The Iowa Center for the Book recently announced the 2015 All Iowa Reads title at the Iowa Library Association annual meeting and the book they choose is My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.

my name is mary sutterAn enthralling historical novel about a young woman’s struggle to become a doctor during the Civil War

In this stunning novel, Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headĀ­strong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine – and eager to run away from her recent heartbreak – Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens – two surgeons who fall unwittingly in love with Mary’s courage, will, and stubbornness in the face of suffering – and resisting her mother’s pleas to return home to help with the birth of her twin sister’s baby, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital.

My Name Is Mary Sutter powerfully evokes the atmosphere of the Civil War period. Rich with historical detail (including marvelous depictions of Lincoln, Dorothea Dix, General McClellan, and John Hay among others), and full of the tragedies and challenges of wartime, My Name Is Mary Sutter is an exceptional novel. And in Mary herself, Robin Oliveira has created a truly unforgettable heroine whose unwavering determination and vulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere. (description from publisher)

This title is also available as an e-book through the RiverShare Digital Library.

All Iowa Reads encourages all Iowans to read the same book during the year, providing materials and bringing authors and speakers to various venues and encouraging discussion.

The Iowa Library Association has announced the All Iowa Reads title for 2011 – it’sĀ  Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos. Be sure to watch the Davenport Public Library newsletter for the announcement of programs and discussions of this book throughout the year.

In 1978, Hope Jones, mother of three, is swept away during a tornado. Her body is never found. Twenty-five years later her children – Larkin, Gaelan and Bonnie – still struggle to understand their loss and to find their place in the world. The sudden death of their father brings them all home again, forcing them to come to terms with their history and each other.

Set on the open plains of southwest Nebraska, the writing and atmosphere evoke the rural Midwest effortlessly – open skies, violent weather, the restrictions and freedoms of small towns. This is a complex story of grief, love and healing with touches of magical realism and characters that you come to care about.