Cover Image: The Frozen River

The Frozen River

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Member Reviews

This book is exquisite and exceptional! Everything about us is remarkable! The story, the pacing, the attention to historical accuracy, and the writing itself. I’ve definitely found a new author that makes me want to devour every book she has written!!!

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Gripping. Could not put this down. Though it deals with horrendous subject matter, it is done carefully and with care.. The characters, though many, are all individuals drawn well. And even though this takes place in the late 1700s, it feels fresh and modern. This was my first novel by this author but I am interested to read more by her.

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This book will now sit on my "Favorite books of all time" list. Such an amazing story set during the birth of our nation about a midwife - Martha - wise beyond years. The love story between her and her husband was a highlight to the story. Loved the writing and the author's note. 1,000 glowing stars.

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I loved loved this book, I gave it 5 stars. Martha I envisioned as Dr. Quinn medicine woman riding off to delivery babies in the middle of night coming home and making candles all while protecting women in her community. I loved that it was based on a real person and found the book just so good !
I loved reading about the 1700 time period as well. Just their day to day life. This book will stick with me.

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I thought Martha was a fascinating character, and it was interesting to read to read about the post-Revolutionary War time period from a woman's perspective. That said, this book was really slow to me, and I had to force myself to keep going at times. It did pick up towards the end, and I did like it overall.

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Thank you to Netgalley for this free copy for an honest review. I simply loved this book. It wasn't until I read more about the author that I found out more about the amazing real life person. The idea for the book came from a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Martha Ballard, a real midwife. Stories about childbirth are fascinating to me and I simply adored Martha. I appreciated her wisdom, strength and calm. I especially loved the way that author wrote about her marriage. Her husband was just as lovely. I would highly recommend this book.

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I love Ariel Lawhon's novels and I started this one and it disappeared off my kindle. Not sure what happened. So I bought it (that's how good it is!) and continued reading. I do know of this midwife already from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's novel that I read in grad school, and I love Ms. Lawhon's interpretation and rendering of character. This was a fascinating story of women's roles, social morés, crime/abuse, and family life in the past, all based on the true account of one amazing and dedicated midwife living in Maine hundreds of years ago. Highly recommended!

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Ariel Lawhon may be my favorite current #historicalfiction #author - I Was Anastasia and Code Name Helene captured my heart entirely. This one is still fascinating, historically well done, and beautifully written, but I didn’t fall in love with it like I did her others. Admittedly, I spent most of this one waiting for the big plot twist/kick and for things to get a little more exciting, and it never particularly came. Again, beautiful executed but I was more bored with this one than I have been her others. Lawhon is still a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ writer who always delivers, though, and this one is insightful as far as womanhood in late 18th century America and midwifery/motherhood in general.



In 1789 Massachusetts, Martha Ballard is a competent midwife who has given birth to and buried her own children, as well as those of more women she can count, both as a result of the times and the conditions in a still young and wild America. Unfortunately, even with her medical skills she still experienced the inequalities, injustices, and struggles of being a woman with almost no rights in a country and community that depends on her to bring into the world the very sons the men that surround her - both good and bad - desire so desperately.



When the dead body of an accused rapist is discovered beneath the frozen river, Martha finds herself pulled into the mystery and drama surrounding the death, the related gruesome and tragic rape underlying it, the high stakes impending trial and testimony, and in a battle with a powerful community bigwig who threatens her family, home, and life as she knows it.



As she battled for herself, her family, and the women in her community, she is exposed to both the best and the worst of human beings, and the joys and sadnesses in life.

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One of the best historical fiction books I have read. It was hard to put down. I absolutely loved Martha Ballard! What a strong heroine she was. The story was easy to follow and get wrapped up in and the setting was beautiful and perfect for a cold winter read. I recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction.

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What a fantastic book! I have no reservations about awarding five stars to The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon. This wonderful book is a work of fiction inspired by the true story of Martha Ballard, a midwife in the late 1700s Maine who was a woman ahead of her time. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved this book. What a pleasant surprise. I didn't want it to end. I want to know what happens next to the family. It is seldom that I get involved with the characters as I did with those in this book. I also found interesting and sad how women were treated in those days. Imagine not being able to speak in court unless your husband was present. This is a book to take your time and savor.

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Fantastic read, one of my top reads of 2023. I loved the setting and seeing life post Revolutionary War.

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The Frozen River, based on a true story about midwife Martha Ballard, is an exceptional example of historical fiction at its finest! Martha a strong confident woman was a true advocate for women in a time when women were not considered equal.

Ariel Lawhon with her brilliant prose and vivid descriptions kept me engrossed from the very first page, and had me sitting on the edge of my seat in this wonderful complex historical thriller mystery. This intriguing sensational story is educational, thought provoking and arouses emotion throughout.

Highly recommended this book about Martha Ballad, an exceptional woman, fighting for justice.

I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Doubleday through NetGalley. I was not obligated to write a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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I liked that the protagonist was an intelligent, hard working and honest midwife. Set in the late 1700s, Martha Ballard must work against a belief that women were viewed as property and had very little rights of their own. Because of Martha’s doggedness and the support of her husband, she sets out to solve the death of a man frozen in a local river. She soon discovers this might be connected to an alleged rape.

I’ve read other books by Ariel Lawson so I was fairly comfortable in expecting a well written story. This book went way beyond those expectations. This was a story I connected with from the very beginning. It never slowed down or got boring. I can’t say I was surprised by how well this was written. But I will say that I was very pleased to read a book that held my attention throughout.

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Wow!

I dove into this without really reading much at all and I didn't realize until the end that this was all based on a real person and her life!

It's so hard to say much without spoilers so I will just say that I think that this book would appeal to those who like Outlander. Martha gives me a lot of badass Claire vibes (and I mean this in the best way possible) and her husband is kind of a Jamie-light.

Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday for an eARC copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

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It's 1789 and Martha Ballard is writing herself into the page of history. Based on the real Martha Ballard is an experienced midwife. In her 30 years of helping women deliver babies, she has never lost a mother. But now her role of knowing the enter workings of Hallowell, Maine, is expanded to include investigating a murder after an attempted rapist she took testimony against shows up dead in the ice.

Told over the course of one winter, this story follows Martha as she navigates the scandal, gossip, and prejudices in her close knit town to get to the truth. Her loyalties are tested and her family is involved, so what will it look like for justice to be served?
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I have seen this book described as a book about motherhood, old married love, and justice. And it is about all those things. But my takeaway from the theme of this book is that it's a book about power. Who holds it and how do you use power for your benefit or the benefit of others.

On paper this is a book that is not necessarily in my wheelhouse. It has beautiful prose and at it's core is a book about this woman's everyday life. Yes she is involved in this rape trial, but it's not too far off her ordinary existence. But Ariel Lawhon fleshed about this story and infused it with character development and transportive atmospheric descriptions that I stayed up way past my bedtime enthralled with the people and happenings of this town.

I fully immersed myself in this story and I'm so glad I read this with my book club because there is so much to discuss in these pages. And the ending. You will definitely want to have someone to talk about that with!

Because of the elements of old married love and having a firecracker female as a medical professional, this book gives me Outlander vibes. So if you are an Outlander fan, especially the later books, I think you will enjoy this one.
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Content warning: language, murder, violence, birth stories (both positive and negative), graphic recollections of sexual assault, attempted abortion, pregnancy out of wedlock (and shaming for such).
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Thanks to Netgalley and Double Day Books for the gifted book. All opinions are my own)

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Maine 1789 during a bitter winter is the setting for the story which takes us back to a time when women were lesser beings than men. A body is discovered in the river, and midwife Martha Ballard has determined that the cause is murder. Martha takes us into her life in trying to figure out the cause of the murder, as well as convince the upper townsmen that one has actually occurred. As in previous books by this author, the story is gripping, tense and draws you in right from the beginning. The book is based on an actual person and the story flows seamlessly to its gripping conclusion. Another great book by Ariel Lawhon. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for ad advanced copy.

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5* This is why I love historical fiction
This book is based on the diary of Martha Ballard a late 1700s midwife from Maine
All of the characters in the book became so real and relatable. The book had murder, suspense,love and friendship. I would definitely recommend
Thank you to Netgalley for this copy for my honest review.

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The Frozen River tells the tale of Martha Ballard, a mother and midwife practicing in Maine in the 1700's. Martha is the wife of a mill owner and she has had her share of heartache, losing 3 of her own children to sickness over the years. The main practicing midwife in town, she is called to birth many babies at all hours of the day and night, and he skill is unsurpassed. When a body is pulled out of the river, Martha begins to look into the reasons behind why the body of a young man came to be in the frozen river. Even more disturbing is that her two oldest sons were both in an altercation with the young man the day before he was found dead. This story is captivating and extremely interesting. I had a hard time putting it down. It's based on a true story, which makes it even more fascinating.

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Ms. Lawhon weaves an amazing story based on the life and diary of midwife, Martha Ballard! When a body is discovered frozen in the Kennebec River, Martha Ballard works tirelessly to prove that not only did one of her relatives not commit the murder but to prove who the killer is. Aided by the support of her husband but hindered by the new local physician, Martha risks even her life to solve the mystery.

Kudos to Ms. Lawhon for bringing Martha Ballard's story to light and life and for doing it so originally.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves thrillers and historical fiction.

I received an ARC from the publisher. My review is my own opinion and is done by my own volition.

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