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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.
Judy G. (Carmel, IN)
The Sisterhood Captured Me
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.
I became thoroughly engrossed in the book despite some imperfections already mentioned by other readers who gave it a 3 or 4 rating. The challenge of portraying the history in an engaging manner out ranks some of the inevitable "side effects" of that accomplishing that feat. Yes, following all the characters through the ages was challenging for the reader--yet doable even for an intuitive reader like me. I felt that having to do so made the book a richer reading experience than I might have otherwise had. Normally, I would have put a book aside with too many characters and facts; but to do so in this case would have been my loss.
Beth C. (Sioux Falls, SD)
The shift from the Spanish Inquisition to a modern day female character made Menina stand out as a little unreal compared to other women in the story; however, I believe the character was well developed and Menina's personality description is what causes some of that perception of shallowness in her character that other readers comment on. This was one of the best books I've read this year.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though I usually shy away from novels that delve into the Spanish Inquisition. However, this novel deftly weaves the story of a South American adoptee who grew up completely unaware of her real background and the story of a Spanish convent in the 15th century. Menina Walker has studied art history in college and decides to go to Spain to research her thesis on a lesser known Spanish painter. Not surprisingly, she finds herself at an ancient Spanish convent that was named for the swallows that come there every year. Menina has an old medal that came with her at her adoption that also has swallows on it. While there she begins to uncover some very old paintings which add a bit of mystery to the story. The way Helen Bryan weaves the old convent story with the new art historian plot is intriguing and well done.
Joan C. (Warwick, RI)
I would recommend the book.
This book has everything a reader could ask for - intrigue, romance, heroes, heroines, history, family and religion. Did I miss anything? I'm sure I did, so you need to read Sisterhood to find out what. Flashing the setting back and forth between modern and medieval times in Spain and "New Spain", you read to find out what the connection is between the characters then and now, bu It isn't until the very end that the author enlightens us. Set against the backdrop of a Catholic convent, young female babies and girls are left at the convent's gates because of the mores of the historical period. These children come under the nurturing care, love and teachings of nuns and novices of Las Golondrinas Convent. How wonderful to read a book full of love, hope and kindness and how these themes kept on being "played forward" in "Sisterhood".
Georgette I. (Oxford, GA)
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan is a good effort but doesn't quite make the grade. The characters are shallow and the story meanders. I found the attempt at interweaving past and present to be tedious and often confusing. While I am compuslive about completing a book, I was sorely tempted to put this one down. I gave it a 3 only because the historical research regarding the Inquisition is noteworthy.
Gail L. (Cypress, TX)
At the heart of Helen Bryan's novel, The Sisterhood, is a great story. It held my attention on several levels: historical information, women's issues, the Catholic Church. However,the author could not seem to decide if she was writing a work of historical fiction or a romance novel! The vehicle in which she presents her interesting story is weak.
Anna S. (Auburn, AL)
The author is ambitious and tries to present too much information rather than giving more depth to her history.
The book held my attention from beginning to end, and I easily forgave obvious flaws in the writing style.
This is a story of the present and the past and how they intertwined. I particularly enjoyed 'past' part of the novel which dealt with the way the Spanish Inquisition led to the founding of an order of nuns in 'New Spain', and their relationship with the Incas.
Esther L. (Newtown, PA)
I love historical fiction
Had it not been for a couple of improbable coincidences I would have rated this book as a 5 .
Thank you to BookBrowse for allowing me to preview The Sisterhood. I read her previous book, War Brides and enjoyed that story. This book was even better. I thoroughly enjoyed the history of the 16th century Spanish convent and the nuns that lived and worked there to make women's lives better and care for many orphans. I was less involved in the modern character of Menina and found the ending a little contrived. I will recommend this book because of its historical details.