Sunday, March 4, 2018

"Winter Sisters"

Robin Oliveira is the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter and I Always Loved You. She holds a BA in Russian and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow. She received an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is also a registered nurse, specializing in critical care.

Oliveira applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Winter Sisters, and reported the following:
In Winter Sisters, page 69 consists of a verbal clash between Dr. Mary Sutter, the protagonist of my first novel, My Name is Mary Sutter, and Gerritt Van der Veer, a wealthy lumber baron in Albany, N.Y. Set in 1879, Winter Sisters follows the fate of two little girls who are lost in a devastating blizzard.

That verbal clash between the formidable Mary Sutter and the powerful Gerritt Van der Veer is couched in courtesy and seemingly like-minded values, but it portends one of the central conflicts of the novel: what degree of agency can women and girls forge for themselves, and to what dangers—personal and public—are they then subjected as a result? But Winter Sisters is threaded with many conflicts woven into more than a few subplots surrounding the girls’ mysterious disappearance, among them the rights of children, widespread corruption, the abuse of personal, intimate, and universal power, and that terrifying 19th century law. In that century’s last decades, women were campaigning for the vote, fighting for changes for protection inside the law, even as they were seeking to protect themselves in a world that paid lip service to their status while undermining them at every turn. The entire city of Albany will be engulfed by the tragedy of the ‘winter sisters’’ fate, requiring Mary Sutter to force a confrontation that is as contemporary as it is historic.

I confess that I love Mary Sutter. I love that she never stays quiet in the face of injustice, no matter the consequences men mete out in their inability to control her. She says exactly what needs to be said at the time it needs to be said and it is always the truth. I was thrilled to spend time with her again.
Learn more about the book and author at Robin Oliveira's website.

The Page 69 Test: My Name Is Mary Sutter.

--Marshal Zeringue