The perfect end to the Lilac Girls trilogy, Kelly kept me interested, engaged and totally enamored with her final installment of the series. Reading about brave, strong bold women fighting oppression and expectations was just what I needed at the moment I finally picked Sunflower Sisters up. A poignant, mesmerizing novel, I would highly recommend!
I appreciated reading a historical novel that wasn't set in WWII, a good change for me. This novel was set during the Civil War timeframe. I loved that this story was told from the POV of three different women. I enjoyed the narrator of the audiobook. Overall I would recommend this book to any historical fiction fans.
I picked this book out based on the cover and title alone. Sunflowers are my favorite. What I ended up finding was a new author to enjoy. Martha Hall Kelly is a great writer - rich in history and detail. I'm looking forward to other books of hers!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Interesting and though provoking read.. Not my absolute favorite of her books, but I think that's because the Civil War setting had less appeal to me..
I want to thank Netgalley and the author for gifting me the ebook. I was able to listen to the audio version through my local library.
I have seen so many people praising this book. And I finally got around to reading it and just wow. Even though it is almost 20 hours long (audio version) I absolutely could not put it down. The author did a fantastic job in her research and writings. I love reading about women and what they did for the war effort. I honestly cannot praise this novel enough! I cannot wait to read more from this very talented writer.
Also I highly recommend the audio version. It is narrated by three different women but they did an absolute wonderful job.
While this ends the series of 3 linking books, this reads as a stand alone book. I read the Lilac Girls some time ago (had to reread my own review to see what the very slender link was). The common thread is generations of women in this particular family. What makes this book so fascinating to me is the treasure trove of letters that make for the facts of this book. Along with the fiction to beef up the interest level, I found this very enjoyable. I found the latter half better than the first but maybe because the excitement level amped up. Thanks to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review
I loved Lilac Girls and Lost Roses! When I saw this next book, I was so excited!!! Martha Hall Kelly is an amazing author! I can read her all day long, and her stories bring you right there with the characters. I really enjoyed this one. I did feel it was a little long, but I still enjoyed it!
*Thank you @randomhouse for the copy in exchange for an honest review.*
Sunflower Sisters is a great book! It was a little hard for me to get into and I had to push through the beginning. But once I really got to know all the characters, it picked up and I really enjoyed it. It is a story about strong, determined women during the Civil war and although it is a little long and has some depressing parts, the story was beautiful!
Martha Hall Kelly is absolutely amazing at writing historical fiction. Sunflower Sisters was a great read and it was fun to learn about an ancestor of the Ferriday family.
I really enjoyed Lilac girls and was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, I could not finish this one. Made it 40% in before stopping.
We get 3 perspectives in this book.
Georgeanne Woolsey is determined to aid in the war effort as a nurse. Though considered a nuisance, she is determined to help those that are injured and in need of her care.
Anna-May Watson is a miserable, cruel woman who treats her slaves horribly. She has them beaten and sold at a whim and is all selfishness.
Jemma is one of Anna-May's slaves. While she tries her best to appease Mrs. Watson, she also has an independent spirit and wants nothing more than to escape North to freedom.
I guess this just felt all heaviness and not a lot of redemption for me. Maybe that came in the second half of the book, but I couldn't slog through to that point. Maybe if it was a little shorter I could have stuck with it, but it was a DNF for me.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
“Knowledge has no enemy but the ignorant.”
I love Martha Hall Kelly books and this book is no exception. While this is listed third in the series all of the books in this trilogy can be read as stand-alone's... the only thing connecting them is a family history steadily going back in time which contains (at least) one character POV in these books (which is amazing and I love that it's based on real people and history!)
Sunflower Sisters puts us back to the Civil War...based mostly in the swing state of Maryland, the loosened laws allows for messiness to blossom.
Our POVs include:
- Georgeanna Woolsey, a Union nurse who joins the war effort during the Civil War (also our string of connection to the earlier books). She is a strong headed woman in a sea of men. She is doing what she can to help the war effort along with her family and also fighting her feelings for a certain doctor...
- Jemma, a young intelligent enslaved girl who is just trying to keep her family together in these dark times, looking for an escape from Peeler plantation and
- Ann-May Wilson, a selfish, proud, southern plantation mistress whose husband enlists for the north while her brother enlists for the south. She is frivolous with her money, her business and her relationships. She has a cute cat but she is very unlikable all around.
It has been a long while since I have read a Civil War book and having it take place (mostly) in Maryland (ok a lot in New York too but still...) was an extra special treat. Hall really explored the history of the time and the area. Maryland was unique since it was a border state and laws were slower to be implemented which made for MANY loopholes before/during/after the war.
Hall always writes strong women who really make a mark in their community and history. As mentioned, Hall has researched real people for this book and tried to give them an appropriate voice based on their history.
I put this book off for a long time because I knew it would hurt me (it did) and I am sad to leave behind this trilogy. Overall, this is a fantastic book. There are so many twists and turns and frankly, it felt like a very unique story. I love how the characters cross paths and impact each other, and I love the family tree string to the earlier books. Martha Hall Kelly is truly a fantastic writer and made this chunky book fly by. She is a queen of historical fiction.
Thank you for the gifted copy.
I absolutely loved this historical fiction account of the lives of three very different women during the Civil War. Most popular historical fiction books lately have been set during WWII so it's nice to see a different time in US History. I believe Martha Hall Kelly also does a wonderful job creating characters that you automatically love, or love to hate, that are realistic for the time period. Throughout the book I was captivated by not only the storyline of the three women but also the descriptions of the battles and events of the war. This is another of Kelly's that I will absolutely recommend to others.
I grabbed this book as a "Read Now" on NetGalley because I knew that Hall Kelly's writing garnered great reviews via LILAC GIRLS, and I wanted a historical fiction novel set in a non-WWII era. While the pacing felt slow for the first half of SUNFLOWER SISTERS, once the characters's paths started to cross, I couldn't put it down. I went back and forth between the eBook and audiobook, which I highly recommend, as there are different voice actresses for each POV. Hall Kelly shares her experiences from conducting her research in the Author's Note, and even though I enjoyed the novel at its face value, the fact that Georgey was a real person in history (with some things fictionalized for the sake of the story) elevated it to the next level.
Many thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced read copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I enjoyed this book. I haven’t read a lot of books set during the civil war so it was a refreshing change of pace for me. I especially enjoyed how close to actual events and people the author stuck to. I also enjoyed, while steeped in history, it had a strong storyline that made the book enjoyable.
I do recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and stories that take place during the civil war era.
This is the third of the Lilac Girls series but the first for me to read. I love historical fiction and this did not disappoint! Georgeanna joins the war effort as a nurse during the Civil War. She ends up meeting an enslaved young girl and a plantation mistress. Their lives intertwine in this historical novel. There are so many historical facts included making it seem very real. I will definitely be reading the first two.
DNF REVIEW • When I spotted Sunflower Sisters as Read Now on NetGalley, I couldn't resist the siren call that button! I hadn't read anything by Kelly before (at the time) and was looking forward to a story set during the Civil War. That's a time period in historical fiction that always interests me! By the time I picked this one up, however, I'd ended up reading Lost Roses (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3730042007), book #2 in this trilogy inspired by a real-life family. Although the books stand alone, the second book made me realize that Kelly's writing and story structure probably isn't the best fit for me. In Lost Roses, I was only invested in one of the three POVs. As soon as I started Sunflower Sisters, I realized the same thing was happening. I found myself wishing I could skip certain chapters completely and wasn't invested enough in the overall story. Kelly's attention to detail and research came through, but too much felt like filler for me to continue on.
This is a great historical fiction selection. The author has a fantastic way with character development and keeping the reader interested in the characters. This book would also be a good pick for a book club.
As a follower of historical fiction, this book follows three women during this time, each on a different path. While this is a stand alone book, it is the first to follow the Woolsey-Ferriday family. Lost Roses and Lilac Girls being the other books in the trilogy. We are introduced to Georgeanna Woolsey who is a Union nurse. Ann-May Wilson, a plantation wife and Jemma a young slave. The story brings together these three woman from such diverse backgrounds.
With the Civil War as the background, put yourself in these women's places as they are a product of the mold which society placed on them and see what you would have done in their circumstances to survive. Kelly has created a well researched book with real people to tell this riveting story. I highly recommend this book. to historical fiction lovers and those that want to learn about strong women.
Despite this being the third book in the Lilac Girls series, I did not read the first two books, but this series is one where the books do not have to be read in the order they were published in order for one to fully enjoy the book which is a great thing. Sunflower Sisters is told from the point of view of three women during the Civil War, each of them equally compelling characters. My only complaint with this one was the length of the book. At over 500 pages, this one required quite the time investment, but I definitely think that this one would be enjoyed by any person who considers themself a fan of historical fiction.
Devoured this in 2 days! Probably because I was in the mood for a good book binge, but I really found it engaging!
The author does a great job of blending three unique characters and stories together. I enjoyed Georgey’s storyline the most as I knew nothing about the Sanitation Commission before reading this but Jemma’s journey was heartbreaking and inspiring too! Anne-May’s character was the weakest I thought but she also represents a sector of society at that time which would have had a very hard time growing and changing so the author portrayed that well, I think.
Also loved the afterward when the author explains her research and the connection to Caroline Ferriday and her family and the whole trilogy of novels!