The Frozen River: A Novel (Large Print / Paperback)

The Frozen River: A Novel By Ariel Lawhon Cover Image
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From New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia and Code Name Helene comes a gripping historical mystery based on the real-life diary entries of Martha Ballard, an 18th-century midwife who found herself at the center of a murder trial.

Maine, 1789: As a midwife in the town of Hallowell, Martha Ballard knows how to keep a secret. Her neighbors respect her not only for her medical expertise and calm under pressure, but for her discretion in a community governed by rigid Puritan values. So when a man is found under the ice in the Kennebec river, Martha is the first person called to examine the body.

The dead man is Joshua Burgess, recently accused, along with the town judge, Joseph North, of raping the preacher's wife, Rebecca Foster. The case is set to go to trial in the coming months and Hallowell is churning with rumors. Martha, having tended to Rebecca’s wounds in the aftermath, is both a witness and a confidant of Rebecca’s, and while she feels certain she knows the truth of the night of the assault, she suspects there is more to the murder than meets the eye.

For years, Martha has recounted her every day in a leather-bound journal: deaths and births, the weather, town events, her patients and their treatments. As whispers and prejudices threaten to overflow into something bloodier, and North becomes more desperate to clear his name, Martha’s diary becomes the center of a mystery that risks tearing both her family and her town apart.

In The Frozen River, Ariel Lawhon brings to life a brave and compassionate unsung heroine of early American history, who refused to accept anything less than justice on behalf of women no one else would protect.

About the Author

ARIEL LAWHON is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, a black Lab, and a deranged cat.

Praise For…

An NPR Best Book of 2023

“The narrator of Ariel Lawhon’s The Frozen River is another stalwart heroine. . .detailed descriptions of the routines of village life give this narrative its intimate sense of connection — and set [the narrator] up for a pivotal confrontation.” --The New York Times Book Review

"Fans of 'Outlander’s' Claire Fraser will enjoy Lawhon’s Martha, who is brave and outspoken when it comes to protecting the innocent. . . impressive." --The Washington Post

“Compelling . . .a most uncozy mystery that addresses the unbalanced power dynamics of men and women, rich and poor.” --NPR, Weekend Edition

“Martha Ballard is not just a Maine midwife who’s never lost a patient. She’s also a truth speaker and a justice seeker in an era when women can’t even testify in court. . .Once again, Lawhon works storytelling magic with a real-life heroine.” --People Magazine, Book of the Week

“[Lawhon’s] gripping tale…feels like an authentic foray into the past and her wonderful heroine rings true. Indeed, Martha is so vividly rendered that it is hard not to become absorbed in her narrative and emotionally invested in her life. . . Martha’s journal entries flesh out further this tough, brave and resourceful woman. Her valiant fight against the evil that men do makes for a winning blend of fact and fiction.” --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Part murder mystery, part historical fiction . . . this novel has a gothic, wintry feel that makes it an ideal fireside read.” --Real Simple

"A richly satisfying drama . . . A vivid, exciting page-turner from one of our most interesting authors of historical fiction.” --Kirkus, starred review

“Outstanding. . . Martha is an extraordinary character. . . Lawhon's first-rate tale should entrance readers passionate about early America and women’s history.” --Booklist, starred review

“Atmospheric, unique and elegantly written, The Frozen River will satisfy mystery lovers and historical fiction enthusiasts alike.” --BookPage, starred review

“Gripping. . . Examines the ripple effects of a crime in a small community—and paints a striking portrait of a woman devoted to healing and justice. . . Lawhon draws on the real Martha Ballard’s diary to construct her narrative, which contains a number of breathless twists and a large cast of hardscrabble characters. . . Lawhon’s novel is a riveting story of small-town justice and a fitting tribute to a quiet, determined heroine.” --Shelf Awareness, starred review

"A propulsive historical thriller with a contemporary sensibility." --Portland Press Herald

"The stirring story of one woman’s quest for justice. . . Lawhon combines modern prose with the immediacy of her source material, making for an accessible and textured narrative. This accomplished historical powerfully speaks to centuries-old inequities that remain in the present day." --Publishers Weekly

“Unputdownable. . . an intriguing protagonist, a twisty mystery, rich period detail. . . In a novel focused on weighty issues and worthy struggles, it was a joy to stumble across this standout, satisfying love story. --Christian Science Monitor

"A thoroughly engaging, rich story with a murder mystery; secrets, gossip, and hypocrisy; a corrupt judge; a tightly knit community of villagers; women at the mercy of a patriarchal society; and the early stages of a developing justice system following the Revolutionary War. . . Turn the last page, and you will want more of this world she has created." --Historical Novel Society

The Frozen River is so vivid, so textured and multilayered, that I felt I'd opened a door and entered post-revolutionary America, walking beside Lawhon's compelling characters in a time and place riven by hardship, disease, and misogyny, but also intense love and searing natural beauty. This novel was unlike anything I'd read before, and it left me awe-struck.” --Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author of City of Light and Ashton Hall

“Simultaneously a mystery, a manifesto, and a memoir, The Frozen River resurrects both Martha’s story and the stories of those she fought for.--Chapter 16

“This engrossing mystery . . . brings to life a fascinating woman who would otherwise be lost to time.” --First for Women

“Ariel Lawhon does an amazing job not only of bringing the historical period to life, but also of drawing parallels between Martha’s struggles and the continuing fight of victims to be believed here in the 21st century. . . Gripping and occasionally harrowing, this is historical fiction that reminds readers of how much we owe the pioneers of the past for the liberties we have today, and how we must fight never to let those hard-earned rights be taken away.” --Criminal Element
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593793251
ISBN-10: 0593793250
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Publication Date: December 12th, 2023
Pages: 688
Language: English