My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Robin Oliveira

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ROBIN OLIVEIRA received an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship for a work-in-progress for My Name Is Mary Sutter. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
 
Published May 13, 2010 by Penguin Books. 383 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Name Is Mary Sutter

Kirkus Reviews

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Mary Sutter is a midwife—a very good one—but she wants more.

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Historical Novel Society

When the American Civil War breaks out in 1861, young Mary leaves her mother, twin sister, and brother and travels to Washington D.C.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Mary has a twin, Jenny, who is as unlike Mary as any person can be.

May 26 2010 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Book Buzz

You walk away from this book satisfied with the ending, as well as having gained a useful general background at a very high level of the drudgery and heartache, as well as the satisfaction, of being a Civil War medical worker.

May 15 2010 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Fiction Writers Review

During a tense dinner scene with Blevens, Mary interrupts her younger brother’s cheerfully expressed desire to enlist in the army by announcing, “’Dr. Blevens is going to the war, too’…It was as if someone had declared war in the dining room.” Later her mother Amelia observes to Blevens that “[M...

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Southern Lit Review

The debut literary work of historical fiction My Name is Mary Sutter by promising novelist Robin Oliveira offers an ambitious and unsparing glimpse into the life of aspiring physician Mary Sutter amid the turbulent U.S. Civil War.

Sep 01 2010 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Southern Lit Review

What it has helped me figure out is whether or not I have enough story for a novel (I think I do), but whether the outline will bear any resemblance to the final story is in question.

Sep 02 2010 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

New York Public Library

the Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War - George Worthington Adams Medicine Women: the Story of Early American Women Doctors - Cathy Luchetti A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War - Stephen B.

Sep 17 2010 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Access Atlanta

not one surgery performed under anyone’s auspices: What would a cut muscle do?” He soon finds out, and Mary looks on, realizing she has “left the world of women, and now all she had was tomorrow, and men, and their unreason.” As this absorbing drama about a little-known side of the Civil War unf...

Aug 11 2010 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Woman's Day

This book takes you back when women were not allowed to even enter medical school.

Mar 29 2011 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel

Reader Rating for My Name Is Mary Sutter
77%

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