Rosemary C. (Austin, TX)
Ancient intrigue, modern connections
Helen Bryan takes on an ambitious project in weaving a 16th century story over two continents and bringing it to have relevance in the present day. For the most part, she succeeds. I especially enjoyed the portion of the book that dealt primarily with the women of the convents in Spain and America in the 1500's, and I think the writing was more skillful there. I did get engrossed in the book, but it seemed to end very abruptly and just a little on the side of trite.
Shirin M. (BEVERLY HILLS, CA)
A "travelling" Sisterhood
The story moves from the 1500s to the 21st century; from the old to the new world. The plot centers around the mystery surrounding a medal and ancient text which contain secrets that are revealed as the story meanders between the old and new. The main characters are women and the issues raised are as old as time: Exploitation, tyranny, poverty. Good themes and a fast read. The story reminded me of "The Da Vinci Code" and "People of the Book". Fans of historical fiction should enjoy this book.
Julie M. (Minnetonka, MN)
Past and Present
If you liked "The Eight" by Katherine Neville or "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks this book will appeal to you with common themes of secrets, the need to know your ancestry and history. This story is not as strong as the above mentioned books, but it did hold my interest to the end.
Jane H. (Prospect, KY)
THE SISTERHOOD by Helen Bryan
Although the content was interesting, I'm afraid I found the writing to tie it all together was just average, resulting in a less than exciting novel. I normally read 3 books a week and this one really slowed me down as I just wasn't motivated to get to the end and find out what happened. I'd give it a weak 3.
Mary D. (Claremont, CA)
Unlike the last book I reviewed, this one definitely lived up to my expectations ... some good art history and some wonderful history into the time of the Inquisition in Spain and in the New World, all told from the perspective of nuns and common women. There is a "mystery" which starts the story, tracing back to the Inquisition. Even though the book "jumps" from 1550-1560's to modern day, it was easy to follow. The characters are exceptionally well-defined, their quiet strength and sense of right-and-wrong are evident and, in an odd sense, comforting in this day of mixed messages and misdirected morals. Helen Bryan's writing style is clear and concise but very descriptive. The ship voyages were wonderfully described, with all their drawbacks and limitations, and the convents were places of peace and quiet, even while the inhabitants were very colorful personalities. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, had trouble putting it down in fact; I read the first two-thirds of the book in one day!!
Terrie J. (Eagan, MN)
Entertaining and Knowledgable
This book kept me intrigued and led me through historical events. I typically don't like historical fiction, but the character development in both the current and past stories was well done. The way Helen intertwined the stories and brought them together in the end was well done. The end was unexpected, but I did think that it wrapped up a little fast after the length it took to get there. I would highly recommend this book!
Kathleen S. (Oshkosh, WI)
"The Sisterhood" tells the tale of an isolated order of nuns in Spain and how it may be connected to an orphan found in the aftermath of a hurricane on the Pacific Coast of South America. The story jumps back and forth between the 1500's and the present day, drawing you into the lives of both the medieval nuns and the orphan, and making you anxious to discover the secrets they are keeping.
The book concentrates much more on the story of the nuns during the time of the Inquisition than on the present day, and that was fine with me. I really enjoyed the history and thought the author did an excellent job creating believable characters that I wanted to learn more about. The way the author ties the intertwining stories together is a bit over-the-top toward the very end of the book, but I still enjoyed it immensely. I'm planning to visit Spain next year and now I'm even more excited for my trip - I'd like to visit some of the areas described in the story.