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My Name is Mary Sutter (Mary Sutter, #1)
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My Name is Mary Sutter

(Mary Sutter #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  20,077 ratings  ·  2,711 reviews
A New York Times bestseller and a moving Civil War novel about a young midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon.

Fans of Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, and Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini will love this New York Times bestselling tale of the Civil War. Mary Sutter is a brilliant young midwife who dreams of becoming
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published May 13th 2010 by Viking (first published January 1st 2010)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,077 ratings  ·  2,711 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review soon --short one I hope lol LOVED IT! Update:

Mary Sutter is determined and tenacious to become more than just a midwife. She wants to learn- she’s sincerely fascinated with medicine...details among details.
The obstacles for a woman to be accepted into medical school - to become a doctor - let alone a surgeon- were tenfolds more than today.
What I didn’t know that debut author: Robin Oliveira, would transport me back
to a period of history and giv
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
***Review written in 2011, one of my all time favorites***

This remarkable book is the story of one young woman's desire to be a doctor in the late 1800's and early 1900. She and her mother are midwives, well renowned in the Albany NY area. Her father was a great railroad entrepreneur and so they were very well off. They were a close family, a twin sister Jenny and a brother Christian rounded out the family. At the outset of the novel Mary has been trying and trying to no avail to enter medical s
I was trying to rally some friends to go with me to an event by this author. No one was interested, which puzzled me. “You have to come! Civil War books are awesome!” One guy was particularly reluctant. “But we can read it together! Civil War books are the best!” He admitted that he have not read any Civil War novels and seemed uncomfortable. At which point, it occurred to me that I myself haven’t read many Civil War books.* But I forged ahead like a robot. “Civil War books are great!” He asked ...more
... a moving Civil War novel about a young midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon, says the blurb. I was hesitant to read this novel. What else could be expected than the gritty, dark tale of a young woman who forced her way into the civil war in her desire to become a surgeon?

I needed to get the TBR-list reduced. It was time to face this particular psychological war of words. It took more than just courage and determination to get me hooked and made me stay. Devastating, raw, and brutal. The
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
3.5 stars

I enjoyed this intriguing and informative Civil War novel centered around the strong-willed and stubborn character of Mary Sutter. Sutter is a midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon, an unheard of occupation for a woman during that time. She is turned away by experienced surgeons who she wishes to shadow and learn from. Her strong determination refuses to accept being denied and drives her to travel into the battlefields to face and assist the injured and dying soldiers head-on.

I rea
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This novel was truly wonderful. Mary Sutter, the strong heroine, is a woman to be both admired and pitied. She wants a life she can not have and when she does follow her dream it becomes the nightmare of the Civil War. Robin Olivera has done a remarkable job of writing that is able to capture your imagination. In fact many of the war scenes described are not for the faint of heart. Mary succeeds not only as a surgeon in the end, but also as a woman who finally finds the peace and the love of a g ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lyndz by: Ann
Shelves: reviewed
I am feeling a bit torn about how I feel about My Name is Mary Sutter. On the one hand I love a book with a strong-willed female protagonist – and this definitely had that. On the other hand, war books are hard for me to emotionally stomach – since I have a brother in the Army.

My Name is Marry Sutter is about an able-bodied young midwife who, during the American Civil war, is trying to fulfill a life-long ambition to become a doctor, more specifically a surgeon. She faces disappointment and sexi
Kris Irvin
Nov 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bad-books
This is the type of book that I should have LOVED. Takes place in the Civil War era, which I used to obsessed with. Main character is a strong-willed woman who wants to be a doctor more than anything. Yep. Guess what?

This book sucks.

It is so incredibly slow. The war doesn't even start until halfway through the novel. We focus on 3.5 different main characters at random times and in random places. At one point the story veers away from Mary for several chapters, and you are left to wonder ... wh
Set in Albany New York during the American Civil War in the 1860's, Mary Sutter is a renowned and respected midwife. However, her fascination with medicine doesn't end there and she dreams of maybe, someday becoming a surgeon, an almost impossible ambition for a woman of that era. Mary is repeatedly turned down for admission to numerous medical schools for simply being a woman. When Dorothea Dix persuades Abraham Lincoln to allow her to recruit a band of female nurses to serve alongside the army ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I was waiting for my library copy of Winter Sisters I decided to read this not realizing that it was a prequel to Winter Sisters or that I had attempted it once before but abandoned for who knows what esoteric reason. This time I easily became absorbed in the story and thoroughly enjoyed this civil war era tale of a woman with fierce determination to become a surgeon at a time when women just did not do that. Although Mary Sutter was not a real person, she embodies the spirit of 17 women w ...more
Elizabeth George
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recomended-reads
Sometimes the publicity placed on a book cover is mostly hype. That is not the case with this amazing novel. It's brilliantly researched and brilliantly written. And it's a debut novel. From first page to last, I was utterly gripped. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Engrossing read, rich with historical detail, My Name is Mary Sutter tells the story of a woman determined to be a surgeon and how the Civil War gives her the chance to enter the male-dominated medical field.

While I think it's high time the North had an answer to the high-spirited and strong-willed Scarlett O'Hara, Mary Sutter is not quite it. She is determined (although it's never made quite clear why, and her desire waxes and wanes oddly) but she's not as likable (or as unlikeable) as Scarlet
joyce g
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A deep look at the civil war through a young woman's eyes and heart as she reaches for her future in medicine.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Carol by: Judy Morganroth
Most of my GR friends rated this 3 star. Most did not comment so I'm not certain what kept them from giving My Name is Mary Sutter a higher rating. A solid 4 for me. Length and a bit too much war kept it from a 5 star rating though that might not be entirely fair. After all this is as much a story of the men of the Civil War as it is historical fiction of a determined young woman with aspirations of becoming a surgeon. The war is a perfect backdrop for this as where else might Mary have achieved ...more
Mar 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I am a huge fan of Historical fiction but this has got to be one of the most boring books I read. I could not even get past the initial pages, it just read like a bad monologue between characters, absolutely no desire to care what happens to any character. The entire time I was asking myself, why should I care who is Mary Sutter? As far as I am concerned she was an undeveloped character that I soon ditched after I got to know her.

Oh well interesting plot but failed to deliver.

Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Mary Sutter is from a well-to-do family in Albany New York and the females in her family have been midwives for generations, but Mary dreams the impossible dream of being a surgeon. When the sabers rattle between the North and the South and the men of Albany gleefully join the Army, Mary heads for Washington City - if she can't be a surgeon she'll nurse instead - and she is soon literally up to her neck in wounded soldiers. Mary's story takes her to several battlefields and through her eyes we s ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
It was unfortunate that I started reading this book 2 seconds after I finished another book that was not only vivid and creative, but emotionally vivid and creative. That seemed to amplify the difference between these two books in such an extreme way. My Name is Mary Sutter was just okay for me.

Reading this was like looking at a painting. I could see the color of the sky, the civil war uniforms, the clothes, the buildings, and I could see stiff looking characters....but I had no idea what they
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a read! This author did her research!
This novel takes place in the premature and all stages of the Civil War. Mary was a midwife and desperately wanted to become a surgeon. Mary leaves her family behind to go to Washington to work in one of the worse hospitals to learn surgery. Mary is strong willed and refuses to let any one stand in her way of her dreams included her family. After the hospital is closed, she finds herself on the outskirts of battlefields with the help of two surgeons
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Mary Sutter is a midwife with one ambition - to become a surgeon. No easy feat in 19th century America where the doors to medical school are firmly closed to women. Therefore, when the Civil War breaks out, Mary grasps the chance to fulfil her dream and leaves home to tend to wounded soldiers in the makeshift hospitals and out in the battlefield.
I was pulled into the story from the very first paragraph. Mary's determination is captivating, she becomes your heroine, somebody to
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
My name is Mary Sutter is a book centered in Upstate New York and Washington during the civil war.
I am prefacing this review with the statement that I have read little Historical fiction to which romance was not a major factor in the story. This book is not one of those.
The book is extremely well written and I enjoyed the author’s style greatly. I learned a lot from the book and I learned to love both Mary and the other players in the story.
I could have done without the viewpoint of the Presi
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This Civil War story was good for its historical information and insight about what it could have been like in the trenches of that war (there are some graphic scenes). The story centered around a young woman's quest to become a surgeon during this time. While her perseverance in pursuing her dreams against all odds was admirable, I needed more from her character in order to connect with her. And because of that, I didn't connect very well with the love story either. It is possible that a fan of ...more
Connie G
Excellent book about a very independent, intelligent midwife whose goal is to become a doctor, a vocation closed to women at the beginning of the Civil War. It's the story of her experiences in the makeshift Union hospitals and the battlefields in the Civil War. It's very descriptive of battlefield conditions, and the hell that war is. It also tells the story of her family and their complex relationships. It's a well written and well researched book without being dry.
Robin Oliveira did a wonderful job with this one, you can tell she did her research. She set the scenes and period so well and developed a wonderful character in Mary Sutter.
Bonnie Brody
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes the reader is lucky enough to pick up a book that they can get lost in. Place and time disappear and all that is left is immersion in the written word. We become one with the book. My Name is Mary Sutter is such a book. From the time I started it until the very last page, all that existed for me was the story - the ebb and flow of events. I was transported.

The time is 1861 and the novel starts in Albany, New York. Mary Sutter is a determined woman, intelligent and headstrong. She is no
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Goodness. What an unforgettable book. Author Robin Oliveira has created a heroine unlike any other and a powerful story that captures the despair, horror and agony of one of the bloodiest battles in American history.

The year is 1861. Mary Sutter, a remarkable midwife trained by her mother, dreams of becoming a surgeon but is refused entrance to medical schools or to be apprenticed by a doctor. When the Civil War breaks out between the North and South, Mary Sutter leaves the comforts of h
Tara Chevrestt
This is a good book, just not great. Mary Sutter is a young lady in a country on the verge of a civil war. She is also an excellent midwife and has the preposterous idea that she can be a surgeon in a world in which women are not even accepted as nurses yet. Mary will not be deterred, however. She goes to hospital after hospital, appeals to surgeon after surgeon. In a way, the war is just what Mary needs, as suddenly her services are needed at the Union Hotel aka Pestilence Palace where many wou ...more
Adelaide Mackenzie Fuss
Dreary! Why does she really want to be a doctor? Because she had a start as a midwife? This question is never truly answered. The joy of medicine and the deep intrigue of the most amazing machine on the planet, the human body, is never examined. From the perspective of this novel, medicine is the worst occupation possible. This is the author's slant on it. Dark book. The soul of a physician is NOT examined. Mary Sutter is purely ambitious for no other reason other than she has skills and few rom ...more
On the cusp of the American Civil War, a young midwife wants to learn from a surgeon (male, as all were then) more about how the human body works; ultimately, she wants to go to medical school.

And so Mary Sutter leaves home to try to learn surgery in hospitals or in field camps where the wounded and dying are brought.

There are more than a few pages dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, the generals who seemed inept.

What is more alarming, perhaps, is the fact that "germs," or bacteria were not quite dis
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Mary Sutter which takes place during the Civil war. She is a determined, headstrong and remarkable young woman, a midwife, who wants to become a surgeon in a time when women did not become physicians. Very well written.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
Wish I had never heard of Mary Sutter or any of the other cardboard characters that people this tedious, plodding book. Can't think of any redeeming qualities. Had to read this for book club, otherwise would have stopped after five pages.
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Robin Oliveira grew up just outside Albany, New York in Loudonville. She holds a B.A. in Russian, and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow, Russia. She is also a Registered Nurse, specializing in Critical Care and Bone Marrow Transplant. She received an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is the fiction editor for the literary magazine upstreet and a former assis ...more

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Mary Sutter (2 books)
  • Winter Sisters (Mary Sutter, #2)
“In some ways I liked the struggle better, I think. It clarified what was important.” 16 likes
“For all the things we say to our children for their own good, very little good ever comes of it.” 6 likes
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