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Publisher's Summary

"With heart and humor, Willig explores the complexities of female friendships - feuds, forgiveness, and all. A touching portrait of triumph and found family in the midst of war. Bravo!” (Stephanie Dray, New York Times best-selling author of America's First Daughter and The Women of Chateau Lafayette)

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story - a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network - from New York Times best-selling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and 17 other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions - all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned.

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid - and hope - to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?

©2021 Lauren Willig (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Band of Sisters

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • 07-13-21

Interesting history

I really wanted to like this book. The women who actually did this work were amazing and I’m glad to know of them. But, the story line doesn’t really have a plot, and the dialogue was mundane and adolescent.
I persevered through 15 hours of it, hoping for SOMETHING more. After reading such inspiring books like “Code Name Helene”, and the “The Rose Code”, I found “Band of Sisters” title nondescript for the content of the book. Julia Whelan, who is an excellent narrator, had a difficult time making the characters not sound consistently trite. Not a fan of this book.

43 people found this helpful

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Loved the history. Distracted by adverbs!

I almost returned this book that ultimately tells a good story because I was so annoyed by all the adverbs in dialogue tags. (Where was the editor?) I decided to laugh about them and enjoy Julia Whelen's masterful performance, and let myself be pulled into the history. I'm glad I did.

22 people found this helpful

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Terrific , well written book

I highly enjoyed listening to the audible book as I followed along with my book copy. The narrator did a superb performance. I adored the women characters, especially Kate and Emme. DeWitt was an amusing character. It was hilarious to hear someone call him "Mr. Biscuit". This book is filled with action. The addition of the women's letters at the beginning of the chapters was such a clever idea. It was amazing to me that young women from Smith College were brave enough to accept the challenges they did. I will never see goats and roosters again without thinking of this book. It is a book I will listen to again and perhaps follow along in the book. What a smart and clever author Lauren Willig is. I have read the books she wrote with Beatriz Williams and Karen White. What a writing team these authors are.

16 people found this helpful

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Superb read about a relatively unknown group of women

I love historical fiction when this book was recommended by another reader on my Facebook group I had to take the plunge. It is a wonderful read about some thing I knew nothing about. I had no expectations.
The narrator I’m familiar with on several other books I’ve enjoyed. She does a great job with this book as well.
If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend this book.

16 people found this helpful

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Did not keep my attention.

It was like a long soap opera. I did learn some things about France in World War Ii.

12 people found this helpful

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A Joy!

What a great story and Julia Whelan’s narration was better than ever (is that even possible for Julia?).

I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Willig’s take on the story of the Smith College ladies in WW I. I also learned a lot.

Humbly, I offer major compliments to Ms. Willig for bringing these honorable ladies to light. Very well done and though a tear jerker at times, this was a deeply enjoyable listen. I didn’t want it to end. Bravo, ladies!

8 people found this helpful

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I never knew....

Great story! I did not know about the Smith College and their graduates whom volunteered to help with the war efforts. I learned a lot and the book kept me wanting more. Narration was great!

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent Historical Novel!

I really loved this novel by one of my favorite authors and am very grateful for Julia Whelan’s narration, always superb.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful , page turning, desperate but happy!!!

You won’t be disappointed!! And the fact that this group of women actually existed , seals the deal! Wonderful writing and fabulous narration! Loved it all!

4 people found this helpful

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Inspired & Inspiring

Reading well researched historical fiction, especially when the characters and their relationships ring true, is one of life’s great joys. Willig’s Band of Sisters gives a distinctly feminine vantage for viewing WWI, from its impact on the French villagers whose lives are upended to the workarounds the Smith College women employ to seemingly appease while besting patriarchy.

4 people found this helpful