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Ariel Lawhon, "The Frozen River"

Unveiling Martha: A Historical Mystery Unraveled


Journey into the heart of 18th-century Maine with bestselling author Ariel Lawhon's The Frozen River. Join us as Lawhon uncovers the gripping tale inspired by the remarkable life and diary of Martha Ballard, a courageous midwife who dared to defy the norms of her time and inscribe her legacy in American history.

The Frozen River book cover

GMA BOOK CLUB PICK • AN NPR BOOK OF THE YEAR • From the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia and Code Name Hélène comes a gripping historical mystery inspired by the life and diary of Martha Ballard, a renowned 18th-century midwife who defied the legal system and wrote herself into American history.

"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

"Once again, Lawhon works storytelling magic with a real-life heroine." —People Magazine

Maine, 1789: When the Kennebec River freezes, entombing a man in the ice, Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine cause of death. As a midwife and healer, she is privy to much of what goes on behind closed doors in Hallowell. Her diary is a record of every birth and death, crime and debacle that unfolds in the close-knit community. Months earlier, Martha documented the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s most respected gentlemen—one of whom has now been found dead in the ice. But when a local physician undermines her conclusion, declaring the death to be an accident, Martha is forced to investigate the shocking murder on her own.

Over the course of one winter, as the trial nears, and whispers and prejudices mount, Martha doggedly pursues the truth. Her diary soon lands at the center of the scandal, implicating those she loves, and compelling Martha to decide where her own loyalties lie.

Clever, layered, and subversive, Ariel Lawhon’s newest offering introduces an unsung heroine who refused to accept anything less than justice at a time when women were considered best seen and not heard. The Frozen River is a thrilling, tense, and tender story about a remarkable woman who left an unparalleled legacy yet remains nearly forgotten to this day.

Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated in numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, Amazon Spotlight, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four sons. Ariel splits her time between the grocery store and the baseball field.


Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. The happy mother of two snarky and well-adjusted adults lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, cuddly dog, and indifferent cat.

Kristan Higgins

Admission Options:

  • single admission only ($5.00) - includes admission for one (1) attendee
    • ticket can be used as a coupon towards purchase of book at the event
  • single admission and book ($28.00) - includes admission for one (1) attendee and one (1) copy of The Frozen River

Can’t make it to the event? Purchase a signed copy of The Frozen River.

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 6:30pm EST
Event address: 
RJ Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
Staff Pick Badge
Code Name Hélène: A Novel By Ariel Lawhon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525565499
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 2nd, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
I Was Anastasia By Ariel Lawhon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101973318
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - February 5th, 2019