Join us for a discussion of "My Name is Mary Sutter" the 2015 All Iowa Reads selection.
From the book's cover: "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."
My Name Is Mary Sutter 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. Oliveira's short fiction and essays have appeared in Euphony and Numero Cinq. She is the former fiction editor at the literary magazine upstreet and a former assistant editor at Narrative Magazine. Her new novel is I Always Loved You, the story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas's tempestuous relationship.