This book was totally wonderful and unexpected. I’d read Helen Bryan’s first book War Brides
and liked it so when I saw this advertised on BookBud at a very reasonable price, it might have been $.99 but I think it was the free book of the day, I downloaded it to my Kindle
where it sat for a couple of weeks until I started to read it. And then I was fascinated and just kept reading.
Bryan swings back and forth in time as the story unfolds. On the surface it is the story of a young South American orphan girl, Menina Walker, who after being rescued in a hurricane with nothing but a medal embossed with a swallow is adopted by the Southern Baptist American couple, the Walkers. Her new life is a good life until at nineteen a traumatic event shatters her dreams for the future. She flees to Spain where she intends to do 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. Through a series of, mostly believable, events she is stranded in a musty, isolated Spanish convent. Where she discovers the saga of five orphan girls and their escape from the Inquisition.
Bryan, however, tells a much deeper more dramatic story as the history of the order of the nuns is revealed against the background of the Spanish Inquisition. Her research makes the historical parts of the book a fascinating glimpse of 16th Century Spain and early South America. The image of the swallow binds all layers and all persons together. This is a book about the power of women. It portrays a powerful belief in the goodness of people even in the worst of times.
The Sisterhood is both love story and historical thriller, it is an emotionally, fascinating read, taking you across continents and centuries. It is well written and if you like a well paced historical novel I suggest you give it a try.