The Frozen River

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.

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