a fan of instant love style connections, then Ava and Zac’s romance will definitely draw appeal. The realist in me made me question the swiftness of this relationship, but it sure is a romantic tale if you are happy to go along with it. Adding in a side complication of a tragic accident and memory issues puts a wonderful dramatic spin on things. I’m sure it will send plenty of hearts in a flutter.

The Desert Midwife is not just about relationships, it offers an insightful and comprehensive account of life in remote areas, with a focus on medical care. Within this narrative, thanks to the medical background of these practicing professionals, the reader is given a very good picture of medical care in the outback. This extends to resource distribution, indigenous health and culture, mental illness and antenatal care.  Thanks to Fiona McAruthur’s first hand experiences, which has been carefully inserted into this novel, I came away with a better understanding and appreciation for a practicing medical professional in the red centre.

With my feelings dipping up and down with each new challenge our leads were faced with, The Desert Midwife proved to be a thoroughly emotive read.  I loved the focus on love, life, kinship and life’s challenges. One to draw in close, The Desert Midwife is comforting and life affirming read.

The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthur was published on 16th July 2019 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Desert Midwife, Fiona McArthur, visit here.

*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The Desert Midwife is book #106 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge

2 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthur

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s