Fifth book born from letters to the midwife

5/11/10'Jennifer Worth at her home in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead
5/11/10'Jennifer Worth at her home in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead

The best-selling Hemel Hempstead author who has become a household name is to have a fifth book published posthumously, thanks to her immaculate preservation of letters from fans.

Jennifer Worth, who died of oesophageal cancer in 2011 aged 75, is famed for her autobiographical Call The Midwife trilogy, based on the early part of her career as a midwife with the nuns of East London’s Nonnatus House in the 1950s.

The popular memoirs were adapted into a BBC drama which has now spanned two series with a third set to air later this year, though talented Jennifer, who spent much of her life in Boxmoor, didn’t live to see her words translated to the small screen. The keen musician, who retired from the health profession in 1973 after becoming disillusioned with the NHS, also wrote In the Midst Of Life, in which she challenged views on death.

But the beloved wife, mother and grandmother’s latest release, Letters To The Midwife, is a poignant collection of correspondence between the author and her readers.

While there are many letters from nurses and midwives who share their own stories, the compilation also features messages from a martial arts-practising biker who admits he was reduced to tears by the author’s works, and as well as previously unpublished writings by Jennifer.

The book was, according to her husband Philip and eldest daughter Suzannah Hart, born from an idea by Jennifer’s editor, after her family had trawled through piles of her meticulously kept records.

They, along with Jennifer’s other daughter Juliette, pay tribute to her in the book’s introduction, while actress and comedienne Miranda Hart – among the stars of the TV adaptation – wrote the foreword.

Letters to the Midwife is released next Thursday.