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My Name Is Mary Sutter: Book summary and reviews of My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

My Name Is Mary Sutter

by Robin Oliveira

My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira X
My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Oliveira deftly depicts the chaotic aftermath of battles and develops her own characters while incorporating military and political leaders of the time. The historic details enrich the narrative without overshadowing Mary's struggles. This well-written and compelling debut will engage all readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in the Civil War." - Library Journal

"...fine details...set this novel above the gauzier variety of Civil War fiction. The focus on often horrific medicine and the women who practiced it against all odds makes for compelling reading." - Publishers Weekly

"This impressive historical epic deserves a large readership." - Booklist

"An interesting subject that would have benefited from better execution." - Kirkus Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Dorothy T.

Not for the faint of heart
When I first read about this book and decided to read it, I did not expect grueling descriptions of battles and amputations. However, the story, the characters, and the themes of guilt, ambition, and self-awareness are more than enough to recommend this great debut novel.

Bonnie Brody

Woman of Spirit and Hope
Mary Sutter wants to be a surgeon. The main problem for her attaining this goal is that the book takes place during the civil war time and there are no female surgeons. Mary packs her bags and travels from New York to Washington, D.C. to help with the war effort. There she mentors with a wonderful physician and nurses many of the injured to health. This is a novel with spirit, hope and suspense. It is also a great page turner. Though I'm usually not a fan of historical novels, this one caught me from page one.

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Author Information

Robin Oliveira Author Biography

Photo: Fred Milkie, Jr.

Robin Oliveira grew up just outside Albany, New York in Loudonville. She holds a B.A. in Russian, and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow, Russia. She worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, specializing in Critical Care and Bone Marrow Transplant. In 2006 Robin received an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2007 she was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship for her debut novel-in-progress, My Name is Mary Sutter, then entitled The Last Beautiful Day. My Name is Mary Sutter also received the 2011 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the 2010 American Historical Fiction Honorable Mention from the Langum Charitable Trust. The book was chosen as an all-city read for both Schenectady, N.Y. and Roswell, Georgia. ...

... Full Biography
Link to Robin Oliveira's Website

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