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Hedy Reviews “My Name is Mary Sutter”

By Library Staff

It was total serendipity that the Library’s Contemporary Books Discussion Groups had already chosen to read this book this year when we found out it was going to be the 2015 All Iowa Reads selection.  It was a good one to commemorate the final year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

Mary Sutter is a skilled midwife, but dreams of being a surgeon.  There is a prejudice against women in medicine, but when the Civil War starts being waged, Mary finds her desire and ability to help in great demand, regardless of her gender. The author is a trained nurse, and her descriptions of complicated labors and births, the amputations of legs, and the consequences of battle injuries and diseases are detailed and realistic.  Her language borders at times on quaint in that readers feel like they’re in that time and place.  And for those with a romantic bent, there’s that too.

By all accounts, Robin Oliveira’s research was exceptional.  She’ll highlight it in an illustrated presentation at the Library on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the Bettendorf Room.

FIC OLIV (also LARGE PRINT, DIBS Discussions In BoxeS) “My Name Is Mary Sutter” by Robin Oliveira, 2010, 364 pages