In this stunning historical 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 ofsuffering—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 andvulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere.
©2010 Robin Oliveira (P)2010 Penguin
"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." (Publishers Weekly)
I could not stop listening on more than one occasion and was frequently late for work as I sat in my car riveted by the passion, compassion, and intensity of this story. Great research that really evokes the pitiful conditions endured by so many during the Civil War.
I love historical fiction and Civil War history. This book took me there and fed my thirst for information while giving me a sense of the struggles of individuals involved in a beautifully written story. Hats off to the narrator, Kimberly Farr, as well.
Good story about a young woman in the Civil War period who wants to become a doctor. Interesting details about medical treatments and conditions.
Compelling, educational, and inspiring
I have listened to Kimberly Farr previously, reading "The Engagements". She did better with that story than with this one, although she was good one this, too.
There is a lot of historical detail incorporated into the story, so it requires some concentration. Also, the descriptions of war injuries are quite intense, as are the conditions faced by medical personnel and the soldiers facing battle without supplies or training. A great deal of research went into the writing of the book.
Mary Sutter is an interesting and inspiring character, representative of the restrictions women of that time faced if they had ambitions to step outside of the prescribed "woman's place".
This was an enjoyable story with interesting characters, and it brought the Civil War era to life very well. It gave an interesting perspective on what life must have been like as a woman in that time who wanted more out of life than marriage and children. That being said, I only gave it a 4, rather than a 5, because it left me a little cold. I was not as invested in what happened to the characters as I am when I read a novel that I consider to be great. The narration took me a little while to warm up to, as the speaking style is very deliberate, highly enunciated, and does not sound totally natural right away, but as the book progressed, I grew to like the narration. The narration was, like the book, very good but not great.
The reader and story held my interest. I learned more about women serving in the civil war. Very believable story. I loved they way the author described the scenes. Great details. Can't wait to listen to another one of her books. However I have been unable to find any more she has written. Janet ( Northener)
I enjoyed this work of fiction, somewhat reminiscient of "Cold Mountain" movie era. I gained a much greater understanding of the American Cival War (as a Canadian listener) proving that this author has really done her homework to bring history to life. The heroine is inspiring as she follows her dreams despite loss and despair. I found this a relaxing listen,,intriguing but not too intense.
Tons of interesting detail about the practice of medicine during the Civil War. I found most of the actual plot very routine. It's worth the listen if you like historical/medical stuff, but don't expect to be carried away by the story.
I don't know if it was the narrator, or the book itself, but the entire thing was a depressing mess of the same theme- war is horrible, death is horrible, life is horrible- over and over and over. Nothing EVER good happens to the main character until the epilogue. I get that not every book has to be happy and peppy, I get that the Civil War was horrible, I just didn't need it told to me over and and over. Kimberly Farr's narration was slightly nasty and off putting. I doubt I'd ever buy another audio book with her as narrator. On a positive note- I did learn things about medical care during the Civil War that I did not know (assuming they are true) and it gave a very clear, stark picture of what being in the army was like. My hearts go out to those who died, even if it was so long ago. Their suffering must have been hell.
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