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.
The Civil War offers a 20-year-old midwife who dreams of becoming a doctor the medical experience she craves, plus hard work and heartbreak, in this rich debut that takes readers from a small upstate New York doctor's office to a Union hospital overflowing with the wounded and dying. Though she's too young for the nursing corps, Mary Sutter goes to Washington, anyway, and, after a chance meeting with a presidential secretary, is led to the Union Hotel Hospital, where she assists chief surgeon William Stipp and becomes so integral to Stipp's work she ignores her mother's pleas to return home to deliver her sister's baby. From a variety of perspectives Mary, Stipp, their families, and social, political, and military leaders the novel offers readers a picture of a time of medical hardship, crisis, and opportunity. Oliveira depicts the amputation of a leg, the delivery of a baby, and soldierly life; these are among the fine details that 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.
What great book! I really had a difficult time putting it down, the history, the description of the conditions in the field " hospitals"--really enjoyed it!
A True Heroine of the Civil War
Robin Oiliviera has created an unforgettable heroine in Mary Sutter, a midwife who, through sheer determination and force of will, becomes a surgeon. To get there, she pursues the battlefields of the Civil War to minister to the wounded and dying, and to learn the arts of medicine and surgery. Her ambition doesn’t come without a price — many prices — but Mary is always, first and foremost, true to herself. Oliviera’s writing is deft, detailed, and beautiful. This book and its sequel, THE WINTER SISTERS, kept me up far past my bedtime many nights. I highly recommend both books!
My name is Mary Sutter
A wonderful historical novel. Great read! I highly recommend it!