Thursday, July 21, 2011

Historical Thursday


My Name is Marry Sutter
by: Robin Oliveira

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Mary Sutter is a brilliant young midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Eager to run away from recent heartbreak, Mary travels to Washington, D.C., to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of two surgeons, who both fall unwittingly in love with her, and resisting her mother's pleas to return home to help with the difficult birth of her twin sister's baby, Mary pursues her medical career against all odds. It is a novel rich with historical detail-including cameo appearances by Abraham Lincoln and Dorothea Dix.
This was a book that I listened to while driving and I must say that it was really well done for a book on tape. I really enjoyed the premise of this novel. There are many accounts of the lives of the soldiers in the Civil War, and we do hear about Clara Barton (who makes a cameo appearance) but the rest of the medical side of the war really isn’t much known to us. This book offered a glimpse into exactly what was faced in the surgeries on the battle fields.

Oliveira did her research, there is a lot of medicine and surgery information in there and mention of the pioneering nurses of the time – the well known Clara Barton of course but Dorothea Dix takes the foreground here. There are also some interaction and parts from the point of view of President Lincoln showing exactly how nurses got to be allowed to help in the army and on the battle field and also offering a glimpse into the unpreparedness of the North.

It is an amazing idea that I really wanted to fall in love with, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t connect to the characters or really pity Mary’s heartbreak. Mary seemed a little cold to me which made me wonder why there were two men fighting for her. And about those two men I really didn’t care which one won. And if you don’t care about who the leading lady ends up with you don’t care about the leading lady. For me that is a bad sign. On another note there are bits of profanity that I didn’t feel were needed.

But I don’t want to leave on a terrible note because it wasn’t a terrible book. I liked how it emphasized the medical and historical aspects rather than dwell on the romantic. And I liked the writing style for the most part. It is one I would recommend to Civil War buffs- especially now as it is the sesquicentennial year of the start of the Civil War.

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