My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 17, 2010
An enthralling historical novel about a young woman’s struggle to become a doctor during the Civil War
In this stunning first novel, Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headstrong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine-and eager to run away from her recent heartbreak- Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens-two surgeons who fall unwittingly in love with Mary’s courage, will, and stubbornness in the face of suffering-and resisting her mother’s pleas to return home to help with the birth of her twin sister’s baby, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital.
Like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Robert Hicks’s The Widow of the South, My Name Is Mary Sutter powerfully evokes the atmosphere of the period. Rich with historical detail (including marvelous depictions of Lincoln, Dorothea Dix, General McClellan, and John Hay among others), and full of the tragedies and challenges of wartime, My Name Is Mary Sutter is an exceptional novel. And in Mary herself, Robin Oliveira has created a truly unforgettable heroine whose unwavering determination and vulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere.
Mary Sutter is a midwife from Albany, NY who has aspirations to become a surgeon. The book opens in the 1860s, on the eve of the Civil War. Mary is desperately trying to get into medical school, but is turned away at every attempt. Back then, surgery was a male-dominated profession and women were not allowed to be anything more than nurses. She seeks out James Blevens, a surgeon in town, in hopes that he will apprentice her. When he turns her away, Mary’s frustration and recent heartbreak lead her to answer the call for nurses in Washington City. She ends up in a makeshift “hospital” set up in a hotel, immediately overwhelmed with caring for all the wounded men. The doctor stationed there, William Stipp, sees something in Mary and is immediately drawn to her strength of character. The two of them work side-by-side throughout the war, from the hospital to the battlefield, doing everything they can to heal the injured men. This book is not for the weak stomach. There are a lot of intense and graphic scenes of war and of surgeries that will make you cringe. I almost had to detach myself from the story to get through some of those scenes. They are very difficult to read.
This is an incredible story. I fell in love with Mary’s character and her drive to become a doctor. She is inspiring and never gives up. I was rooting for her the entire time and hoping that she would realize her dream. There is so much to this story and it kept me riveted page after page. I absolutely loved it – one of my favorite books of the year so far. The amount of historical detail was simply impressive. I can’t imagine how much research the author had to put into this book. It actually made me go and do some internet searches on some of the events depicted in the story so I could learn more about them.
It’s hard for me to believe that this is a debut author. I am in love with this book and cannot wait to read more from this author. I very highly recommend this book.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one SIGNED copy of this amazing book to give away to one lucky reader!
1. You MUST be follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect, E-Mail Subscription, or RSS Feed.
2. This contest is open to residents of USA and CANADA only!
3. You MUST complete the form below – do not leave information in the comments – it will not count!
4. The contest will run until May 31, 2010; 1 winner will be selected and contacted thereafter.
5. Once the winner is contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my e-mail or another winner will be selected. Make sure you check your spam filters!
6. Book will be shipped directly from the publisher.