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Sunflower Sisters

(Lilac Girls #3)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  10,322 ratings  ·  1,471 reviews
Lilac Girls introduced readers to Caroline Ferriday, an American philanthropist who helped young girls released from Ravensbruck concentration camp. Now, in Sunflower Sisters, Kelly tells the story of her ancestor Georgeanna Woolsey, a Union nurse who joins the war effort during the Civil War, and how her calling leads her to cross paths with Jemma, a young enslaved girl w ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published March 30th 2021 by Ballantine Books
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Penny There are many likable characters, but the most unlikeable characters include Anne-May, Jubal, plus LeBaron and his gang. Although this book is set du…moreThere are many likable characters, but the most unlikeable characters include Anne-May, Jubal, plus LeBaron and his gang. Although this book is set during the Civil War, there is no gratuitous violence and sex. It's an excellent book.(less)
Martha Kelly Hi Linda, Not doesn't come out until March 30 2021 so they haven't recorded it yet!…moreHi Linda, Not doesn't come out until March 30 2021 so they haven't recorded it yet!(less)

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Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sunflower Sisters (Lilac Girls #3) by Martha Hall Kelly

Despite this book being listed as number three in the Lilac Girls series, the books do not have to be read in order and you do not need to read the other books to get the full enjoyment of each book. Sunflower Sisters takes place during the Civil War and covers the lives of the real life Woolsey women, from the viewpoint of Georgeanne Woolsey, as they try to bring relief to all who suffer, no matter their color and no matter their army affil
Angela M
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Martha Hall Kelly writes about the strong and determined women in the Ferriday-Woolsey family in the trilogy consisting of Lilac Girls, Lost Roses and now in this third book taking place during the civil war. It’s historical fiction, but is based on this true life family and the contributions they made over the generations. It’s impeccably researched and the author makes it clear in her “Notes on Sources” what is real, what is fictional and that the bulk of the story is based on the letters of t ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

I really enjoyed “The Lilac Girls” by this author so I was anxious to read this new novel. First off I want to state that a 3* from me means it’s a good book, just not a great one for me.

The story is told from three points of view. First we have plantation owner Anne-May Watson. She is as cruel as could possibly be depicted. She whips her slaves, feeds them poorly and trades them without a second thought. She is probably a compilation of many such owners
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really wish Sunshine Sisters wasn’t labeled as “Lilac Girls #3” in some places. Or “Woolsey-Ferriday (chronological) Book 1” in others. Or “Woolsey-Ferriday (published order) Book 3” in still more. Just stop the madness! You don’t need to read all the books in any order or at all to pick them up independently.

But since I have actually picked each of them up, here’s my experience with Martha Hall Kelly’s three books in her flower motif “series.”

Lilac Girls - Wow, I’m enjoying this more than I
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
With each book she writes, Kelly goes back further in time to a different war. She’s now reached the Civil War. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how she’d manage to bring all the characters together. We have the Wolsey sisters, Northern abolitionists trained as nurses, Jemma, a slave on a southern Maryland plantation and Anne-May Wilson, the owner of that plantation.
Once again, Kelly manages to effortlessly weave historical facts into her story. To me, the mark of a good historical fiction is th
Kerrin  P
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
**Now Available!**
Sunflower Sisters is Martha Hall Kelly’s third book about the real-life women of the Woolsey/Ferriday family who were philanthropists. According to the author, “when the members of the Woolsey family gave up toys, they took up politics.” Sunflower Sisters is about Caroline Ferriday’s great aunt, Georgeanna Woolsey, who worked as a nurse during the Civil War. It is my favorite of the three novels. The other two novels are Lilac Girls (Caroline Ferriday, World War II) and Lost Ro

4.5 Stars

Sunflower Girls continues the story of the Woolsey family that began with Lilac Girls, set during World War II and sharing the story of the time and lives across continents. Following Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly stepped back further in time with her second book, Lost Roses which is set in 1914 in NYC to and follows Caroline Ferriday, a real-life heroine who is introduced in Lilac Girls. In Sunflower Girls, we step back further in time to learn the story of Caroline Ferriday’s ancesto
Karren  Sandercock
The Woosley sisters Abby, Jane, Georgeanna, Mary, Eliza, Harriet and Caroline grew up in privileged and well to do household. Their mother Jane lead by example, she helped the less fortunate, an abolitionist and her daughters followed in her footsteps. Georgeanna trained to be a nurse, despite male disapproval and became one of the first Union army nurses serving in the Civil War. She tended wounded in hospitals, on the battle field and aboard hospital ships. She and her sister Eliza went to Get ...more
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 bright stars for the third and final book in the trilogy about Caroline Ferriday's family. I have read and enjoyed the 2 previous books in the series, Lilac Girls and Lost Roses This book, like the other 2 is based on real people and what they did in the US Civil War. These books can be read as stand alones. Lilac Girls takes place from WWII to the 50s. Lost Roses is set during WWI.
This book is told from the point of view of 3 characters:
Georgy, 1 of the Woolsey sisters
Jemma, a slave on a Ma
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
4 Civil War stars -- Now available!!

I have read author Martha Hall Kelly’s two previous books – “Lilac Girls” and “Lost Roses” so I jumped at the chance to read her newest book, set just before and through the Civil War. This one is based on the same Ferriday family that we meet in the other two books.

One set of characters features the unique Woolsey/Ferriday family, staunch abolitionists, many of them work as nurses. It was fascinating to read about women breaking into the nursing world as I di
Lisa Scottoline
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved SUNFLOWER SISTERS, by one of my favorite authors, Martha Hall Kelly, who has topped herself after even the great LILAC GIRLS and LOST ROSES. I was completely immersed in this sweeping Civil War-era story of three women - Georgy, an abolitionist nurse from the storied Woolsey family, Jemma, an enslaved person, and Ann-May, the mistress of a Maryland plantation. Each woman is so well-characterized, whether she’s noble or deeply flawed, and Martha introduces readers to the real-life Woolsey ...more
Within the setting of the American Civil War, we meet three women: abolitionist, Georgeanna (Georgy) Woolsey (ancestor to Caroline Ferriday of Lilac Girls fame), slave girl, Jemma, and plantation owner, Anne-May Watson, whose stories eventually weave together.

Positive points for me:
1. Details/Descriptions: medical techniques, hospital ships, fashions and social events were well-researched. Even facts about female convicts forced to be nurses at Bellevue, the high number of male nurses, the famil
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars Rounded Up

Civil War Letters.

Three cleverly woven together stories told from a trio of unique women:

Georgy, a determined young woman of privilege who prevails in becoming a nurse effecting a breach in a male only profession. She shuns her entitlement to work with injured and dying soldiers near the battlefield.

Jemma, a resourceful and spirited slave owned by Ann Mae. She and her family reside on the same plantation and want to stay together but have to endure much hardship in addition
Sharon Metcalf
4.5 stars
Sunflower Sisters was the fabulous third instalment of Martha Hall Kelly's successful Lilac Girls series.   This series elaborated on the lives of several generations of Woolsey women and was exhaustively researched.   Sunflower Sisters was set in the Civil War era and one of the main characters was Geogeanna Woolsey (Great Aunt of Caroline Ferriday from book 1 Lilac Girls, and Aunt of Eliza Ferriday from book 2 Lost Roses).

One of the many things I love about historical fiction is getti
Katie B
3.5 stars

Sunflower Sisters is the third book in the Lilac Girls series however it easily can be read as a standalone novel. This historical fiction book takes place during the Civil War. It's one of those historical fiction reads in which some of it is fact based while some parts were created from the author's imagination. I highly recommend checking the Author's Note when you are finished reading the book as it provided great context into the writing process.

Georgeanne aka "Georgy" is part of
Jessica | JustReadingJess
Sunflower Sisters is a beautifully written story about the civil war told from diverse perspectives. A wealthy woman decides to be a union nurse against her family’s wishes. She wants to make a difference and help those in need. A female plantation owner becomes in charge of the plantation after her husband joins the union army and her brother joins the confederate army. She follows her own wishes and gets herself in trouble. A slave at the plantation finds a way to escape by pretending to be so ...more
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing

In Martha Hall Kelly's gorgeous epic multilayered story called, "Sunflower Sisters," its scope takes on the Civil War era in which we are introduced not only to the philanthropic Woolsey family in New York City, but also a slave girl named Jemma and her impoverished family living on Peeler Plantation in Maryland. Anne-May is the mistress and owner of Peeler Plantation and is very cruel to her slaves who work the tobacco fields. Jemma is the house slave who is
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Martha Hall Kelly captured my heart with Lilac Girls and Lost Roses, so I was thrilled to have received this ARC. Sunflower Sisters takes place during the Civil War and is told from the viewpoints of a MD slave, Jemma, her owner, Anne-May, and a NY nurse, Georgy. The stories of how the slaves are treated are poignant and difficult to read, especially when they are being punished. Jemma’s plight, strength and tenacity captured my heart and I experienced a roller coaster of emotions with each of h ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the third book in Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls series about the Woolsey/Ferriday family. I picked this one up because I really enjoyed Lilac Girls #1 (even though I haven't read Lost Roses which was #2 in the series. Missing the second one didn't make any difference to this novel, which could stand alone, but of course it's always nice to have read the full series just for more background. It's a good story and the characters well well done and believable. The plot will keep you turni ...more
Alayne Emmett
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was nit an easy read, it was long which I don’t mind usually but, this one took a lot of concentration as there was so many characters and it went from one place to another very quickly. At times I found it not very interesting as there was a lot of chat and not much else. I know about the slavery in the south during the American Civil war but, at times it me uncomfortable reading. Not my thing. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book i ...more
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This last and (for me) most captivating piece of the Lilac Girls trilogy transports the reader all the way back to the Civil War. Three women give us a comprehensive view of the times: Georgy Woolsey (Caroline Ferraday's great aunt), Jemma (a slave girl in Maryland), and Ann-May Watson (the Peeler Plantation mistress and Jemma's legal owner). Martha Hall Kelly used Woolsey family letters to give us Georgy's point of view while Jemma and Ann-May a combination of women she read about in her resear ...more
Kathryn in FL
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Lovers


Ms. Kelly has done it again, this third installment is another 5 star for me, please note that there is no need to read this series in order. This standalone novel is so intricate and it magically transports the reader as three narrators educate us to the years preceding and during the civil war set in New England and Maryland and Washington D.C. Each woman is a strong character driven by convictions that lead t
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Did you enjoy “Lilac Girls” and “Lost Roses,” if you said yes then you are going to love the final book in the Lilac Girls series.
I have to say Kelly has a knack for writing historical in a such a way its like you are living it out.
I might just go as far as to say she is the queen of historical fiction.
Sunflower Sisters is not to be missed. You might as well read the whole series if you have not yet.
4 stars and highly recommended.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martha Hall Kelly has masterfully wrapped up the saga of the Ferriday and Woolsey women in her astonishing third novel, Sunflower Sisters. As in her previous novels, the characters in Sunflower Sisters were strong, female and well developed boasting lots of independence and minds of their own. The plot centered around the cruelties and inhumane treatment the slaves endured on the affluent plantations and the horrors, death and destruction on the battlefields during the Civil War. Kelly also expl ...more
Pam Jenoff
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The author of bestselling Lilac Girls returns with this incredible Civil War era tale of a Union nurse, an enslaved girl and a Southern plantation owner's wife turned spy. I will be in conversation with Martha on Thursday, April 1, so stay tuned for details. Out this week! ...more
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
My family and I moved to a new place recently and with so much there has been to do, both before and after the move, my reading life has unfortunately suffered these past few weeks. Hopefully, as we get settled in over the next week or so, I am able to get back into my reading groove and catch up on the books that I had planned to read last month but didn’t get a chance to.

With that said, during this chaotic time, I did manage to finish one book, though it took way longer than it usually would
Karen R
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
A beautifully depicted historically-based novel merging equally absorbing storylines. A good standalone book and great addition to the Lilac Girls series. The author’s vivid sense of period and place, well-written dialogue and colorful characters captivated me. I easily visualized this book as a film. *I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are my own.
Literary Redhead
The American Civil War is the harrowing setting for the author’s last book in her stellar trilogy, based on the true story of the Ferriday/Woolsey family. The breakout bestseller LILAC GIRLS started the saga; SUNFLOWER SISTERS ends it with a heartbreaking tale about the cruelty of slavery and the brave efforts to end it.

Kelly presents electrifying POVs from multiple women who make SUNSHINE SISTERS come alive. Georgey Woolsey is a Union nurse along with her sister Eliza; vulnerable young Jemma i
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sunflower Sisters is the third and final book in the Lilac Girls series from author Martha Hall Kelly. The first book, Lilac Girls, introduced us to real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday, an American woman who came to the aid of young girls released from Ravensbruck concentration camp. The second book, Lost Roses, was about Caroline's mother Eliza set during the period before WWI. In Sunflower Sisters, we meet Caroline’s ancestor Georgeanna "Georgy" Woolsey who aids the Union Army during the Civil ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The writing is exquisite. Even in the horror of war this book is beautiful! Martha Hall Kelly writes a compelling story full of strong woman and their struggles. Georgy, and all her beautiful sisters are strong and live to do the right thing in helping soldiers and those in bondage of slavery. Jemma is courageous and strong to break free and only desires to bring her sister and mama to freedom. And in her own conniving way, Anne May is strong though she chooses wrong and is caught up in cultural ...more
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Martha grew up in Massachusetts and now splits her time between Connecticut and New York City. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years and raised three splendid children, while researching and writing Lilac Girls, her first novel. She has loved writing the other two books about Caroline's family, Lost Roses, which features Caroline's mother during WWI and Sunflower Sisters, a Civil ...more

Other books in the series

Lilac Girls (3 books)
  • Lilac Girls
  • Lost Roses (Lilac Girls, #2)

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