Band of Sisters: Book summary and reviews of Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig

Band of Sisters

A Novel

by Lauren Willig

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig X
Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
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About this book

Book Summary

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith's Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned. 

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters? 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Willig expertly uses historical detail in her seamless, well-plotted tale.  This will entice readers from the very first page." - Publishers Weekly 

"An affecting and memorable tale of women and the way their friendships are tested by a changing world and the unforgiving crucible of conflict. Altogether it's an utterly entertaining and enlightening work of historical fiction. Brava!" - Jennifer Robson, bestselling author of The Gown

"Band of Sisters spotlights a fascinating group of young women who braved the strains of world war to help those caught in the crossfire and left direly in need. Through snappy dialogue and endearing characters, Willig delivers a heartwarming tale powered by sisterly support, forgiveness, and the strength found together—and within." - Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday

"A compelling tale of love, resilience, expectations, bravery, and above all, the powerful, redemptive bonds of female friendship." - Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names

"An inspiring ode to the indomitable strength of women and the fierce, indelible bonds of female friendship, a tale of she-roes that will make you both laugh and cry." - Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen's Fortune

"With heart and humor, Willig explores the complexities of female friendships—feuds, forgiveness, and all. A touching portrait of triumph and found family in the midst of war. Bravo!" - Stephanie Dray, New York Times Bestselling author of America's First Daughter & The Women of Chateau Lafayette

"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines…A triumph." - Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

"Captivating! The ever-masterful Lauren Willig beautifully celebrates these singular women." - Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mysterious Mrs. Christie. 

"Brimming with a cast of characters to love and root for, and based on actual events and the lives of truly brave women, Band of Sisters is the perfect story for our troubled times. This is the historical novel you've been hungering for." - Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

This information about Band of Sisters was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Sylvia LaC

Band of Sisters
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Smith College women were tough and learned so much while helping the French people whose lives were torn apart during WWI.

Becky H

Society girls and daring do
Powerfully written and exhaustively researched, this lightly fictionalized account of the Smith College Relief Unit that assisted French villages decimated by Germany during WWI is an exciting tale of daring do. The Smith Unit, made up of recent graduates of Smith College, were young women mostly brought up to be wealthy, pampered society darlings. They were inspired by a visionary speech and formed a unit that soon found them living in filthy, bombed out buildings and working in dangerous, frontline areas of France.
Willig used the Smith College archives to find the families (and occasionally the women themselves) of the Unit. She had access to letters and diaries written by the women as they toiled in France. The book uses these intimate writings to flesh out the women and tell of their deeds as the women lived them. The women and villagers come alive on the page.
A wonderful book well worth your time.
5 of 5 stars

Mary C

Hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!
Well, none of you should be surprised that I’m about to write a glowing review about Lauren Willig’s newest, (Band of Sisters),as I’ve been looking forward to this for months.I loved, loved! this masterpiece to the point I think I’ve hailed it to all of Gods above! My high expectations were not only met but knocked out of the park. I read a lot of historical fiction, and Band of Sisters made me laugh, cry and feel outrage for what the characters have gone through. I felt as if I became part of their lives.

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Author Information

Lauren Willig Author Biography

Lauren Willig is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Pink Carnation series and a RITA Award-winner for Best Regency Historical for The Mischief of the Mistletoe. A graduate of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Link to Lauren Willig's Website

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