Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
Publisher: William & Morrow
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned.

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.
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With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?

A war, women and danger…it’s all in this book.

I’ve never read anything by Lauren Willig before this book and I’m glad I rectified that. This was an interesting book. It’s not for everyone, in that it describes war times and could be a trigger for some readers, but honestly, it’s a fascinating read.

The plot moves along well and kept my attention. I rooted for these women. They’re in a difficult place trying to make the world better, in their own little fashion. I liked the variety of characters, despite the fact that there are a lot of characters and it can be a little confusing trying to keep them all straight. Still, the story plugs along just fine and kept me interested.

There is a lot of description about war and the destruction that comes with it. As I’ve noted, this might be a trigger for some readers, as there is mention of injury, death and the death of children. Read with caution, but do let the story take you away.

If you’re interested in a book that’s a good mix of history, war and a little bit of romance, then this might be the book you’re looking for.

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