BookBrowse Reviews Harriet and Isabella by Patricia O'Brien

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Harriet and Isabella

by Patricia O'Brien

Harriet and Isabella
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

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This intriguing novel illuminates the era's political and social struggles as well as the stresses within a celebrity family

"Decency requires the truth and love requires a lie." This was the moral dilemma Isabella Beecher Hooker faced when brother Henry Ward Beecher, the most celebrated and famous preacher of the 19th Century, went on trial for adultery. Isabella chose to take the decency route and this choice cost her the friendship of her beloved sister, Harriet, who insisted her brother was innocent of charges. This question is at the heart of this story of two sisters and how best to serve their love for their brother—through loyalty or honesty?

The book's action takes place in two days of March 1887. Henry Ward Beecher is dying as the family gathers near and the public waits at his doorstep. But in flashbacks, through the alternating voices of Harriet and Isabella, the reader is taken back to the year 1872 where we come to intimately know the members of this powerful ...

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