April 29, 2013

ARC Review: The Sisterhood by: Helen Bryan

The Sisterhood by: Helen Bryan (April 30, 2013)
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
402 pages
Genre: Fiction
Goodreads Summary: Menina Walker was a child of fortune. Rescued after a hurricane in South America, doomed to a life of poverty with a swallow medal as her only legacy, the orphaned toddler was adopted by an American family and taken to a new life. As a beautiful, intelligent woman of nineteen, she is in love, engaged, and excited about the future — until another traumatic event shatters her dreams.

Menina flees to Spain to bury her misery in research for her college thesis about a sixteenth-century artist who signed his works with the image of a swallow — the same image as the one on Menina’s medal. But a mugging strands Menina in a musty, isolated Spanish convent. Exploring her surroundings, she discovers the epic sagas of five orphan girls who were hidden from the Spanish Inquisition and received help escaping to the New World. Is Menina’s medal a link to them, or to her own past? Did coincidence lead her to the convent, or fate? Both love story and historical thriller, The Sisterhood is an emotionally charged ride across continents and centuries.

My Review

I’m giving The Sisterhood three stars. I would give Menina’s story, the one that takes place in the 21st century two stars, but I would give the story of the different ladies from the Spanish convent that took place in the 16th century four stars. Hence the three star rating.

This book may seem slightly daunting at first. At 400 pages a good portion of which are about historical events, and with the first 80 pages sort of slow it was hard to like this book right off the bat. Don’t worry though, if you have the patience to stick it out you will be rewarded.

Menina’s Story: Although I liked Menina her story was very lackluster for the most part. The part I disliked the most of her story, how unbelievable her plot line was. The part where Menina falls asleep and misses her bus in a foreign country and her bag gets stolen and she doesn't run after the kid, it is more complex than that, but let me tell you that it the scene was totally unbelievable. I don’t know about you but I don’t like it when something happens in a story that is so crazy that you just can’t get over it. That was me, but this happened relatively early in the novel so I kept trudging along and I’m glad I did.

16th Century Spanish Convent (stories written down in the Chronicle, along with the medal, the only things Menina has of her heritage): Although I think there are too many interlocking convent girls’ stories and it was at times hard to follow, this was the most interesting part of the novel. It was great to read about the past and see all the little connections between these different girls/women and Menina in the 21st century. It was a fun puzzle to put together, even if it was occasionally obvious.

I really loved the format of the book, the switching back and forth between the 21st century and the 16th century was done really well and at a good pace. It was a really nice story about a book that preserved the ladies of the 16th century's lives. I love the emphasis on the importance of a book and the written word. The only part I didn't like about this was the ending. When we are finally switched back over to Menina for good we don’t get a lot of time with her before the book is over, leaving a couple of loose ends and an overly quick wrap up. Although I did like the very end of the novel, even if it was once again a little far-fetched.

In the end this is a pretty interesting read. It has a good amount of mystery and secrets that may be hard to follow at times, but kept my attention.

I would say that if you have some extra time to give this book a chance. It would be a great library pick.

** I received a free e-copy of this book from netgalley and Amazon Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Thanks!



  1. Hmm I think I will take your advice and keep this on my radar for when I have time. Although I feel like that's saying I won't read it because I feel like I never have time (or a very long list of books to squeeze in when I have time hah). But I am kind of intrigued by the story told in the 16th century and the connections made to the 21st century. I'll try to keep this in mind. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. It was a really interesting read, but it did take ma while to get through it for some reason.


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