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Band of Sisters ❴Reading❵ ➿ Band of Sisters Author Lauren Willig – A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and Th A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the Band of PDF/EPUB or height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren WilligA 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 , 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 UnitFour 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 halfburnt 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 UnitWith the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a Band of Sisters?  .

12 thoughts on “Band of Sisters

  1. Andrea Andrea says:

    Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
    Pub Date: March 2, 2021
    The Women of Smith College Go to War. An incredible sweeping tale of bravery, sisterhood and friendship set amid the challenges of World War I.

    A simply wonderful tale of She-roes!

    Based on the true story of a group of women from the Smith College Relief Unit who went to France during World War I. Eighteen “Smithies” went to France in 1917 to do good deeds where they could, not fully knowing what lay in front of them.
    Based on real people and events, this outstanding novel follows these eighteen women of the Smith College Relief Unit. Each chapter begins with a short letter written by one of the Smithies to their loved ones at home. Old college personas and feelings remain as Kate, the former scholarship student, still feels awkward with her Mayflower descended wealthy fellow students. Willig so aptly taps into all of our lingering college insecurities.
    A doctor on their voyage over says, “You are just the right sort, not neurasthenic enthusiasts, but with a natural dignity and modesty without prejudice.” To which Maud, one of the Smithies, defines neurasthenic as “barmy, a fabulous old English term which roughly translates to mad or crazy. “Emmi did her best to look dignified and modest but wondered just how Dr. Van Dyke would know. Hadn’t they seen Miss Patton’s sherry flask or Miss Cooper’s hunched shoulders? Or maybe they were right, and Emmie was wrong, and this was all completely natural and normal when one was entering a war zone, and not the least – neurasthenic.”
    The vivid character development with individual idiosyncrasies make each woman stand out. From the indomitable Mrs. Rutherford to two female doctors, each woman is so well defined that you feel as if you know them. Emmeline Van Alden, Emmi as she is known, is a wonderful uber wealthy woman who is naïve in many ways but masterful in her genuineness, easily gaining French villager trust. She aptly teaches French children to play again after years of war, attempts to raise chickens and cows and generally appeals to all with genuine naivety and candy. Emmi’s warmth, unbelievable work ethic, endearing personal awkwardness and propensity to quote historical literary works makes her so perfectly imperfect. And when Emmi meets a British soldier and they commence an awkward but wonderful wartime correspondence based mostly upon quotes from old English literature, you can’t help but be enchanted. Willig’s love of Renaissance literature shines throughout this novel.

    Kate Moran, Emmi’s college best friend, reluctantly joins the unit and quickly becomes a leader in their group. Kate is one of drivers who must learn to maneuver a persnickety Ford Jitney and other wartime vehicles. Kate emerges as the Felix to Emmi’s Oscar or the Shirley to Emmi’s Laverne. Where Emmi is one big hug of a woman, Kate is reserved but keenly observant and routinely saves her fellow Smithies from danger and is a complicated yet wonderful woman who unusually befriends a wonderful young girl.

    Willig’s writing makes the story fly by as you root for these women to succeed and hold your breath during moments of severe wartime danger. The Smithies saved numerous French families from hunger and perhaps death and they ably transported hundred to safety when the Germans were rapidly approaching. Band of Sisters highlights the enduring strength of female friendships with a small dollop of romance, cows and chickens. Told with Lauren Willig dry wit and meticulous research, Band of Sisters is a gem that will stay with you long after you read it.

    Huge thanks to William Morrow for the advance copy. I loved it!

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