The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan
Borrowed free through Amazon Prime (May) – 5/27/13
Finish Time: 6-7 days. This book was unlike any I have read in awhile. I looked back and I guess it is considered historical fiction, could maybe even be historical mystery. Without doing too much research, I’m going to assume that means just some of the major historical events and geography of the time. I do know that I am grateful that I was not a woman in Europe in the 1500’s. Wow – some of the stories of the girls/women in this book are terrible, awful, and I would like to believe they are fiction.
The book jumps back and forth between modern time (the year 2000) following the story of Menina, a 19-year old living in the US. She was adopted as a child and the orphanage that took her in said she came with a mysterious medal and book that were to be given to her on her 16th birthday. As she comes of age and starts questioning her past, she plans a trip to try and find the meaning of the medal, book, and more about her past. The other part of the book takes place in the 1500’s in Spain and Spanish America and is written account (journal/log) of the sisters of a convent (thus the Sisterhood!). There is a lot of detail about the Inquisition and the Moors and religious freedom (or lack thereof) during the time period (which I’m guessing, again without research, is the true historical part!)
I almost wanted to start making a list or tree to keep track of all the characters that were introduced throughout the historical part of the book. It was very clear at the beginning of each chapter who the narrator was and where they were, but putting it down and picking it back up night after night, I was a little confused. Who knows – that may just be me. That did not take away from the story at all and I kept coming back night after night! Towards the end – it was almost reminiscent of The DaVinci Code as more information was discovered or rather uncovered about an “alternative” or expanded story not included in the Bible. Fictional – but still gets you thinking – what if (in Christian history)?
Overall though, it was a very good story, as I mentioned before, unlike anything I have ever read before. I was anxious to pick it up each day and a little sad to see it end. More challenging that other books of recent and left me thinking, and I would definitely recommend! (So glad to say that finally with certainty!)