adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $27.97

Buy for $27.97

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood';s most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.

Though these are stories of unimaginable hardship, what shines through each is the resilience of the human spirit and the strength, courage, and humor of people determined to build a future for themselves against the odds. This is an enduring work of literary nonfiction, at once a warmhearted coming-of-age story and a startling look at people's lives in the poorest section of postwar London.

©2005 Jennifer Worth (P)2014 HighBridge Company

Featured Article: Dream Big—Meet the All-Star Cast of The Sandman: Act II


Immerse yourself in the world of The Sandman right now with an unforgettable audio experience. The star power alone is worth the price of admission—the cumulative amount of awards that have been won by the cast over the course of their careers is simply staggering. The cast features some of the most talented and esteemed actors working today. So let's dive right into the who's who of The Sandman: Act II.

What listeners say about Shadows of the Workhouse

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,774
  • 4 Stars
    433
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    7
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,797
  • 4 Stars
    269
  • 3 Stars
    40
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,588
  • 4 Stars
    379
  • 3 Stars
    113
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Back stories, but no birth stories

I have enjoyed Jennifer Worth's books and the "Call the Midwife" TV adaptation. One thing I say jokingly about the TV show is that at some point in each episode, a woman will be screaming in pain as she has a baby. This book has none of that. There are three main stories in this book. First she tells some tragic accounts of people she encountered at Nonatas House who had been orphaned and raised in workhouses. Second, there's the story of Sister Monica Joan and her arrest and trial for shoplifting. The third story concerns an elderly Boer War veteran whom Jenny befriended. The underlying themes are about poverty and isolation and how enlightened people regard the people affected by them.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you like the PBS series

you will this as well as it sort of fills out the series! So enjoy!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice followup to "Call The Midwife"

"Call The Midwife" was my favorite book of last year. Although the next two books both stand alone, I would strongly suggest reading it first. Shadows of the Workhouse focuses less on the work of the midwives, rather on the experiences of older neighbors, nuns and patients who either lived in or were strongly effected by the workhouse (poorhouses). You get a vivid insight to the system that damaged families and left many who were still alive in the 1950's scarred by their experiences. I really enjoyed this book: it is tender, humorous, heartbreaking and makes history real. I do genealogy and have found several family members who lived and died in the poorhouses, so it was very personal to me. There remains a James Herriot feel to the books which consists of multiple short stories flowing together around the theme. Sister Monica Joan continues to steal the show with her antics, the book is worth the credit to see her arrested and in court for stealing jewelry. I didn't realize this is now a popular series in Britain by the BBC, you can view it on Netflix.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Unfair comparison vs. Book 1 (?)

Loved EVERYTHING about Book 1... probably among my top 5 ever. Nicola Barber raises reading to a true performance art. This one has fewer and deeper stories and therefore seemed to move more slowly for me. Have I already proclaimed my love for the voice (s) of Nicola Barber? This book is a "4". (Book 1 was a "5++"!) Nicola's reading raises the e-book version a full point.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A bittersweet look at the Nurses and Nuns who helped the poorest of London after WW II with medical knowledge, compassion and lo

Great book that gives more detail than the PBS show. If you enjoyed the series, you'll love the audible books. Very gritty at times but overall a tribute to true "healers" who follow their calling to help those most in need. Mostly with medical help, but with a strong dose of psychology when needed. A wonderful group of women.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Definitely a departure from the first book.

I wish I had read the other reviews more closely. There is no midwifery in this book but bleak illustration of work house life. I didn’t like the way stories were put together - if this had been a book, I’d have put it down in the first section. It’s beautifully narration is the same as first book. These are important stories to be told but hard to hear.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Dickensonian Historic Account

Gripping backstory to the popular television series. Sometimes appalling, sometimes humorous, always warmly human. Wonderfully and tenderly narrated.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Much darker than the 1st and 3rd installments

I started this and a few chapters in, I couldn't continue. The stories are too painful and full of abuse and graphic child abuse. I had to shut it off.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An easy book to listen to

I really liked the show and so I began listening to the books. There is a bit of repeating of the first book but certainly plenty enough that's new to be able to enjoy it. I'm very fascinated by the poverty and workhouse systems which England endured in its past so I appreciate real life stories of people who experienced this. I definitely cryed at some parts of the book, so keep your tissues handy.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Best books and television series ever! I am just sad there are only 3 books to enjoy. Narration is excellent as well!

1 person found this helpful