Review: Mrs. McKeiver’s Solutions by Margaret Morgan

This story set in 18th century England was such a treat! Mrs. McKeiver is the local midwife and general mother figure for the villagers. Her son doesn’t have the use of his legs and vacillates between depression and moving forward with his life.

The plot seemed secondary to the characters and setting. Basically, Mrs. McKeiver was remarrying, and her son had to figure out where to go when his mother moved. Other characters had babies, were forced to move to a different home, changed their religious inclinations, and were punished for their crimes.

I’m not big on non-fiction, so this fictional account was the perfect way for me to learn about English villages in the 1700s. The filth stands out in my mind, especially. People stank of sweat, urine, vomit, and disease. Animals stank, period. Food rotted and clothes deteriorated. Author Margaret Morgan employs Chaucer’s manner of slipping in crude bodily remarks in a matter-of-fact way… and always elicited from me a delayed but genuine laugh!

Besides the daily living outlined in the story, I was intrigued by the power that “the church” had on the villagers. Bishops, supposedly representing the Church, were totally in charge of everything, from disbursement of food and jobs to determining where people would live! Of course this autonomy led to corruption, another thread in this novel.

My only complaint is that I was rendered impatient by the rambly writing. I sometimes found myself not wanting to pick up at the next chapter because I knew it require some effort to work through all the words to get to the meat of the story. And so, Mrs. McKeiver’s Solutions was a long-winded but eye-opening, educational, amusing glimpse of a pretend village in a very real period in history.