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Barbara P. (Worcester, MA)
The comfort of Lies, by Randy Susan Meyers
This women's story is filled with many contrasts.
Julie M. (Minnetonka, MN)
Past and Present
Motherhood, families, couples, a single parent, their livelihood, community, and their love for a five year old adopted girl.
This is a great book for discussion in a book group. It's more interesting than the usual adoption story of a child searching for its birth mother.
The conflicts and struggles of the three families draw you into this love story.
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.
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.
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!
Lucy B. (Urbana, OH)
There were several levels of this book, from year 1552 until 2000. There were several characters in the book and sometimes I found it hard to follow the back and forth stories. All in all I enjoyed the book and became engrossed in the story of Menina Ann Walker's life and the stories within the convents.
Viqui G. (State College, PA)
"The Sisterhood" follows the trail of a medallion and of the Chronicle of the Convent of the Golondrinas. This trail crosses more than 5 centuries and 3 continents. The reader is introduced to many characters: nuns, orphans, parents, boyfriends, husbands etc.
With all of the time, place and character changes, I found myself just trying to follow the plot line or story arc. However, there were so many off-shoots of the story arc ( the Inquisition, religious intolerance, Inca culture, Spanish imperialism, feminism, art appreciation) that the novel becomes muddled and even simplistic.
In fairness, Helen Bryan's writing is very readable. The premise of the novel is intriguing, but I think she tried to fit too many themes, characters and sub-plots to make an effective novel.