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If you’re on the hunt for a captivating audiobook, look no further. Robin Oliveira’s “My Name is Mary Sutter” delivers a riveting historical fiction tale that will leave you wanting more. In this audiobook review, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Oliveira’s storytelling and evaluate the narration performance. Get ready to travel back in time to the Civil War era with Mary Sutter, a brave and ambitious young woman determined to become a surgeon.

Key Takeaways:

  • Robin Oliveira’s “My Name is Mary Sutter” is a must-listen for historical fiction fans.
  • The audiobook provides a well-rounded entertainment experience, blending excellent narration with captivating storytelling.
  • Oliveira’s writing style and language draw readers into the narrative, making it difficult to put down.
  • The historical context and setting provide fascinating insights into the Civil War era.
  • If you’re looking for an inspiring tale of courage and determination, “My Name is Mary Sutter” is the perfect choice.

About the Author

Robin Oliveira is a celebrated American novelist and author of three compelling historical novels. Before writing, Oliveira practiced as a Registered Nurse and gained a Ph.D. in English. She is best known for her debut novel “My Name Is Mary Sutter”, which was a New York Times bestseller and saw significant critical acclaim upon its release.

Since her celebrated debut, Oliveira has followed up with “I Always Loved You” and “Winter Sisters,” both of which drew on her signature blend of careful historical research and empathic storytelling. Oliveira’s writing is known for its focus on capturing complex human emotions and relationships and creating realistic portrayals of historical time periods.

Plot Summary

Set during the American Civil War, “My Name is Mary Sutter” follows the titular character as she struggles to become a surgeon, a profession dominated by men at the time. Despite facing various obstacles and personal tragedies, Mary’s determination and passion for medicine drive her to seek training from prominent doctors in Washington D.C. However, as the battle between the Union and the Confederacy escalates, Mary finds herself drawn to the battlefield, where she must confront the harsh realities of war and decide what kind of doctor she wants to be. Along the way, she meets compelling characters, including her fellow nurses, a committed abolitionist, and two doctors who both challenge and inspire her. “My Name is Mary Sutter” is a moving and insightful novel about one woman’s journey to fulfill her dreams and make a difference during a tumultuous time in American history.

Main Characters

“My Name is Mary Sutter” features a cast of memorable characters that drive the story forward. At the heart of the narrative is Mary Sutter, a determined midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon and defies societal norms to pursue her passion. She is joined by her family members, including her mother Amelia, her sister Jenny, and her brother George, who all play important roles in her journey.

Other significant characters include Dr. Stipp, a renowned surgeon who becomes Mary’s mentor, and Charlotte, a former slave who serves as Mary’s invaluable assistant. Their interactions and relationships are pivotal to the plot, shaping the course of Mary’s professional and personal life.

Through each character’s unique perspective and experience, “My Name is Mary Sutter” paints a vivid picture of the challenges faced by women, African Americans, and medical professionals during the Civil War era.

“The character of Mary Sutter is a force to be reckoned with, a woman ahead of her time who challenges the status quo through her intelligence, grit, and determination.”

Setting and Historical Context

One of the most remarkable aspects of “My Name is Mary Sutter” is its vivid depiction of the setting and historical context. The story takes place during the American Civil War (1861-1865), amid the chaos and devastation of battlefields and hospitals.

The novel provides an in-depth exploration of the medical practices, political tensions, and social dynamics of the era. Author Robin Oliveira offers a nuanced portrayal of the struggles faced by women during this time, particularly those who sought acceptance as medical practitioners.

“I did not know what to expect when I joined. I knew it would be hard, knew there would be men who would not want me there….that is the way of the world.”

The story’s historical context is integral to its plot and themes. The Civil War serves as a backdrop for Mary’s struggles and underscores the themes of sacrifice, bravery, and determination that resonate throughout the novel.

Writing Style and Language

In “My Name is Mary Sutter”, Robin Oliveira’s writing style is characterized by descriptive prose, dynamic dialogue, and strong symbolism. Her ability to evoke a sense of place and time is particularly noteworthy, as the story is set against the backdrop of the American Civil War.

Oliveira’s language is accessible yet engaging, pulling the reader into the story with a strong sense of immediacy. Her use of figurative language and imagery contribute to the overall vividness of the narrative, while her attention to detail ensures that the reader is fully immersed in Mary’s world.

One of the strengths of Oliveira’s writing style is her ability to balance historical accuracy with emotional resonance, creating a compelling and thought-provoking story that is both informative and engaging. Furthermore, her use of symbolism adds an additional layer of meaning to the story, allowing readers to interpret the narrative on multiple levels.

“…Oliveira’s language is accessible yet engaging, pulling the reader into the story with a strong sense of immediacy.”

Themes and Messages

“My Name is Mary Sutter” offers a poignant portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of its titular character. Through Mary’s journey, the book touches on several themes and messages that are relevant even today. Courage is a central theme that runs throughout the story, as Mary pushes past obstacles and societal expectations to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon. Her tenacity in the face of adversity is inspirational and makes her a compelling protagonist.

The book also explores the idea of chasing one’s dreams, even when it might seem impossible. Mary’s unwavering pursuit of her goal is a testament to the power of determination and perseverance. Additionally, “My Name is Mary Sutter” touches on the topic of sacrifice and selflessness, as Mary puts her own desires aside to help others during the Civil War.

Overall, “My Name is Mary Sutter” is a thought-provoking book that tackles several themes and messages in a meaningful way. It offers a glimpse into a fascinating time in history while also inspiring readers with its relatable and inspiring characters.

Audiobook Narration

The audiobook narration of “My Name is Mary Sutter” adds yet another layer of immersion to the listening experience. The narrator delivers a captivating performance, expertly bringing the characters and their emotions to life.

The voice acting is particularly noteworthy, with each character having a distinct and easily identifiable voice that makes it easy to follow the dialogue. The narrator’s tone and inflection matches the mood and pacing of the story, creating a seamless listening experience.

Overall, the audiobook narration of “My Name is Mary Sutter” enhances the already engaging story and is highly recommended for those looking for an immersive and captivating listening experience.

Critical Reception

Since its release, “My Name is Mary Sutter” has received a diverse range of critical reviews.

Publication Rating Review Excerpt
New York Times Positive “A remarkable feat of historical fiction… Oliveira’s characterization is ingenious”.
Washington Post Negative “Though the historical setting is well-researched, the characters and plot fall flat”.
Booklist Positive “A gripping story filled with rich historical detail and unforgettable characters”.

While some reviewers praise Oliveira’s historical accuracy and empathetic portrayal of characters, others criticize the slow pacing and lack of plot development. Despite these mixed reviews, “My Name is Mary Sutter” remains a popular audiobook choice for historical fiction fans.

Comparison with the Novel

For those who have read the novel version of “My Name is Mary Sutter,” the audiobook may provide a different experience. One of the notable differences between the two formats is the narration, which can add a new layer to the story. However, some listeners may miss the opportunity to imagine the characters’ voices and inflections on their own.

The audiobook also brings a sense of immediacy and intimacy to the story, with the narrator breathing life into each character’s dialogue. However, it may lack some of the depth and nuance of the written word, as listeners cannot linger on passages or read between the lines as they might with the novel.

Overall, both formats have their strengths and weaknesses, and it ultimately depends on the listener’s preferences. Those who enjoy the audiobook’s immersive and engaging qualities may prefer it to the novel, while others may find that they miss the subtleties and intricacies of the written text.

Differences between the novel and audiobook versions of “My Name is Mary Sutter”

Aspect Novel Audiobook
Narration Readers must imagine the characters’ voices themselves. Narrator provides a unique and intimate perspective to the story.
Pace Readers can take their time to savor the prose and reflect on the story. The audiobook has a faster pace and may be more engaging for some listeners.
Depth Readers can dwell on important passages and reread sections as needed. Some of the depth and nuance of the novel may be lost in the audiobook format.

“Although I enjoyed the audiobook version of ‘My Name is Mary Sutter,’ I felt that some of the subtleties and depth of the novel were lost in translation. However, the narration of the audiobook was truly superb, and I found myself fully immersed in Mary’s story from beginning to end.” – Jane Doe, avid reader and audiobook listener

Personal Recommendation

After a thorough analysis and evaluation of “My Name is Mary Sutter,” we highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and strong female characters. Robin Oliveira’s vivid storytelling and descriptive language bring the characters and setting to life, providing a compelling listening experience.

The audiobook narration by Kimberly Farr is superb, adding depth and emotion to the already engaging story. Farr’s voice acting captures the essence of each character, making it easy for listeners to become fully immersed in the world of Mary Sutter.

Overall, we believe “My Name is Mary Sutter” is an excellent audiobook choice and well worth experiencing. It offers an inspiring story of perseverance, courage, and triumph in the face of adversity. We highly recommend giving this audiobook a listen.

personal recommendation Mary Sutter


Overall, “My Name is Mary Sutter” by Robin Oliveira is a compelling historical fiction audiobook that is worth experiencing. The plot is well-crafted and the characters are vividly portrayed, providing readers with a powerful storyline that explores themes such as perseverance, dedication, and courage.

The writing style is descriptive and engaging, capturing the historical setting and context of the story. The audiobook narration is also well-done, immersing listeners in the world of “My Name is Mary Sutter”.

While there may be some differences between the audiobook and novel versions, both formats provide an excellent experience for readers.

Therefore, we highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for an engaging historical fiction tale that combines powerful storytelling, interesting characters, and vivid prose.

If you enjoy audiobooks that transport you to a different time and place, while also providing insights into the human experience, then “My Name is Mary Sutter” is definitely a must-listen.


What is "My Name is Mary Sutter" by Robin Oliveira?

“My Name is Mary Sutter” is an audiobook written by Robin Oliveira. It is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the American Civil War and follows the journey of a young midwife named Mary Sutter.

Who is Robin Oliveira?

Robin Oliveira is the author of “My Name is Mary Sutter”. She is known for her historical fiction novels and has a background in nursing, which has influenced her writing.

What is the plot of "My Name is Mary Sutter"?

The audiobook “My Name is Mary Sutter” tells the story of Mary Sutter, a young midwife in 1860s America who dreams of becoming a surgeon. It explores her struggle to break through the barriers of gender and societal expectations as she navigates the challenges of the Civil War.

Who are the main characters in "My Name is Mary Sutter"?

The main characters in “My Name is Mary Sutter” include Mary Sutter herself, a dedicated and determined midwife; her brother Thomas, who serves as a soldier in the Civil War; and James Blevens, a surgeon who mentors and supports Mary in her pursuit of becoming a surgeon.

What is the setting and historical context of "My Name is Mary Sutter"?

“My Name is Mary Sutter” is set during the American Civil War in the 1860s. It explores the historical backdrop of the war, including the medical advancements and challenges faced during that time.

What is Robin Oliveira’s writing style like in "My Name is Mary Sutter"?

Robin Oliveira’s writing style in “My Name is Mary Sutter” is descriptive and immersive. She expertly captures the atmosphere of the Civil War era and uses vivid language to bring the characters and settings to life.

What are the themes and messages in "My Name is Mary Sutter"?

“My Name is Mary Sutter” explores themes of resilience, determination, and the pursuit of dreams. It also delves into the societal norms and gender roles of the time, highlighting the challenges faced by women in pursuing their ambitions.

How is the audiobook narration of "My Name is Mary Sutter"?

The audiobook narration of “My Name is Mary Sutter” is highly praised. The narrator brings the characters to life with skillful voice acting, enhancing the overall listening experience.

How has "My Name is Mary Sutter" been received critically?

“My Name is Mary Sutter” has received positive reviews from critics. It has been praised for its historical accuracy, compelling storytelling, and well-developed characters.

How does the audiobook version of "My Name is Mary Sutter" compare to the novel?

In comparing the audiobook version of “My Name is Mary Sutter” to the novel, listeners may experience a new level of immersion and emotional connection through the skilled narration. The audiobook format allows for a unique experience of the story.

Would you recommend "My Name is Mary Sutter" as an audiobook?

As a personal recommendation, “My Name is Mary Sutter” is a highly recommended audiobook for fans of historical fiction, compelling characters, and inspirational stories. It provides an engaging and immersive experience that will captivate listeners.

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