Monday, March 8, 2021

2021 - #32 - Band of Sisters; Lauren Willig

 

TITLE/AUTHORBand of Sisters, Lauren Willig

PUBLISHER:  Harper Audio and William Morrow

YEAR PUBLISHED:  2021

GENRE: Fiction / Historical

FORMAT:  print (528ppaudio download PP/LENGTH: 15 hours 59 min (Julia Whalen narrator)

SOURCE: Net Galley

SETTING(s):  France, WWI


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  An engrossing story about a group of Smith College women who volunteered to help French civilians in 1917 during WWI - based on a true story.


BRIEF REVIEW:  Five years after graduating from Smith College, a private women's college in western Massachusetts,  a group of alumni band together and head to France to help with the war effort. Most of the women are from wealthy families with the exception of Kate Moran, a scholarship student from New York.   Kate is pleaded with to join the group when another woman is unable to go. Even though she has reservations she agrees to help out her wealthy best friend Emmie.  The two women join some fifteen other strong, determined women including a few physicians among the group as part of the Smith College Relief Unit.

The group is met with many challenges, the least of which was hotel accommodations in Paris which were not up to expectations of some of the wealthy women.  The women are unprepared for what they then face on the frontlines: untreated injuries, missing civilians, supply and equipment issues, a town which has been destroyed by the Germans, poisoned water, no crops and locals living in a burned out roofless castle. Faced with desperate circumstances and bickering among the women, they do truly band together and do what it takes whether it be learning to drive trucks, tending the injured, comforting children or working with animals.

Band of Sisters is a work of fiction based on true events which included letters written by the women during the relief effort. The story is strong and is a testament to the power of female friendship despite personality differences along the way.  The author wrote an amazing story and although it could have been extremely sad, it never felt that way because there were some lighter elements and occasional snarkiness peppered throughout.  While I thought I would like Kate more than I did, she often cam across as annoying and Emmie ended up being my favorite character instead.  There are many women in this story but, most played a minor role in the telling of the story. Julia Whelan did a good job as audio narrator, yet, this was another audio book where at times I thought her inflection seemed a bit off for the seriousness of the story.  

For me this was a combo read/listen: eGalley and audio download sent to me by Net Galley and Harper Audio/William Morrow. Fans of historical fiction should enjoy this one.

RATING: 4/5 stars 

15 comments:

  1. I have this one on my TBR list and think it sounds good. My best friend went to Smith and another friend is a professor there so the idea that it's Smith women intrigues me.

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    1. I know I mentioned this previously but, I grew up not far from Smith so any books that take place in that Five College area appeal to me as a setting. I used to work at Mount Holyoke College in the 1980s.

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  2. I am glad you liked this one. For a while I had WWI burnout as far as historical fiction goes. I do, however, like stories about women trying to work together and actually get something done. For that, I am interested.

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    1. I don't think I've read many WWI books, but WWII overload for me.

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  3. That does sound like an interesting one!

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  4. I absolutely love reading stories about women and their efforts to help in the war effort. I like being proven that they can't be underestimated.

    Lovely review, Diane.

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  5. Diane, this is a timely review post for International Women's Day. This story sounds very interesting. Excellent review! I think reading and listening to a book could enhance the experience.

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  6. I've read several of Lauren Willig's books and liked them, but I haven't read this one. Yet. It sounds so good. :)

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  7. I don't know Lauren Willing's work, but this one is enough to place her firmly on my radar for the first time. It sounds like a good piece of historical fiction.

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  8. I haven't read any of Lauren Willig's books but if this is a good example of her work she sounds quite talented. I do enjoy well-written historical fiction.

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  9. I like that it is based on some true events and that it includes letters.

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  10. This may be one I read vs listen to. It sounds wonderful and I've really enjoyed the other books by Willig that I've read.

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