Thursday, September 22
Book Review: My Name is Mary Sutter
Author: Robin Oliveira
Summary: Mary Sutter is a brilliant young midwife who dreams of becoming surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against woman in medicine - and eager to runaway 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 and help with the difficult birth of her twin sisters baby, Mary pursues hr medical career against all odds. Rich with historical detail - including cameo appearances of Abraham Lincoln and Dorothea Dix, among others - and introducing a heroine whose unwavering determination and vulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere, My Name is Mary Sutter is certain to be recognized as one of the greatest novels of the Civil War.
My Rating: 7/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the detailed account of the civil war; the effects on the families and those who worked on the front lines to save the lives of the soldiers, I found the characters to be flat, underdeveloped and ineffective to make this go from a good story to an excellent one.
This particular story doesn't focus on the fighting as much as it focuses on what happens to those who come back injured, the people who save try them and the conditions they had to work with. While there were some scenes focusing on the front line, the story was heavily focused on those who worked to save the soldiers lives. One of my favourite scenes in the book was Mary racing along the front line, in the aftermath of a battle as she tries to save as many she can, with little supplies. But I wasn't a fan of how the author explained some of the midwifery procedures and the story line with Mary's family and sister weren't well developed, it felt it was brought in as an afterthought, and didn't flow with the rest of the story.
I also had a few issues with Mary, along with the other characters. Mary was suppose to be passionate about wanting to become a surgeon, and although she was constantly striving to become one, I didn't feel it on an emotional level from her. She said it constantly, her actions showed it, but there was no emotion from her to really show how she worked for her dream. I found the same from the other characters, and the romantic relationships between all the characters was no existent. There was nothing believable about them being romantically involved and for the most part, the story would have been just fine without them. The author had a very strong historical fiction, I wish that was more emphasized.
Would I recommend it to read: From a historical fiction point of view I would, as this was a well done historical fiction. But the characters weren't that developed, which took away from the story of Mary rising above social constructs.
What to read next: The Birth House, The Heart Specialist
Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, War Through the Generations - Civil War