4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum picked up Winter Sisters thinking it would be a mystery thriller, when in fact it turned out to beof an atmospheric historical drama That said, this was a poignant and fantastic novel its plot, which started as a slow builder, quickly saw its tensions rise to become a series of heart pounding events, eventually culminating in a courtroom scene of epic proportions Even better, this second installment of the Mary Sutter series can be enjoyed as a standalone without having to read the first book.It is 1879, and the city of Albany, New York finds itself pummeled by one of the greatest blizzards of the century Tragedy strikes the O Donnells as both parents are killed, and in the whiteout conditions, their daughters 10 year old Emma and 7 year old Claire go missing Mary Sutter, who is close to the family, is devastated by the deaths of her friends and the disappearance of their two little girls Determined to find them, Mary writes to her mother and niece in Paris, who quickly return to America to join in the search effort.For weeks, Mary and her relatives continue to ask questions and look around, refusing to give up on Emma and Claire despite pushback from members of their community The police are no help either, having long since declared the girls dead, and a funeral was even held for them with their parents A tip from an unexpected source, however, gives Mary a different but disturbing new perspective on her search Theshe digs, theshe discovers about the dirty secrets and corruption in her city.Well, if you ve read the book, then you ll know what happened to the girls If not, I m not going to say, but I will warn that the details are awful and tough to read This book is not for the faint of heart and if you know reading about terrible atrocities committed on innocents especially children will upset you, I would recommend against picking this up The story is told in roughly three parts first, the set up with the blizzard and the disappearance of Emma and Claire second, the search for the girls and the result of those efforts and finally, the aftermath along with the criminal trial The first part is probably the slowest, with the pacing picking up around halfway through the second I won t deny getting through the first half of the book was at times a struggle, but the courtroom drama at the end made it all worth it.As stated above, you do not need to read the first book, My Name is Mary Sutter, in order to follow the story of Winter Sisters As a matter of fact, the prime focus appears to be on the case of the missing girls, with all the characters involved feeling almost incidental Mary, however, is like the glue that holds everything together everyone has a connection to her in some way, so that readers get a wider anddetailed perspective A former Civil War surgeon, Mary now operates a clinic with her husband, though she also defies the laws by giving treatment to those who would not otherwise have access to medical attention, such as prostitutes As I have a soft spot for historical characters who are female doctors, Mary was a joy to read about, and I loved her fierce passion for her job and her conviction to do what s right In an era where the medical profession and society in general was dominated by men, our protagonist rebelled against social norms and fought hard to give girls and women a voice It made me want to pick up the first book for a chance to get to know her better, as well as to read about her experiences in the Civil War.Winter Sisters was also a gut wrenching read at times, and there were certainly moments of anger, horror, or frustration where I just wanted to squeeze my eyes shut and scream myself hoarse But there were also plenty of tender, touching scenes involving family and friendship, not to mention the role of love in healing from trauma I thought the author treated all her characters with the sensitivity and patience they deserved throughout their personal and collective experiences, allowing us to connect to them on a deeply emotional level.All told, Winter Sisters was a powerful, richly written novel Robin Oliveira transports readers to post Civil War era New York, delivering a historical drama that is both heart rending and full of suspense With the caveat that some of thehorrific and disturbing details can make this one too unbearable to read at times, I still think fans of courtroom intrigue will especially enjoy the book s plot and the way it ends If you re anything like me though, you ll probably find the characters and their relationships to be the novel s greatest strengths Overall, I enjoyed this novel and would recommend it with all my heart. The saga of Mary Sutter continues in this brilliant historical novel by Robin Oliveira Of course, you absolutely do not have to read My Name is Mary Sutter to fall in love with her in this tale but it will help you to fully understand her strength and character Winter Sisters works fine as a stand alone novel In a harsh blizzard two sisters go missing While everyone in the small community believe them to be dead, Dr Mary Sutter and her family never give up the search for the girls despite the loss of other family members Ultimately a horror is discovered, the truth of what happened to girls, and it breaks the town apart I won t revealbecause it is the crux of the story but the courage of Mary Sutter and the women in her family shine as an example for all women Oliveira has, once again, shown us the strength that we all possess and can muster when necessary I admit, there were times that the book bogged down for me, particularly in the very beginning, which is why I have not rated it a 5 That does not and should not detract from the fact that this is a marvelous, must read book Thank you to Edelweiss for my copy of this book. Stunning Oliveira Writes With Feeling The New York Times Book Review An Engrossing Story That Feel Utterly Timely People, The Best New Books New York,An Epic Blizzard Descends On Albany, Devastating The City When The Snow Finally Settles, Two Newly Orphaned Girls Are Missing Determined Not To Give Up Hope, Dr Mary Sutter, A Former Civil War Surgeon, Searches For The Two Sisters When What Happened To Them Is Finally Revealed, Dr Sutter Must Fight The Most Powerful Of Albany S Citizens, Risking Personal And Public Danger As She Seeks To Protect The Fragile, Putting At Risk Loves And Lives In Her Quest To Right Unimaginable Wrongs As Contemporary As It Is Historic, Winter Sisters Is Part Gripping Thriller, Part Family Saga, And Ultimately A Story Of Trauma And Resilience That Explores The Tremendous Good And Unspeakable Evil Of Which Humans Are Capable 4.5 emotional loving eye opening starsHaving read Robin Oliveria s previous novel, My Name Is Mary Sutter and enjoying it greatly, I was ever so anxious to delve into her sequel I was not in the least bit disappointed.In this book, we learn of Mary s marriage to William and how they now practice medicine together It is the winter of 1879 in upstate New York and a blizzard is raging Two young sisters go missing and are presumed dead, taken by the snow, the cold, and the river close by Everyone seems to accept this theory Everyone that is except, Mary, William, Elizabeth, Mary s niece, and Mary s mother They wonder how the girls could have vanished The story is built around the search that Mary and William conduct for the girls, the daughters of very close friends of Mary and William s Where did the girls go Are they alive Were they taken Can Mary and William s hope for the girls be just a dream or can that hope become a reality.There was so much going on in this well written historical book It tore at one s heartstrings and made one aware of what life was like for women and young girls in 1879 It also pointed out that women of that time were definitely second class citizens and that Mary s choice of a profession was filled with bigotry, hate, and misogyny This book was definitely a page turner and although it did present the absolutely gruesome nature of some, it also pointed out the goodness and love that lie within each of us I recommend this book most highly for ability to make one realize how far we have come in the way women are viewed and treated today. DNF 24% I cannot stomach what is happening to the young girls in this book. Genre Historical FictionPublisher Penguin Group Viking Pub Date Feb 27, 2018 Winter Sisters is historical fiction We see life in Albany, New York, during 1879 as clearly as if we have been walking down the street with the main characters Winter Sisters is a family saga, with a poignant feminist narrative One character is a midwife who becomes a surgeon The author models the surgeon after, Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D 1821 1910 , America s first female doctor Winter Sisters is a mystery A historical blizzard blasts the city and in its chaotic wake, two young girls go missing Her family spends weeks searching for them in case they survived This blizzard is not fiction It occurred in 1888 and took the lives of four hundred people The author moves the year back in time for a legal matter in her story Winter Sisters is a courtroom drama This occurs later in the book and brilliantly portrays a sensational trial that has the local newspapers working around the clock and the residents arguing over their dinner tables Here is where the reader discovers the reasons for pushing back the year of the storm Next sentence is a possible spoiler In 1879, the age of female sexual consent was ten years old Learning this fact made this reviewer physically ill The law was changed in 1886 The legal age for female consent went from ten years of age to sixteen years of age One can argue that although the book is marketed as historical fiction, it is actually a thoughtful thriller hidden within a historical fiction tale with a feminist theme The only flaw takes place in the first few chapters There is a difficulty in following just who is who in the story s many protagonists This may be so because Winter is the follow up tale to My Name Is Mary Sutter, who is the female surgeon The book is engaging as well as politically profound with matters that are still present in today times Simply look at current cable news channels.I received this Advance Review Copy ARC novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.Find all my book reviews at Goodreads Me Alone I am Reading Reviewing Martie s Book Reviews Mansplaining, misogyny, and metoo in the late 1800 sThethings change, thethey stay the same.Robin Oliveira s historical novel is a sequel of sorts to My Name is Mary Sutter, and picks up about 15 years after the end of the Civil War Note Winter Sisters can be read as a stand alone without any loss of context.Following a devastating blizzard, two young girls are missing and presumed dead Months later, the girls reappear Their aunt, Dr Mary Stipp nee Sutter , discovers they have experienced unspeakable trauma What follows is Oliveira s interpretation of how an investigation and court case might have been conducted in an era when the authority of female doctors wasn t taken seriously, and the age of consent was 10 yes, you read that correctly, and it is historically accurate.While the story is interesting in its own right, Oliveira includes a few modern day references to enterain readersI will gladly hear what you have to say, Dr Stipp, but only after I speak to Emma I do not want to contaminate my impressions with yours They are not impressions They are facts There are facts and then there are alternate facts That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard anyone say That s but one example, so keep your eyes peeled and enjoy.4 stars.Thank you to NetGalley and Viking for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. I seem to be one of the few people who came into this book without having read the prequel My Name is Mary Sutter and without knowing anything about the author Perhaps if I had, I would have been prepared for what was to come, but alas as it was, what I read was not in the least what I expected ie a magical fairytale or a cozy mystery No, indeed this was a gritty, dark, meticulously researched work of historical fiction that covered some incredibly challenging themes child abduction, rape, devastating natural events floods, blizzards , bribery and corruption at the highest levels of local politics, andConsidering that I was expecting and in the mood for a light and magical tale, it speaks to the excellence of this novel that I was quickly pulled in and enthralled to the point I was staying up long past my bedtime to find out what happened next Oliveira builds a rich atmosphere depicting late 19th century Albany in great detail, and she examines the sensitive themes she does with tastefulness that does not brush over their horrific nature The story is essentially about two girls, orphaned in a blizzard, who are kidnapped and held against their will, while the 10 year old one is raped Some chapters in and several weeks later, the girls are able to escape the basement where they are held because of another natural disaster a flood caused by melting ice and snow The remainder of the story is about the aftermath of their travails about the trail, both legal and public opinion, about the difficulty of healing from such traumatic and horrific crimes, about the power of familial support But what makes this an excellent historical work is that Winter Sisters is not just a story of individual overcoming of hardship, it is also an expertly woven political tale about city machinations and crony relationships within the governmental and business spheres, and about corruption at the highest levels And finally, it is a searing depiction of and commentary on the historical oppression of women, not only by the literal letter of the law, but also by public opinion In 1879, the age of consent in NY was ten years, and the vast majority of rape victims who even made it to trial, as rape trials were incredibly rare were accused of wanting it and asking for it and as long as they were 10 years old or over, usually this defense worked So many of these themes held on for at least a century, though to an extent we are finally now emerging out of this era of traditional debasement and devaluing of women.This novel is not for the faint of heart and also not for those who do not wish to read about such horrific acts as child rape which is implied only, not described But if you can bear that, I highly recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction, especially that set in the United States around the period of industrialization and urbanization, and especially to those interested in women s history. This is a straightforward historical novel and the follow up to My Name is Mary Sutter Since I haven t read Mary Sutter I chose to skip a a paragraph here and there to prevent spoiling that book should I choose to read it Nevertheless, Winter Sisters may be read as a stand alone.Winter Sisters takes place fourteen years after the Civil War as two young sisters become lost during the mother of all blizzards in Albany, New York You do find out what happens to the sisters about midway through the book and the remaining portion deals with what exactly took place, by whom and the ensuing courtroom drama While it isn t difficult to figure out who the culprit is, I did find the role of women during this time to be eye opening We all know that women were considered to be secondary to men remnants of which can still be felt today Anyway, this makes Dr Mary Sutter s profession all theadmirable For example, she illegally treats prostitutes who were unable to receive medical attention due to their profession Further, Dr Sutter endures a brutal review by an all male medical board which put my teeth on edge Clearly, I found the depiction of women s issues to becompelling than the story itself. I loved Mary Sutter when I read it and this picks up a little further along in time While it would be helpful to have read that one first I think it would be okay to read this without having done so It is 1879 in New York, a massive snow storm hits, causing many deaths, and the strange disappearance of two young girls Mary and her husband were friends of their parents, family connections and they search, but the girls are not to be found What happens next is the stuff of nightmares, the sexual abuse and rape of a young child, a trial, police corruption , and the untold greed of man.I started this, and it started out with a bang, the snowstorm and it s aftermath, but then it lagged for quite a while, thought of putting it aside, but it took off again and this time I couldn t look away Had to find out if Emma and Claire, ten and seven respectively, would be okay Hard to read, the abuse of a young girl, and hard to believe the age of consent at that time was only ten Appalling is an understatement A man s world for sure, but some women, strong women like Mary thrived, found men who loved them for their spirit and intelligence, but too few In this book though there are some strong women characters and they were a joy to behold Good men too, Jakob, William, loving men, who put right before wrong.Upon finishing I had to look to now, and how much has changed, but at the same time how little Crooked politicians, corrupt police officers, sexual harassment, rape trials where woman are painted as being at fault, where some lives still matterthan others I do think that we are progressing, but so slowly Another book that makes one think, of times past and present One of the sisters slower reads, but as always enjoyed the thoughts this book generated.ARC from Edelweiss.