My Name Is Mary Sutter

My Name Is Mary Sutter

Large Print - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headstrong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine-- and run away from her recent heartbreak-- Mary travels to Washington, DC, to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of two surgeons who unwittingly fall in love with Mary's courage, she pursues her medical career in the capital.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2010.
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410426383
Characteristics: 643 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
large print


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 12, 2020

Amazing how far medicine and women's rights have come! An interesting view of this aspect of the Civil War.

Feb 07, 2020

Historical fiction. Very informative about conditions of the Civil War. Dense, readable.

Jul 21, 2019

A solid, interesting historical. Mary Sutter is a very determined young woman who is trying to become a surgeon/doctor during the Civil War. I thought it was interesting how the author chose to depict Mary more through other characters' thoughts and feelings about her, rather than through the story coming from Mary's point of view. The Civil War action - all seen from a medical standpoint - was horrific. I liked the parts of the novel depicting real people from the time - Abraham Lincoln, Dorothea Dix and especially John Hay. It could have been edited a little more tightly; a little long and at times repetitive.

Feb 21, 2019

This is a very powerful book about a woman during the mid-1800s (and Civil War era) in the U.S. who wanted to become a doctor at a time when women were not considered suitable for the profession. Mary Sutter was not a real person but a compilation of 17 women who became doctors after the Civil War. The author did such a marvelous job of developing Mary's character that she seemed like a real person to me. The author, Robin Oliveira, clearly did a lot of research to write this richly woven book.

The book is about a woman's determination, how her family was torn apart in this time, how the medical field developed as a necessity after the war, and about the war itself and how woefully unprepared the North and Lincoln's generals were.

CatherineG_1 Jun 14, 2017

Mary Sutter wanted to be a doctor and more importantly, a surgeon. Her mother, Amelia was a famous midwife. After working with her from a young age, Mary knew she wanted more. The Civil War was started and life changed. Starting out as a "nurse" she soon became everything to everyone. As the author says, Mary is a combination of the first nurses and women doctors in America during these turbulent times.

The plot had so much potential but the writing was so trite it was a struggle to finish the book. As a Canadian I have little idea who the leaders in the civil war are and the write just throws out the names as though everyone knows who Lee, McDowell or Hay are. I do know Lincoln but the author's attempt to 'humanize' the leader by describing his angst about the boondoggle in the first years of the war is just mawkish. There was not enough background about Mary Dix, she floated into the story with little resolution, was she ultimately a liability? For the uninitiated, the history underpinning the plot was confusing.
Mary Sutter herself was an incomplete character. The tensions between Mary and her twin sister are trivial and the puritanical sensibilities of the characters are unrealistic when contrasted with the real work they did on the battle field. Yes it was a slaughter but the author' canvas was too broad and Mary's character was a throwback to something from my adolescence. ... "Nancy Drew goes to the civil war".

JCLHelenH Jul 02, 2013

Denied access to medical school, midwife Mary Sutter joins the war effort. There she endures the brutality and hopelessness of the civil war. Rich in period detail, I learned about aspects of the Civil War that are often overlooked.

Jul 30, 2012

A wonderful civil war story about a woman who wants to be a surgeon during a time when women had few choices in life or opportunities. Because of her determination, and the opportunity the war provided, Mary continues on her quest to become a surgeon. This is definitely a book worth reading.

Jul 26, 2012

Historical novel about a woman during the Civil War whose goal is to become a surgeon. Gritty details about the state of medicine, limitations placed on women, conditions for soldiers, and the impact of the war on families.

Jun 07, 2012

The age-old women’s issue of family vs. profession is dramatically played out against the Civil War, by a heroine so stubborn, so driven and so tender-hearted that readers cannot fail to be moved by her plight. Oliveira brings the savagery, the stink and the suffering of a brutal war to the fore as Mary learns what it really means to be a surgeon in abominable conditions, many times without the use of proper supplies or help. Nineteenth-century medicine is an eye-opener and a stomach-churner!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

DanglingConversations thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 25


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top