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New York City, 1910
Driven by a shameful past and a perilous future, Maureen O’Reilly and her sister flee Ireland in search of safety, liberty, and opportunity. But after surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor has died, and his family—refusing to own his debt—casts her out. Impoverished and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to find employment in a prominent Manhattan department store, only to ...
New York City, 1910
Driven by a shameful past and a perilous future, Maureen O’Reilly and her sister flee Ireland in search of safety, liberty, and opportunity. But after surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor has died, and his family—refusing to own his debt—casts her out. Impoverished and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to find employment in a prominent Manhattan department store, only to discover the elegant facade hides a dangerous secret.
Despite her family’s disapproval, Olivia Wakefield vows to honor her father’s promise but can’t find Maureen, the woman her brother-in-law so rudely turned away. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, who Olivia dares hope will become more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he’s hiding.
As women begin disappearing from the department store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters. But will they be too late? And in the midst of a world gone mad, can either woman open her heart to divine leading or the love it might bring? Tyndale House Publishers
Posted September 15, 2012
this book did not disappoint. I was enthralled by this beautifully written, heart wrenching story. I loved Gohlke's characters and their development as the story unfolds, her writing style and lovely description, the plot....well, just about everything. And most importantly, this book was eye-opening. Not just to the aspects of God that Gohlke beautifully intertwined into this story without being preachy, but also to an area of injustice I knew little about before. I am in awe of Gohlke as a historical writer and highly encourage all to read this book!
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Posted September 12, 2012
1910 Ireland. As Maureen and Katie Rose O'Reilley climb the muddy path up the hillside to cemetery where her mother is to buried the women attending the burial shun Maureen. Even though Maureen had been raped and brutally used by her landlord Lord Orthbridge the women still treated her like a harlot. With her mother's passing she did not know how she was to protect her young sister from her landlord's desires and abuse. She heard rumored that his young son is already after Katie Rose's skirt tales. After the funeral Maureen's Aunt Verna unfurls a plan to get Maureen and Katie Rose out of Ireland, but they must move quickly with the plan. Her aunt tells of a close friend of Maureen's long deceased father that had sent money to have her father and his family to come to America and become his business partner. Colonel Wakefield saw O'Reilly as a brother and his children as his own. Maureen's aunt still has the money. She gives the money along with a letter from Wakefield to Maureen for the girls to make the trip to America so they will be safe with Colonel Wakefield. Joshua Keeton, a young man in her village, is about Maureen's age and has already made plans to go to America. Her aunt has arranged for the girls to travel to America with him. As soon as they get to the shipyard Maureen refuses any more of his assistance and takes her sister in hand to travel the voyage to America alone. She trusts no one! Especially men! Katie Rose ends up catching Chicken Pox is held at the infirmary at Ellis Island until to gets well and Maureen must find residents and employment before they will approve her release. She fears they will be returned to Ireland. When she arrives at Colonel Wakefield's she is rudely treated by a man that claims the Colonel is deceased and that she has no claim to the family and he burns her letter in the fireplace and boots the screaming Maureen out the door like a piece of trash. But as this was happening Olivia daughter of Colonel Wakefield was disgusted by the way her brother-in-law Drake had treated the young women in Olivia's home. He had no right no right at all. She must find this woman so she can find out what kind of connection she has with her father. She will not stop until she finds the poor women. Her guest, Curtis Morrow witnessed this event and promised to do what he could to help find the O'Reilley woman. The author wrote a wonderful story of the plight of immigrant women in New York that are just arriving at Ellis Island. Any lone woman was at the mercy of evil men as soon as they stepped foot on American soil. The character of Olivia Wakefield was a woman that was determined to fight for the protection and the rights of these women and against white slavery. I knew things back then were difficult for women but I really had no idea it was that bad. I want to thank the author for opening my eyes. It has given me so much love and respect for the women that fought the long hard battle for women's rights and eventually won. I devoured the information she provided in the question and answers she so graciously shared with us. Disclosure: Tnydale House gave me a copy to review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
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Posted August 31, 2012
After their mother‘s death, Maureen O’Reilly and her sister Katie Rose flee Ireland under cover of darkness. Childhood friend Joshua Keeton aids their escape, and they land on Ellis Island with grand hopes of a better life in America. Their arrival is less than joyous, however, as thirteen-year-old Katie Rose is ill. To make matters worse, Maureen learns that their stateside benefactor has passed away. Fearful of deportation, a desperate Maureen lands a job at a department store under false pretenses.
Olivia Wakefield, the daughter of the O’Reilly’s late benefactor, struggles in the wake of her father’s death. She resists the pressure to marry well and maintain a façade of happiness among the upper echelon of 1910 society. Keeping up appearances pales in comparison to what she believes God has called her to do. Upon discovering her father’s connection to the O’Reilly family, Olivia sets out to help Maureen and Katie Rose.
Maureen and Olivia inadvertently discover that the department store where Maureen works is a front for illegal activity. Concerned for Katie Rose’s safety, and unsure of Olivia’s motives, Maureen turns to Joshua for help. Olivia, frustrated with Maureen’s distrust, seeks help from Curtis Morrow, her brother in law’s new business partner. An elaborate plan unfolds, and loyalties are tested beyond what Maureen and Olivia ever imagined.
Will Maureen and Olivia successfully battle the illegal underground network that has spread into New York’s polite society? Can either trust the men set in their path, and perhaps find a future with them? I won’t say any more, lest I spoil this wonderful story of adventure and redemption.
Band of Sisters addresses social injustice that was not only common during the early 20th century, but also one that plagues us today. Cathy discreetly brings light and life to the issue through this suspenseful and compelling tale. Her stirring and heartwarming story had me from beginning to end – I give Band of Sisters, her fourth novel, two thumbs up.
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Posted September 4, 2014
I Also Recommend:
5+ stars Wow! This is one of those books that will keep you up at night wondering what's going to happen next, with characters that are so real you want to pray for them. Skillfully written, it focuses on an issue that's as pertinent today, unfortunately, as it was a hundred years ago. Recommend!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2013
When I began this book, I honestly had no idea how prevalent the human sex trafficking business was and how long it had been going on. I was horrified to realize that such a thing as the white slavery trade was going on in this country in the late 1800's. I am still reeling from the shock of it all.
The Christian message of this book was fantastically woven into the fabric of the story in a remarkable way. I so appreciate the way that Cathy Gohlke made God and Christianity a real thing rather than just something nice on the side. The characters who were truly committed to the Lord, lived it!
The characters were so well-developed, and I connected with them on a real way. I always find it kind of funny when I actually feel like praying for the characters to make it through this situation or that situation when they are not real. But the author made the characters so alive to me that I wanted to do just that.
I appreciate the way the author wrote fairly realistic fiction. Usually, Christian books avoid great tragedies and even mention the dreaded word "sex" or "prostitution." This book handled the issue in a real way, and it made the story all that more real to me.
I was surprised to see the inclusion of the book "In His Steps." It had been a while since I had read that book, but it certainly made for an interesting turn of events. To see the characters living the philosophy "What Would Jesus Do" really did make me stop and think about the cost of following Christ--especially for those in society. This is a book I can recommend to anyone who wants to learn about a portion of history that is not normally discussed in this country.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100 percent mine, and I was not financially compensated.
Posted August 31, 2013
Troubled Women and Historical Scenes. Excellent. This story is historical fiction at its best. I felt that it took a long time for the story line to explain the title, but it fell into place. I was disturbed by the actions of the main character when she made questionable choices, but I feel that this was intentional, so we would be warmed by the resolution of the events. I sympathized with Maureen and her good intentions, and Olivia as well. The descriptions were wonderful. I could picture the city, and the factory, and the night-lit streets. I have a somewhat limited knowledge of 1910 New York City, but it felt accurate and believable to me. The plot had some gritty aspects and also a tender treatment of faith and grace. I am very grateful for a clean story with likeable characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2013
This is the second book I’ve read recently that deals with escaping to Ellis Island. What I love about both stories is that arriving there didn’t provide the happiness they expected. What would a novel be without conflict, right?
From the opening, I was drawn in. The setting (Ireland) was palpable, the pacing was steady and the characters were well developed.
Women should be sympathetic to other women and nurture, advise, and build them. That wasn’t the case with Maureen O’Reilly. She was judged unfairly, and treated poorly. Maureen, and her sister Katy, escaped Ireland one night, in hopes of a better life in America. That is when the biggest challenges of all begins…
This book took me on a journey of emotions, and kept me enthralled throughout.
Posted August 19, 2013
This book was a fascinating read. While I remained fairly sure that everything was going to work out okay, it was a thrilling read to find out exactly how it all did work out. I will admit to reading ahead a bit just to make sure that Maureen really did escape being captured. I thought Cathy had a really good way of writing and I would definitely be interested in reading more of her books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013
Band of Sisters is one of the BEST books I’ve read this year. I could not put the book down! Expect to be mesmerized by the characters and enveloped into the storyline right from the beginning. The underlying themes about never-ending love conquering even the greatest of fears, and family branching beyond blood connections runs deep. It’s a story that shows how some of the greatest sacrifices are ones that are unseen by the ones receiving the biggest benefit from them. A tale of the bonds of sisterhood between women regardless of age, social rank, ethnicity or color, and of courage to do the right thing no matter what the cost. A love story that encompasses the love of Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice. A fantastic read that will rock your world.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2013
I loved this book! It was inspiring, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Christian or historical fiction.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2013
Maureen and her sister come to America from Ireland after their mother passes away. They escape their limited choices in Ireland to pursue a new life in America to find that life is not so easy in America either, and there is danger and challenges on every front. Maureen is determined to protect her sister and acquires a job at a department store, but all is not as it seems.
This is an excellent book! I couldn't put it down. Gohlke does an excellent job with plot structure, character development, and providing descriptive details. It is frustrating when you know exactly how a book will end up or can figure out where the author is going, but Gohlke keeps readers guessing what is coming next. The characters are believable, realistic, and true to who they are. It is suspenseful and full of surprises. I also really enjoyed the interpersonal relationships of the characters and the emotions behind them. Love, jealousy, service, sacrifice, and generosity are present throughout the book.
Another aspect I really enjoyed about this book is the historical topic of immigrants coming through Ellis Island and what an uncertain, nerve-racking time it was for them. Even after paying their fare, arranging for someone to sponsor them and having employment arranged, and surviving the voyage across the ocean, there was no guarantee they would be permitted to enter the country. It really makes you think about the courage it took for immigrants in the early 1900's to start a new life in America.
I can't comment on anything that I didn't like about the book. It was the first book I had ever read by this author and I can't wait to read another one. I highly recommend Band of Sisters!
Posted July 8, 2013
I couldn't put this book down! It opened my eyes to the extreme difficulties female immigrants faced from the moment they arrived at Ellis Island. I cannot imagine the terror of being separated from my family and having no one to turn to that I could trust. Through a series of events, Maureen arrives in New York City totally alone and penniless. Gradually she does discover people she can trust, and those she cannot. Gohlke really brought to life her characters and I did not want the book to end as I wanted to keep reading about them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 5, 2013
I love fact base historical fiction. I plan to read other books by Cathy Gohlke. It had suspense and just the right amount of romance. It also gave you hope in the good to come with faith.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2013
I didnt think this book was great, but I also didnt think it was bad. The beginning and the end were decent. It was the middle I got bored with.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2013
Band of Sisters was a bit predictable. I think it is great that the author tackled writing about trafficking, a cause we should all be more aware of. The book just wasn’t that well-written, and it had a slow pace. I was a bit disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2013
Summary: When two sisters flee Ireland after their mother's death, they find
themselves struggling to survive in turn of the century New York City.
One sister finds a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the other in a
department store which is a front for sex-trafficking. As the danger increases
and motives become confused, the two sisters grow farther apart.
The story is well written and pulled me in. Gohlke must have sisters,
because she perfectly captures the love, hurt, and forgiveness intrinsic to that
relationship. Some of the plot is predictable, but some of it caught me
completely off guard, which was a nice change for christian fiction. There is a
lot of pain in this story, and many people are hurt by those around them. But
the story also does a good job showing how perfect love casts out fear, how
love covers a multitude of sins, and how love bears no record of wrongs.
I'd give it five stars, but the writing style wasn't quite up to that level. Otherwise,
I'd recommend it.
Posted June 8, 2013
When their mother dies, Maureen and her sister Katie Rose escape a dangerous future in Ireland and come to New York, where an old family friend awaits. But the friend has died and the girls are turned away by the friend's family. Maureen finds work at a department store that hides a secret, and she must figure out what to do.
I found this book very good and an interesting read. Like the author's previous book it is full of detail and adventure.
Posted June 7, 2013
Band of Sisters was not what I expected - and it was much more than I expected. Set in the early 1900s in New York City, this book follows the story of Irish immigrants, Maureen and Katie Rose. They come through Ellis Island determined to make life better on their own. Initially, the O'Reilly sisters do come with the hope of a benefactor, due to an old letter of their Da's. When they find that their benefactor is not what they expected, Maureen is determined to stand on her own and start a new life. However, she quickly and sadly learns that life in America is not all that she expected. What I found most intriguing about this book was the incorporation of white slavery - prostitution. This fiction book challenges you to think about a modern issue just by reading this book. That is what a good book does, and Cathy does it. Band of Sisters was riveting and I read it all over the course of two days, because I had to find out what happened. I highly recommend this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2013
In "Band of Sisters", Maureen and Katie O'Reilly leave their troubles in Ireland for America, hoping to claim a Civil War promise that the wealthy Colonel Wakefield made to their deceased father - that he would care for them as a benefactor. Their journey simply to make it to America isn't an easy one, so it is devastating, to say the least, to arrive only to find out that Colonel Wakefield is dead and his family have no knowledge or intention to follow through on his word.
Older sister Maureen takes some less than honest steps to secure employment and shelter for she and her sister, and her pride coupled with sincere fear prevents her from receiving help from kind strangers as well as a long time friend from Ireland. Katie begins to be rebellious (I had a hard time wanting to read about her activities because she frustrated me; I found her quite unlikeable) and this complicates Maureen's efforts to keep her safe. Maureen soon discovers that the well respected store she works for is a front for human trafficking and no one is safe. Colonel Wakefield's daughter Olivia is a strong and in my opinion, a very likeable character and she plays a major role in this story as well.
This book is a wonderful commentary - not only on the culture and temperature of the times it is set in (New York in the early 1900's I believe) but has lasting current impact today. There are still women in slavery in present day America and around the world, and I believe this book only contributes to positive awareness. This is not my first book of Cathy Gohlke's and it will not be my last. I can easily give this book a strong positive review (perhaps not complete raves in every aspect but definitely positive!)
Posted June 4, 2013
I discovered my new favorite author last month and her newest book didn't disappoint. The reader is swept away from the first page. Cathy weaves a gripping story with very real characters. You'll smile and you'll definitely cry as you read their touching story.
The theme of Band of Sisters is living out what Jesus would have us do in every aspect of our lives. The author refers often to a classic 1890's book called In His Steps which is now next on my to-read list. Cathy spins a thought-provoking story, and woven through it all is Jesus, the author of our lives who weaves everything perfectly together to create a masterpiece. That being said, I liked the author's Titanic book "Promise Me This" even better.