The Frozen River Delves into the Life of an Extraordinary Woman

As we celebrate International Women’s Day during the month of March, it gives us a chance to reflect on some of the inspiring heroes who have led the way for the females of the species. While there are thousands of women whose bold and courageous lives were lived in the fullness of public view, there were countless others whose strength, determination and grit forged new paths for those whose lives they touched. One such woman was Martha Ballard, a midwife and healer, who lived with her husband and nine children in a town on the Kennebec River in Maine during the 18th century (1735-1812).

Ariel Lawhon has taken Martha’s story, much of what was derived from Martha’s daily diaries, and has created a fictionalized historical account of this amazing woman’s life within the constrained societal mores of the times. In The Frozen River, we witness, through Martha’s eyes, the repercussions of the murder of an accused rapist, the judicially accepted discrimination of women and the abhorrent behaviour of men consumed by lust, greed and power. Interwoven through this tale is the enduring love from her husband, family and friends that envelopes Martha. It is often said that behind every good man is a great woman but I think this story shows that behind many good women is the love of a supportive man and family.

This was a great read! I am eagerly looking forward to reading more of Ariel Lawhon’s work.

Nancy C.
Library Assistant, John M. Harper Branch

Nancy has worked at the John M. Harper Branch as a Library Assistant for over 11 years. Her best days are when she can introduce readers, both young and not-so-young, to new authors/series. She feels like a kid in a candy store at the library, always amazed at the new finds that she discovers. She loves the wide selection of movies/TV series and has done a good number of the amazing puzzles that are in the collection. Nancy sings in a local choir and hits the stage with a theatre production company in New Hamburg. She is an avid reader, gardener, golfer, and newly back to skiing after a 30-year hiatus.