Thursday, September 13, 2012

Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hope of claiming the life promised to their father over twenty years before. After surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor, Colonel Wakefield, has died. His family, refusing to own his Civil War debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to obtain employment in a prominent department store. But she soon discovers that the elegant facade hides a secret that threatens every vulnerable woman in the city.

Despite her family’s disapproval, Olivia Wakefield determines to honor her father’s debt but can’t find Maureen. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, whom Olivia begins to see as more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he’s hiding. As women begin disappearing from the store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen take a stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters. But can either woman open her heart to divine leading or the love it might bring?

After thoroughly enjoying Promise Me This, I couldn’t wait to read whatever Cathy came up with next. Band of Sisters was not quite the story I was anticipating of two Irish sisters fleeing their homeland for a better life in America.

Oh, that’s the basis of the story...but, the typical immigrant tale that I expected of discovering that America isn’t all gold and glitter had a much darker side in Band of Sisters.

The crux of Gohlke’s newest book is white slavery: women and young girls being kidnapped by traffickers and sold for immoral purposes. And although Cathy set her novel in 1910 NYC, she shares with her reader that she was challenged to write about a current need. Sadly, she states,
today, in this twenty-first century, there are far more people trapped in bondage, more people exploited and enslaved in every way, than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade.’
Shocking, isn’t it?

I’ve read about the issue on a few other mom blogs, but in my small protected circle, it’s difficult to imagine such happenings still occurring - and how huge the issue really is.

Band of Sisters relates the story of one Maureen O’Reilly and her determination to protect and provide for her young sister. Her courage is sorely tested when she recognizes that all is not as upstanding as it seems at Darcy’s Department Store.

However, Maureen’s painful past makes it almost impossible for her to trust those who promise to help, let alone love the one man who knows her miserable history.

Cathy is definitely a fabulous writer. Despite the vile subject, she did not go into great detail (which I greatly appreciate), although some of the name-calling by Maureen’s sister made me a bit uncomfortable (and the revelation of her mother’s behavior was quite unsettling).

I thought Cathy successfully used her writing skills to call attention to a problem that has never gone away...if anything, it has grown. Current at the time was Sheldon’s book, In His Steps. Cathy used this man’s challenge, ‘What would Jesus do?’ as a basis for the wealthy society ladies who wanted to make a difference, but weren’t sure where to start.

I believe the phrase has been almost overused in the past few decades, somewhat diminishing it’s vital meaning. Truly, what WOULD Jesus do in each and every situation you find yourself in? Are you willing to DO what He would do? Not just in the big things! Sometimes, just learning to hold our tongue is a small, but HUGE thing!

If we each allowed the Holy Spirit to control us, doing what we know Jesus would do, what a difference could be made! Starting with our own life, then our family, friends...the world!

Truly weighty subjects in Band of Sisters - white slavery and our willingness to humbly submit to the Lord. The book was definitely thought-provoking.

**Check out this interview with Cathy HERE!**

A big thank you to Cathy and the Tyndale Blog Network for sending me a copy to read and review!

Also reviewed on Amazon and Christianbook.

blog signature

**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
307728_Coupon Savings - 468x60
Blog Widget by LinkWithin