David Walsh's Reviews > My Name is Mary Sutter

My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
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's review
Apr 23, 2011

liked it
Read in April, 2011

The author spoke at our community college a few weeks ago, as this was the One County, One Book selection. She was engaging; good research, interesting accounts of medical work during the Civil War, an interesting story about the connection between one of her fictional characters and a namesake in real life – a doctor, who married a Civil War nurse considerably younger than him. Oliveira has a picture of the woman, who resembles her vision of Mary Sutter exactly.

I enjoyed the book, partially because it is set in the Civil War. The scenes of field hospitals and amputational surgery are difficult to read. In fact, Pam brought me dinner tonight as I sat reading the Antietam accounts, and I found it hard to eat.

The story also contains one or two scenes that are far-fetched and way too coincidental – one involving Lincoln, one involving Mary’s encounter with her brother-in-law at the battle. Without these scenes, of course, the story doesn’t work the way the author wished; but it does cause the storyline to run to sentimentality.

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