Nineteenth-century New York City midwife Axie Muldoon and her husband parlay the sale of "Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint" into a thriving business, in this novel based on a true story. Flouting convention and defying the law, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue. When her services attract outraged headlines, though, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official—Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie's power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear.
"Not just a splendidly page-turning story of an angry orphan clawing her way up in the world, but a gripping docu-drama about women's business (in several senses) in 19th-century America. My Notorious Life gives midwifery its full dues: the glories and the miseries, the feminism and the money, the literally bloody ethical dilemmas. Unflinchingly memorable."—Emma Donoghue