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Historical Fiction Review: My Name is Mary Sutter


"Get out," he said.
"I'm staying."
"I don't need you."
"Don't be a fool. You need someone."
"Not you."
The boy lifted his head from the table. "Don't you talk like that to this nice lady," he slurred.

A decision had to be made.  This argument occurred during the United States Civil War, 1861-1865, in the historical fiction My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.  Her protagonist, Mary Sutter is a young midwife determined to become a surgeon in nineteenth century America, when a woman doctor was an anomaly.  But the times were not ordinary...

The country was tearing itself apart.  Walking into this maelstrom comes Mary Sutter from Albany, New York.  She sets off to the one place that would test anyone's endurance, Washington City, in the sweltering summer of 1861.

Not content to remain a midwife, Sutter's decision would affect the lives of those around her.  What Mary would find in the southern capital would be far different from placid Albany. Two men would fall in love with her but they have their own back-stories to tell.

To add to the tension of the novel, Mary's twin sister is ready to give birth to her first child.  Begging her to come home was their mother Amelia, also a midwife.

What will Mary do and how will she follow her dream to become a surgeon? You have to read the book to find out.

Garnering outstanding reviews, My Name is Mary Sutter is Robin Oliveira's first book.  Read Ms. Oliveira's inspiration for the novel.   

Interested in learning more about medicine, women nurses and physicians during this period in history?  Consider the following books:

Bleeding Blue and Gray: Civil War Surgery and the Evolution of American Medicine - Ira M. Rutkow
Doctors in Blue; 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. Oates


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Historical Fiction

The "hook" is the person; you have a vision of him or her stuggling against the odds and you can't let go of the story. I came across such a person about 5 years ago my self. I have a outline of how I think the story should go and started reading books and articles about writing historical fiction. I have to say getting my novel from it's present 2,500 word draft to 40,000 - 60,000 words is putting me off. But the person is talking to me almost everyday. So I have committed to complete this story however long it takes me. Your article gives me more encouragement; because I see how much time you put into the research. Good thing I like libraries.

My Name is Mary Sutter

Thank you for your comments. Draw inspiration from your draft towards the completion of your novel. The library offers many resources and consider using them if you haven't already. Good luck with your work.

Thank you Robin Oliviera, for

Thank you Robin Oliviera, for an excellant book. I mostly read Cornwell La Planta H Coben and true crime. I was given your book as a birthday present, so i gave it a try, well i loved it. I could not put it down i loved Mary for knowing what she wanted and went out to do it, and her love of family, and especially the 3 men in her life. I am now a fan!! Love Lorraine Adams van Lelyveld Port Elizabeth South Africa.

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