Maine Women: Finding Our Strength

A 2022 Maine-centric book discussion series exploring how women navigate extraordinary challenges.

Join educators Pat Olsen and Alison Beedy for a series of book discussions called “Maine Women: Finding Our Strength.”

We’ll discuss how we meet personal and societal challenges while reading books about women who have navigated difficulties in a variety of settings and eras.

A series of three facilitated discussions over a month will be held for each book. Participants can register for one or more of the six books, and will receive copies of the book upon registration.

These discussions will be held in-person at WHRL’s office in Milbridge, but may be adapted to a virtual format as needed. The groups will be small, with no more than ten people. Every participant must be fully vaccinated (including a booster shot) and wear a mask during the discussion.

The book groups are free and open to all, although registration is required. Space is limited!

2022 Book Series

  • Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story by Erin French
  • When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee
  • Home Now by Cynthia Anderson
  • A Midwive’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard by Laura Thatcher Ulrich
  • Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore
  • Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride

Funding for this book discussion series has been provided by The Maine Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard

by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

May 10th, 17th, and 24th from 6:00 – 7:30pm

Facilitated by Pat Olsen


Drawing on the diaries of one woman in eighteenth-century Maine, this intimate history illuminates the medical practices, household economies, religious rivalries, and sexual mores of the New England frontier.

Between 1785 and 1812 a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of that diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and reticent Martha Ballard but of her society.


by Ruth Moore

Planned for Septebmer

Spoonhandle, Ruth Moore’s second novel, spent 14 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List and was made into the movie Deep Waters. Spoonhandle is about Maine, brilliantly authentic, but the story told is universal, as old as time as it deals with the struggle between love and meanness of spirit, between human dignity and greed.

Women of the Dawn

by Bunny McBride

Planned for October

Women of the Dawn tells the stories of four remarkable Wabanaki Indian women who lived in northeast America during the four centuries that devastated their traditional world. Their courageous responses to tragedies brought on by European contact make up the heart of the book.

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