all images and stories are the property of Catherine Beerda-Basso and are not to be used without given permission...thank you

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Wisdom Club

Welcome to the Wisdom Club.
A group of diverse women who come together to discuss literature.

The choice this gathering:
by Ami McKay
The place:
my house

Simple Food

The Birth House is Ami MacKay's debut novel and was a number one Canadian bestseller. Winning three CBA Libris Awards and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, this book has become a favourite in book clubs around the world. For me, Th Birth House runs in the same circles as great female-based novels, such as The Red Tent and The Secret Life of Bees

McKay is a talented storyteller, whose writing can inspire notions o wanting to go back to a time when women depended only on their instincts, each other and Mother Earth to navigate through life. She is able to intertwine fictional characters into historical fact so smoothly that you might just walk away from this book ready to give up all your modern conveniences to be able to live an authentic life as her characters do.

This earth 20th Century story is set in a small fishing town found off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada by the name of Scats Bay. It is in the hills of Scots Bay where we meet the heroin of the story, who is a young woman named Dora Rare. Dora is the first female in five generations of Rares and this act has often made her the topic of gossip amongst some of the superstitious village folk - she is labeled  as odd and different, with some going as far to say she is a witch. These tales only intensify when the local midwife, Miss Babineau, takes Dora on as her apprentice.

Miss B is a strong-spirited Acadian woman with a great gift for storytelling and knowing exactly what Mother Earth has to offer in way of medicinal remedies. With Dora at her side, Miss B. uses her knowledge to help the villagers around her with their aliments - infertility, difficult labours, breech birth, and even unwanted pregnancies- asking nothing in return.
from the book  pg 37 ~
"This here's the willow Book." She closed her eyes and stroked it's cracked leather cover. "We put things here we don"t want to forget. The moon owns the Willow."
She untied the thick pieces of twine that was holding it's loose, yellowed pages together, thumbing through until she found what she was looking for. "Thank you sweet Mary. Here is it is: coltsfoot. Some likes to call it the son-brfore-the-father 'cause it sends up it's flowers before the leaves. Just the thing for an angry throat. You write your name down in the corner of the page Dora, So's you remember to remember." 

But times are changing and the modern world comes to Scots Bay threatening Dora's new way of life. This disruptive change comes in the form of a chauvinistic, brash medical doctor named Gilbert Thomas. Dr. Thomas opens a Maternity Home down the mountain in another village and comes to entice the women of Scots Bay with the promise of sterile and painless childbirths if they would see fit to give up other luxuries to pay for the fee of his service. He is successful in drawing some women to his facility; even to the point of having some of them question the midwives methods. These questions lead to gossip, accusations and recriminations which are only  intensified when a local woman dies after being treated by Dora.
Dora has to dig deep within herself to find out who she really is and what truth she lives by. Then and only then is she able to stand up to the determined Dr. Thomas

"My house became the birth house. That's what the women called it, knocking on the door, ripe with child, water breaking on the porch. First-time mothers full of questions, young girls in trouble, and seasoned women with a brood already at hoe. They all c0me to the house, wailing and kenning their babies into the world. I wiped the feverish nicks with cool mist cloths, spooned porridge and hot tea into their tired bodies, talked them back from outside of themselves." pg IX ~Dora

This is us
The Wisdom Club
9 of the 12
Doing life through books that inspire.
Women truly are, amazing creatures!

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Anna and her partner Dave, who gave birth to their first child this past week.
Welcome Marco Robert 

I had the immense pleasure and honour of photographing Marco 30 minutes after he entered this world.
It brought back all the emotions and memories from my own births and for a moment I thought I could do it again : ) ...
just for a moment...
Thank you Anna, Thank you Dave for allowing me to share this time with you.

*This book finds a permanent home on my shelf.

Ami Mc Kay just released her new novel

Love and Light


  1. xxx bless the tiny baby xxx

  2. You girls sure do churn through the books! Might have to look into this one. I really enjoyed The Red Tent - and that was a blog recomendation too.

    Is that you in the photo with darker hair too? - Nice!x

  3. Aw congrats!
    I adored the Red Tent! Is this one similar- it sounds like it. My womens group is doing "the not so big life." more of a spiritual simplifying. I think I may suggest this one next.

  4. Great Job Cat!! it looks awesome. Thank you again for the lovely gathering at your place.

  5. so sorry to have missed it!!
    Lovely summary, though - it helps me feel I was kind-of there. :)
    Beautiful, beautiful babe...!


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