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The Sisterhood

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  19,988 ratings  ·  1,379 reviews
Menina Walker was a child of fortune. Rescued after a hurricane in South America, doomed to a life of poverty with a swallow medal as her only legacy, the orphaned toddler was adopted by an American family and taken to a new life. As a beautiful, intelligent woman of nineteen, she is in love, engaged, and excited about the future — until another traumatic event shatters he ...more
Paperback, 402 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Lake Union Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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Yaaresse There are 36; however, they are of widely varying lengths, at least partly due to the time slip aspect of the story.

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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,988 ratings  ·  1,379 reviews


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Pouting Always
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I wish this book had only been about the people who's backstories we hear and not Menina because she was such a bore, all her parts made me want to skip ahead. The only parts with her that weren't painful to read were the ones when she's in the monastery already. That said I really enjoyed the writing and I didn't mind the plot line being so convoluted except maybe again the parts with Menina. Also the ending felt so cheesy and I'm not sure why but most of the time it's really hard for ...more
Margitte
Since the publication of The Da Vinvi Code it could have been expected that similar 'what if'- questions would pull a few new surprises out of the hats of history, and this book is no exception. In the Da Vinci Code, the question was asked 'What if Jesus was married or had a family?'. In this book the question is asked ' What if Jesus had sisters or brothers, and Mary did not remain a virgin forever? '

Throw in the theories presented in another recent book 'The Kabbalist' around the true history
...more
Kay
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
I’m giving The Sisterhood three stars. I would give Menina’s story, the one that takes place in the 21st century two stars, but I would give the story of the different ladies from the Spanish convent that took place in the 16th century four stars. Hence the three star rating.

This book may seem slightly daunting at first. At 400 pages a good portion of which are about historical events, and with the first 80 pages sort of slow it was hard to like this book right off the bat. Don’t worry though, i
...more
Tamara
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
As a feminist and a Spanish teacher, I was intrigued by the description of the book. However, I was disappointed. I felt the novel was too ambitious for me to have a lasting interest in the characters. I stopped even trying to remember which woman was which and what her story was, as there were just too many names and too much backstory to make the characters stand out as individuals. The scribes' writing in the chronicle did not vary enough, in language nor in style, from the part of the story ...more
Victoria
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
This eye-catching novel with its fascinating premise unfortunately fails to deliver on its promise. When a young South American girl is adopted by a genteel, Southern family, she has only a few clues of her own past. In a disastrous trip to Spain, Menina begins to unravel mysteries dating back to before the Inquisition. The book flips from Menina’s 2000 present, and in the past through the eyes of several nuns, novices and orphans taken in by a secluded convent. Despite its promise, the executio ...more
Fabiana
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this quickly and enjoyed it, but... I have some complaints.
I liked:
- Sor Beatriz with Salome, and Sor Esperanza
- How the convent was about protecting women
- Menina finding the paintings.
(view spoiler)

I didn't like:
- How it kept introducing new characters and telling "their" story and then switching to something different. I didn't feel like it flowed very well. (view spoiler)
...more
Sally
Jul 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
There were moments when I enjoyed this book. A few. For the most part I found it a junior high summer read that just didn't come together. Bryan seems to have a problem with endings and this was a perfect example of her need to grab at every far fetched possibility to tie everything up with a big happy bow.

I think if the author had left out the present day foolishness and focused instead on the story that took place hundreds of years ago the book would have fared better. Her plan was too ambitio
...more
Donna
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the best I've read this year.
It starts with a couple's trip to pick up their adopted child. From
there, this child grows into a beautiful Spanish young lady. She is
engaged to a man (who seems to be the "ideal man) but uses & hurts
this innocent woman.
She is an art student, who is given a trip to Spain to work on her thesis. She leaves the USA, and is headed for Madrid. Unfortunately,(or not) She misses her connection & has to wait in a small town. There, She is surpri
...more
Patrice Hoffman
The Sisterhood is an enjoyable historical fiction contemporary mix, with a little bit of romance written by author Helen Bryan. The story follows the life of a woman named Menina Walker who was adopted from a Spanish convent, into a wealthy family and has lived a life of ease until a jarring experience causes her world to seemingly crash down. Menina has always been intrigued by the sparrow on medal she was given by her birth parents before their death in a tragic hurricane, so in an effort to i ...more
Jim
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dianne
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan is a masterful stroke of literary genius told with a passion for the lives of each and every character in vivid detail! In a word - Incredible!

The contemporary character, Menina Walker is special. She was found as a toddler in South America, the miraculous survivor of a hurricane, her only possession being an ancient swallow medal. Menina was adopted by an American family, growing into a beautiful and brilliant young woman who thought she had an equally brilliant f
...more
Angela Risner
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Okay, just had to get that out of the way first.

This is the first book of Helen Bryan's that I've read. The Sisterhood straddles time periods between 16th century Spain/New World and today. Menina Walker is our main protagonist. As a small child, she was found alive after a hurricane off of the Pacific coast of South America. She was taken to a convent orphanage because of the medal around her neck. Along with the medal is a book, known as the Chronicle. A year later, Menina was adopted by Unite
...more
Annie
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked it well enough. It was a good story that caught my attention and more-or-less kept me engaged. I love Art History and its a common fantasy of mine to be able to major in it and find a job in some quaint little Italian town running a small art or history museum. The Renaissance is one of my favorite eras of both Art History and just general history, as is the shift from the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment, so this book was certainly up my alley.

There were a few instances that req
...more
M. Kircher
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I really wanted to read this book when it first came out, and as I started to get into the story, I connected with the character of Menina Walker. Bryan does a good job of hooking you into the story and once Menina is raped, you really start to care about this character. When she flees her ex-fiance and goes on a trip to Spain, then gets suddenly left behind by her group, robbed, and dumped on the doorstep of a convent, the reader really wants to know what will happen next. The problem is that f ...more
Celia
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, travel
I love historical fiction, so really enjoyed this book.

There are two parallel stories being described here.

First the life of Menina Walker, adopted by an American family from a convent in South America after she had been rescued from a hurricane. She left that convent with a journal and a talisman that the SA convent had been keeping since the 1500's.

Paralleled with that is the story of a convent in Spain and what happened there during the Inquisition. The journal and the talisman had originated
...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 Spain and the expulsion of the Moors, Catholicism and the inquisition, these were very dangerous times, not only in Spain but in other countries as well. Even convents and monasteries were not safe from the long reach and the power that the church wielded. Everyone and anyone was suspect, friends and neighbors reported on each other, and the sentence was death by fire. The authors strength definitely lie in the historical portion of this novel and consequentially that is the part of liked th ...more
Amanda McGill
Jan 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, book-club
Dull and long.

I would of never chosen this book to read on my own, but it was my book club's February pick, so I spent my Sunday reading/skimming as if it were a homework assignment.

Menina was found shipwrecked when she was 2 years ago. All that was with her was a medallion around her neck. Menina got adopted and went to go live in America with her adoptive parents. After a not so good breakup with her fiance, she left to go to Spain and do some research about a painter that has the same image
...more
Elaine
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
This book can best be described as an epic historical mystery spanning from the 16th century to the present day. As the product description says, it tells the story of five girls who are taken in by the nuns in Spain and hidden from the Spanish Inquisition. They are then sent to the New World, entrusted with the Order's most treasured possessions to ensure their safety.

I particularly enjoyed the parts of the story in Spain and South America. I was totally lost in the tale, which is rich in detai
...more
QueenAmidala
May 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Was hoping this would be similar to my favorite, The Eight. Sorry, no underline available.
It had it's possibilities,and it's moments, but just didn't produce. I was reading along, and enjoying the ride, and anticipating the reveal, then boom...it was like I had picked up a different book that had been written by a fledgling student. There was no mystery, no weaving of the characters. It read like a newspaper report. Short, staccato, and lacking. Leaving it out entirely would have had more appeal
...more
Joe Krakovsky
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
As you read the story you wonder what connection there is between a baby found with a medallion around it's neck and a Spanish convent in the 1550's. Along the way a host of characters are introduced that spin quite a tale. From the historic perspective it seems to have been well researched, though the truth was probably fudged at times as the author's prerogative. Heck, I would recommend it just for the interesting reading alone.
The drawback was there were so many loose ends to the story tha
...more
♥ Marlene♥
May 17, 2013 marked it as couldn-t-finish
Shelves: kindle, fiction
I tried. I really tried but in the end I had to quit torturing myself. The beginning was interesting and I thought this is going to be good but when we got to know the saved child who of course was perfect (burp) and had perfect parents and lived a perfect life.

(view spoiler)


Then
...more
Sada
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'd like to give this novel more stars because the premise was great and I really enjoyed a lot of it. As most of the other reviews have said, the ending is where it falls short - almost like the author got tired of writing or couldn't figure out how else to wrap it up. I appreciated the different characters' stories and the ways they connected, but in some ways there were places where I felt so moralized to that I was ready to skip ahead. I'd definitely read the author's next attempt, though, b ...more
Emma
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall, this is an enjoyable read which features multiple point of views. It is perhaps due to this style, that I first found this novel difficult to get to grips with. I struggled with keeping track of the different story lines of the characters, especially as they occur during different time periods. However, when I reached the half-way point (I don't ever give up on a book easily), I found that I better understood the novel's intentions and started to really enjoy it.

The historical and cultu
...more
Ivy
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: don-t-bother
This book has some very engaging portions but, in general, it is very sloppy. Menina is a young woman of 19 who lives a peaches and cream life. Adopted from South America by a young Southern Baptist couple, Menina lives a happy, uneventful life. She is academically bright and is heading off to college to major in Art History. In the meantime she has just snagged the son of one of the wealthiest, most influential families in town. Things are going just right until she realizes Mr. Right is actual ...more
Chantale Canadian Book Addict
Really couldn't get into it at all and had to force myself to read it. The writing was good but the story just wasn't something that got me interested in it.
Marie Z. Johansen
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of those thoroughly unexpected treats that should not be ignored! It was suggested, and provided to me, by the publicist who thought it might be a book that I would enjoy. I have to admit to being skeptical. How could someone that I don't know at all possibly know what I might like or not? What a shock! She nailed me and my interests perfectly, and I am so happy that she did!

This is a book that deserves a lot more attention that it has, perhaps, received. The author, Helen Bryan
...more
Diane
Jan 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaitlin
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 f ...more
Rachel Molder
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This is my second Helen Bryan novel and after finding the previous books ending a bit wanting, I still actually surprised to find the same issue with this book. So just a minor warning, this author writes superbly researched and well defined characters but the endings tend to be wanting. I still fully enjoyed the experience and I guess it helps that I got the book for free on Amazon Prime so maybe that adds to the forgiveness level.

A note to conservative Christians, this book is intensely Cathol
...more
Johanna
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The Sisterhood comes out as the story of the Las Golondrinas Convents introduced thru the life of Menina Walker, a child adopted in South America by a Southern Baptist couple. A child that carries a secret with her even if she doesn't know it. This book falls into what in Spanish we call Realismo Magico, magical realism.
For me it wasn't a particularly good read. As much as the beginning of the book drove me in and I wanted to learn more about the story, by the second half so many characters had
...more
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Kindle Unlimited ...: The Sisterhood 1 14 Oct 06, 2014 07:30AM  

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Helen Bryan is an American-born writer living in London for many years She qualified and practised as a barrister in England before giving up law to concentrate on a biography of fellow Virginian Martha Washington (MARTHA WASHINGTON FIRST LADY OF LIBERTY published by John Wiley in the USA in 2002 which won an Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America. WAR BRIDES (published by Penguin Books ...more
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