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Sisters of the Great War Summary and Reviews

Sisters of the Great War

A Novel

by Suzanne Feldman

Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman X
Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman
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  • Published Oct 2021
    400 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

Inspired by real women, this powerful novel tells the story of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I.

August 1914. While Europe enters a brutal conflict unlike any waged before, the Duncan household in Baltimore, Maryland, is the setting for a different struggle. Ruth and Elise Duncan long to escape the roles that society, and their controlling father, demand they play. Together, the sisters volunteer for the war effort—Ruth as a nurse, Elise as a driver.

Stationed at a makeshift hospital in Ypres, Belgium, Ruth soon confronts war's harshest lesson: not everyone can be saved. Rising above the appalling conditions, she seizes an opportunity to realize her dream to practice medicine as a doctor. Elise, an accomplished mechanic, finds purpose and an unexpected kinship within the all-female Ambulance Corps. Through bombings, heartache and loss, Ruth and Elise cherish an independence rarely granted to women, unaware that their greatest challenges are still to come.

Illuminating the critical role women played in the Great War, this is a remarkable story of resilience, sacrifice and the bonds that can never be vanquished.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Feldman's rendering of the Western front is unsentimental and unsparing, making this an effective war story despite the slow plot movement." - Publishers Weekly

"This novel is about the resilience and strength of women in war, but also about love." - Booklist

"Perfect for fans of Lilac Girls, The Alice Network and Girls on the Line." - Suzanne Rindell, author of The Two Mrs. Carlyles

"A ferociously gripping portrayal of love and war. A soaring, impressive achievement." - Elise Levine, author of This Wicked Tongue and Blue Field

"This touching, intricate, high-stakes novel of two sisters is a welcome addition to the WWI canon, which continues to depict the Great War as the exclusive province of men. Intimate, unexpected and very real." - Padma Viswanathan, author of The Ever After of Ashwin Rao and The Toss of a Lemon

"A riveting narrative that redefines who the true heroes of war are." - Dennis Danvers, author of The Perfect Stranger

"This novel is immersive, profoundly affecting, and transformative in my appreciation and understanding of women of the past." - Olga Zilberbourg, author of Like Water and Other Stories

This information about Sisters of the Great War 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

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Marly T.

Sisters of the Great War
Suzanne Feldman takes us on an adventure with more downs than ups, but dowsed in wartime reality. Many times I felt the chill and the mud of Ypres as our characters worked. This historical fiction is immersive in WWI, and also in the lives of these two sisters. I commend Feldman for her research and prose. The differences between WWII and "the Great War" are worth reading about, especially if you love all the wonderful Kristin Harmel, now Lisa Scottoline, and other talented authors who unveil the stories of WWII so eloquently. If you read some of the medical breakthroughs in Civil War stories, you'll learn differences in those conflicts, too. Give Ruth and Elise Duncan a try. I enjoyed their feminism and bravery. I will continue to imagine the injured soldiers using their new medals as Christmas tree ornaments. A memorable work of historical fiction that would give any book club a lot to discuss.

Cheryl P. (Lebanon, PA)

Sisters of the Great War
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Quite the page turner of finding love and strength in the chaos of war.

Linda M. (Lititz, PA)

Sisters of the Great War
I really enjoyed reading this book about two sisters from the US who volunteered for duty during WWI in France one as a nurse and one as one of the many female ambulance drivers. I found the characters very interesting and surprised by some of the situations these women had to work through and think extremely fast on their feet. I really enjoy reading historical fiction, although this did have some true things that happened taken from diaries and notes kept during this period of time. This book also contained romances the sisters both found themselves in during the war. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction, those interested in life during WW I, book clubs and anyone interested reading a good book with more Women's views during WW I.

Carrie D. (Freeport, ME)

Great historical fiction
This is a very well written book about 2 sisters during World War 1. They grew up during a male dominated time in history, yet both of them chose non-traditional life trajectories. It was so interesting to read the obstacles they encountered, and it was enthralling to get such detailed descriptions of how it was on the front line during the Great War.

Judith C. (Santa Rosa, CA)

Sisters of the Great War
I and seem to be on a Great War kick. The last book I reviewed was about a Great War nurse. But this book is totally different. I found it more absorbing and informative,plus it is a real page turner. I felt at times that I was on the front and in the hospital. Both sisters are involved in the war effort, one as a nurse and the other as an ambulance driver. Both sisters had wonderfully interesting story lines. Highly recommended.

Carole P. (Natick, MA)

Sisters of the Great War
Let me start by saying I loved this book. I do have 2 criticisms so let me get them out of the way

This book needed to be longer It should have been fleshed out more. The reader has just been through an intense ride with the author, then everything is neatly tied up in a few pages and the book is done. I kept looking for more to read. So while the book is a wonderful read, it ends too abruptly and felt rushed.

The two sex scenes were unneeded and distracting. I don't want to do a spoiler,so I will just say they felt contrived. However, I would love to read more books about these sisters and an in-depth look at women's challenges during the 1920's.
I highly recommend Sisters of the Great War and look forward to the authors next book!

...16 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Suzanne Feldman

Suzanne Feldman graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1981 and received a Masters in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University in 2004.  Her novel Absalom's Daughters (Holt, 2016) received a starred review in Kirkus.  Her short story "The Witch Bottle" (Gargoyle Magazine 2016) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  She received a Nebula Award in 2001 for her short fiction and the Editors Prize for fiction in 2005 at The Missouri Review.  She has had stories published in Narrative Magazine, including "The Lapedo Child," which was selected as one of the year's best (2013).  She was a finalist for the Bakeless Prize in 2005. She attended the Sewanee Writers Conference as a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in 2019.

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