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The Sisterhood by [Bryan, Helen]
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The Sisterhood Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 3,836 customer reviews

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Length: 420 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
"The Secrets She Kept" by Brenda Novak
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Editorial Reviews


"There is much to admire in Helen Bryan's second novel … the research that Bryan has invested in this novel shows, making the historical parts of the book a fascinating look at 16th-century Spain and early South America. Those who love romance and like to explore alternatives to the overtly male-centered version of Christianity would like this book." —Historical Novels Review

"The author kept me on the edge of my seat ... I cannot wait to read more." —Night Owl Reviews, 4 ½ stars Top Pick

About the Author

After ten years as a barrister, Helen Bryan left law to write full time. In 2003, she received the Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America for her biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty. Her first work of historical fiction, War Brides, was a bestseller on Amazon. She is also the author of the law handbook Planning Applications and Appeals. Raised in Tennessee and Virginia, she currently resides in London with her family.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3212 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (April 30, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 30, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009W3OFDE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,050 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Helen Bryan has hit a home run with her sprawling saga, The Sisterhood. The novel is composed of two intertwined stories, with one story played out against the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century, the other taking place in modern times. The modern story followed Menina Walker, who had been rescued from the sea off the coast of South America, taken to an orphanage run by Catholic nuns, and later adopted by an American family. The older story was the remarkable tale of a remote Spanish monastery that sent several nuns and four young girls on a perilous voyage to the New World, along with a special treasure that had great significance for the monastery. The two stories converged when the now grown-up Menina, her dreams shattered after a broken engagement, fled to Spain to do research for her college thesis. Due to a disastrous series of events after her arrival, she ended up stranded in a crumbling old monastery filled with elderly nuns. She soon learned, however, that her misfortune may have been serendipitous, since the monastery could hold some clues to her own origins. Ultimately, her discoveries threatened to shake the foundations of the Christian church to its core, but may also offer a path to peace between warring religions.

Kudos to the author for writing a marvelous piece of historical fiction, one that seamlessly blended a very compelling story with an authentic historical backdrop of the tumultuous 16th century, when the Inquisition terrorized all in its path. The four young girls the Las Golondrinas monastery sent to the New World would have been burned as heretics had the nuns not sent them away to Spanish America. The Sisterhood was really their story, as they adapted to their strange new home while the nuns searched for husbands for them.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Sisterhood is about a young woman in the present named Menina who knows nothing about a mysterious chronicle and medal that she inherited from a nun when her parents adopted her. Her search leads her across countries and centuries, spanning the globe and time as she learns the truth about her mysterious possessions and her own identity and reveals a secret that will impact the world. Along the way she experiences and learns about love, betrayal, loyalty, forgiveness, redemption and faith.

While the story was very interesting and in certain parts reminded me a little bit of The Da Vinci Code, the writing style in areas seems a bit unpolished. I found the beginning of the book difficult to get into- I didn't think it was a smooth transition into the real `meat' of the story. There are a lot of little side stories that make up the bulk of the book that can get a bit confusing, taking place in different times and locations. I found the ending rather abrupt and disappointing - after the big `secret' is discovered, they just wrap up the story neatly at the end as if it's not that big of a deal. Too many parts of the story are just difficult to swallow and seem incomplete. I think this could have been written better - made a bit longer and more interesting.
17 Comments 280 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
... at least I did. And then I was sad that the story didn't go on.

In 1983, after the worst hurricane that South America has seen in years, a boat is found washed up on shore. Inside is a sunburned toddler, naked except for a small medallion on a chain wound around her neck. The medallion is of a swallow, the symbol of a nearby convent and orphanage. She is brought to the decrepit orphanage that lacks everything but love for the children in their care, The child's story of survival is so miraculous that reporters take her photograph for the worldwide press, but then life goes back to normal.

Until an American couple sees the photo and makes the trek to the way-way-way off the beaten path convent to adopt the child in the photo. They name her Menina, which means lady-in-waiting. Little Menina Walker heads back to the United States with her medallion and an old book embossed with the same swallow as on the medallion, a gift from the convent, with the instructions that she read the book at some time after she turns sixteen. The Walkers head home with their new daughter who is American in every way but her appearance, which is Hispanic to the core.

Menina's story winds back and forth with the story of the Spanish Inquisition and how it affects the nuns contained in the Chronicle, part of the book that she had been given by the nuns when she was adopted. Little does she know that the Chronicle and rest of the book will do more than change her life: it will change the way the world views itself and its Creator forever.

That's enough from me -- I don't want to give away any of the story and spoil it. I did have some complaints - that some of the sub-threads never amounted to anything, and one big huge complaint that is a major spoiler.
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32 Comments 188 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't do it. I tried, and I just couldn't do it. The "it" I'm referring to is finishing this book. I purchased on the positive reviews here, and for several days now, I've labored though and managed to drag myself to the halfway point. This story hasn't any idea what it wants to be. Mystery/intrigue? Romance? Historical fiction? History? Who knows? This confusing read leaves under-developed characters behaving out of their intent (the sudden, gratuitous use of a variety of expletives from a top-of-the-class Southern Baptist strikes me as nearly completely implausible). Menina recognizes no one from an arranged tour, makes her own arrangements to reach Madrid, is dumped into an ancient convent, and NOBODY comes looking for her? Did her name just drop off the list? Also, consider the writing: the author has the police chief handily having lived in the US for 5 years, the refers to social pleasures as "flats", "cinema", and "holidays". Nothing screams authentic American English immersion like British words for "apartments", "movie theaters", and "vacations"! Further, the author continuously switches from present tense to past tense, in the same paragraph. Awkward!

Since I couldn't drag myself to the end, I certainly cannot give out any spoilers. This book was a real disappointment from beginning to middle, with such a promising premise and poor execution in plot, character development, and style.
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