Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

Leah Courtney

Back in the days before free Kinde books and books for review groups, I knew what to expect in books that I was reading.  I only choose books based on authors I loved or the recommendations from others.  Now, I'm reading a much larger variety of books.  I don't usually know what to expect. The downside is I've read some really not so good books. The upside is that every once in a while I stumble across a book that is really good, really worth reading.  Cathy Gohlke's Band of Sisters was one of those.

There were several things this book really had in it's favor from my perspective:
1. The historical setting is the early 1900s.  I've really come to enjoy reading about this time period- featured in several books I've read recently.  It was a time of such vast differences between high society and the much poorer common man.
2.  One of the heroines is Irish.  I'm not sure why, but I have long been drawn to Scottish and Irish characters.  Feisty Maureen O'Reilly is a very compelling and likable heroine.
3.  The main theme of the book is tied in with Charles Sheldon's book from the late 1800s- In His Steps. I had almost forgotten this book, not the principles of it because I was very struck by this when I first read it, but the particulars of the story.  I was very pleasantly reminded of the theme of asking in every circumstance through daily life "What would Jesus have done?"

The story is about Maureen O'Reilly and her sister Katie Rose who flee from Ireland to America after their mother's death.  Maureen is hoping to start over in a new life.  But when she and Katie Rose reach America, the sponsor they expect to be waiting for them is not there.  And so they stumble unawares into a dangerous situation.  Olivia Wakefield is a young woman with a mission.  She's a society lady who convinces her ladies group to read Charles Sheldon's In His Steps and to make that their mission in the coming year.  The paths of these two women will cross and the women will join forces to fight modern day slavery of women and girls.

This was one of the best books I've reviewed in a while. I liked everything about it.  I was drawn into the stories of Olivia and Maureen.  At the same time I was reminded and convicted of the need to walk as Jesus would, to do what He would do.  I know that sexual slavery is still a real issue. It's out there.  I've always done a good job of just pushing that thought to the back of my mind. Band of Sisters brought it to the forefront; nudged me to be aware that things like this still happen; and encouraged me to ask "What would Jesus do?"

More information about Cathy Gohlke and Band of Sisters can be found on Cathy's website here.  And an interview with Cathy about the issues in the book can be found here.

I rate this book a strong 5 stars and a PG-13 for content.  While not graphic, the subject of sexual slavery and indiscretion is very present here.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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