Cover Image: Sisters of the Great War

Sisters of the Great War

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Member Reviews

A very descriptive story of the hardships, struggles, heartbreak, and destruction of war. The two main characters couldn’t be any different from each other but still have the same morals. I liked that they were both individual and unique. One wants to be a surgeon and the other a mechanic. One with a secret, that during the time period, was frowned upon. 

Historical fiction but with two main ladies that are more modern.
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When I saw Sisters of the Great War, a WWI book in a sea of WWII books, I was immediately interested. Ruth and Elise, two American sisters decide to volunteer to serve in the war as a nurse and ambulance driver. 

The girls are quickly thrown into the thick of things and immediately question whether they made the right decision. The descriptions of the battlefield hospitals, their living conditions, and the constant threat of being bombed were done quite well. The piling up of severed limbs and doctors making decisions on who to save and who to let go were extremely difficult to read. Much of the book contains rather grisly descriptions (which I guess is to be expected) but is not my cup of tea. I wanted to know more about the historical aspects of the time we were in and to see more relationship development within the medical unit. 

As a nurse, Ruth is able to assist with surgeries and becomes adept at performing them on her own. I had a hard time believing she would be allowed to do this and that she was capable of it. I felt like we were told “Ruth is a capable surgeon now” without seeing how she got there. I needed to see her mind at work while she learned how to perform surgeries. 

I do not generally enjoy romance in books unless they are well-developed and subtle. In this case, the two love stories were front and center to the story but were not developed very well. I had zero interest in either one. 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoy historical fiction. Any opportunity to explore an historical topic while becoming engrossed in the characters in a story is a treat. This book was interesting in its setting of WWI rather than WWII. It follows sisters who each sign up to serve in different capacities, doing very different tasks than their elite existence at home would have ever predicted for them. I enjoyed this book for the most part and recommend it to those looking for historical fiction based on women’s experiences and set in WWI.

#SistersoftheGreatWar #NetGalley #Harlequin
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This was my first book by this author, It was pretty enjoyable. I would give this book a 3.5 star rating! It was a pretty Quick and easy read!
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I thought this was an in depth and excellent book.  I could have done without the open door romance on both sides.  That knocked the book down a star for me.
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When World War I breaks out in Europe, sisters, Ruth and Elise write to the British Embassy to find a position in the medical field to help out.  They leave their home in Baltimore and relocate to Ypres, Belgium where Ruth is assigned as a nurse and Elsie becomes an ambulance driver. The sisters often work together to take care of the wounded soldiers and often save each other.  

This book is full of emotion.  It is very graphic when describing the wounds of the soldiers and stresses the point of women being suppressed during this time.  It also has a sensual bathtub scene between two women.  I really couldn't get into this book and skipped through most of it to get to the ending. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin- Trade Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!
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Thank you to NetGalley, Mira, & Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review this book before it's publication date! This in no way affected my review, opinions are my own.

DNF @ 20%

Could be that I was a bit burned out on WWI historical fiction, but I found this one really hard to get into. The writing was fine, but nothing hooked me and made it increasingly hard to find time to pick this one up.
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It's the summer of 1914 and sisters, Elise and Ruth are living under the expectations of their roles put upon them by their father. Elise loves working on her father's cars and is realizing that she likes women, while Ruth wants to be a doctor, but her father has vetoed that and she is training to be nurse. When Europe enters a brutal war, this is the opportunity they are looking for. They volunteer for the war effort, Ruth as a nurse, Elise as an ambulance driver. The sisters are stationed at a field hospital in Ypres, Belgium where they get a crash course in battlefield medicine. Ruth takes advantage of the situation where doctors are in short supply and begins training under the doctor she is stationed with, providing medical services that nurses do not normally do. Elise, an accomplished mechanic, finds purpose and an unexpected kinship within the all-female Ambulance Corps. As the war rages, both sisters suffer ups and downs, both find people to love and enjoy and relish an independence rarely granted to women. This book was inspired by real women that makes it even more enlightening.

I have not read a lot about WWI, and definitely nothing set at the front. This is not an easy story to read, especially when reading about medical treatment in 1914 and during the rest of the war. The lack of current medical knowledge and antibiotics shows us how lucky we are with the medical advances of today. Both sisters are strong and resilient. They adjust to the horror of war, and seize the opportunities to realize their dreams. They make friends and both find someone they want to spend their lives with, but that is not the major storyline. It is a story of women and the important roles they played during WWI. Despite the restrictions placed on women at the time, they persevered and followed their dreams. The bonds of friendship they forged at the hospitals cannot be broken by war. I enjoyed seeing what happened to Elise, Ruth, John and Hera. The story is told from both Ruth's and Elise's POV, but Ruth's parts take up more of the story and are more detailed, however I enjoyed both. This story has many themes including the horrors of WWI, feminist issues, persevering, friendship, love and an LGBT relationship all through the eyes of two American sisters. I definitely recommend this story.
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Set in World War 2, two sisters enlist in the Armed services: Ruth as a nurse in the Medical Corp and her sister Elsie who drives for the Ambulance Corp and uses her farm earned mechanical skills helping to maintain the ambulances.  As the sisters work to navigate the war torn areas desecrated by bombings and military actions, one mending bodies and the other mending trucks, they discover their inner strength and their dedication propels them to be more dedicated to working to accomplish their own ambitions for the future: both women accomplishing things that is primarily a male oriented profession
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I was unable to read Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman.  I was never able to get it to download correctly to my kindle. Sorry.
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RATING: 4 STARS
2021; Mira/HARLEQUIN 

Sisters of the Great War was way better than I thought it would be. It is not like many of the WWI/II novels out there. While there is romance in the book, it is not the main element in the story. I really loved that it stayed in one timeline as I really fell into the story. The cover as pretty as it is, does not do the synopsis justice. This is about two sisters, who do not seem to fit in anywhere, and are often rejected by their stern father and grandfather. While Ruth is attending classes to be a nurse, she wants to do more by becoming a doctor, like her own father. While her father allowed her to learn at his side, due to societal norms, he tries to push her into becoming a nurse. He does it by cutting her confidence down. While Elise is left alone a bit more, she is also labeled as "less intelligent" and fixing cars is the only thing she can do. They want more then what they are allowed, so they decide to enlist in the war. I loved Feldman's realism of the time and that the characters were more than just archetypes playing the part. I just added Feldman's Absalom's Daughters!

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
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Thanks to NetGalley and MIRA/Harlequin for the digital galley of this book.

Ruth and Elise Duncan of the Baltimore Duncans long to escape their society lives. Ruth longs to be a doctor, but that’s not befitting a young woman, so she signs up to be a nurse in Europe during The Great War, and Elise wanting to do her part (and with a knack for tinkering with cars) joins up as an ambulance driver. Both women confront the horrors of war and the truths of their hearts during the backdrop of World War I.

I’m not always up for “Women’s Fiction” or “Historical Fiction,” not because I don’t think these books have a place, but they are largely about straight, white ladies and their struggles, romances, etc. But hey, make one of those characters queer, and that’s how you get me. Though I was a little disappointed that the growing romance between the two ladies didn’t get as much page time as Ruth and her beau, a doctor in the war effort, I’m not going to complain too much.

I really enjoyed the pacing, the back and forth between the sisters and their points of view from the transporting and treatment of so many soldiers. I didn’t mind the straight people romance. Ruth’s love is a positively decent man who wants to support her and actually trusts her to become a doctor, maybe the only man on earth who does.

It’s worth reading if you’re into historical fiction, even if you’re not 100% into the queer content, it’s too tame for my tastes, if that tells you anyway, and there’s some solid characterization. I really cared about these ladies and the people they cared about, and I wanted them to come through the war to find even a smidge of happiness.
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This story about American sisters Elise and Ruth makes you feel that you are right on the Front: hearing, seeing, and smelling everything as it is happening. Elise and Ruth are ambulance drivers and we get a first-hand account of the war through their eyes.


I would love to read a follow-up of these two brave women, especially when the book ended and I didn't want it to. I learned a lot about the war and how women played a huge part but are not recognized for their bravery. Elise is mechanical and can fix about anything. She feels different from other girls and believes that she will never marry. Ruth wants to be a doctor and the fastest route to that end is to volunteer as a nurse in the war effort. Both take the opportunity to jump-start their dreams.


Even though this book has scenes that are horrifying and the descriptions of the suffering of soldiers are nearly unbearable, I learned how much the doctors had to put up with due to the lack of medical information.


I enjoyed the depth of this book as well. Issues such as feminism, LGBT, and others are explored.
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Fans of the Civil War medical novel, “My Name is Mary Sutter” by Robin Olivia will love this World War I medical novel.

It’s 1914. America has yet to enter the Great War, but two American sisters, Ruth and Elise Duncan, are watching Europe implode in the Baltimore daily newspapers. They are desperate to unshackle the chains of conventional roles which society bounds them.

Ruth has grown up studying with her doctor father; she can make a diagnosis better then he…and most other doctors. However, society dictates that women cannot be doctors, so she is studying to be a nurse. She feels her talents are being wasted.

Elise is much like Ruth, but her talents lay in mechanics. She can take anything apart and put it back together. Elise is the household mechanic and keeps the family car her father needs for house calls in running shape. Her only prophecy for her future is to marry well and become a mother.

As the war escalates, the girls want to volunteer to help. On his way to the front, Dr. John Doweling, the son of their father’s friends, stops to stay with the Duncan’s a few days before shipping out for Belgium. He gets to know the girls and encourages them to volunteer as American has yet to enter the conflict.

Ruth goes as a nurse and Elisa as an ambulance driver. They are assigned to the front at Ypres. The conditions---living and working---are appalling. Author Feldman does an outstanding job in re-creating the Front. Be prepared to see, smell and hear the war as it unfolds around the sister. 

Each sister does have a love interest. For Ruth, it is the Englishman, Dr. John Doweling, who encouraged her to pursue her dreams. For Elise, it is Heda, another ambulance driver.

By the time I had reached the conclusion of “Sisters of the Great War,” I felt as if I had time-traveled back to this period and had participated in the war. Therefore, “Sisters of the Great War” receives 6 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.
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WWI Medical/historical

Brava to Ms Feldman for her interesting and, somewhat horrifying, historical romance about 2 sisters from the US who go to help in WWI, nursing and ambulance driving.  The medical and battlefield realities of the time are not for the squeamish !  This is the best of historical fiction, spoon-feeding us with the situations faced by many of our grandparents and great-grandparents during this horrifying war.  The descriptions of the issues facing women at the time are equally riveting.  Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publisher who lent me a time-constrained e-arc via Netgalley.  This review is optional and my own opinion.
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Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman tells the story of American sisters Ruth and Elise Duncan. Both sisters volunteer for the war effort, ending up in WWI Belgium, Ruth as a nurse and Elise as an ambulance driver. The description included by the author of life near the front was vivid, including the harsh conditions and overall grim realities of war. Both sisters were really able to develop lives for themselves through it all and take on roles which likely would not have been afforded to them had it not been for the war.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for an eARC of this book, in exchange for and honest review.
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Sisters of the Great War, written by Suzanne Feldman, was inspired by real women, which means so much to me and other readers. Set during World War I, it follows American sisters who volunteered during the war.

The year is 1914, and Ruth and Elisa Duncan have just made the biggest decisions of their lives. To escape the path laid out for them, they are going to volunteer in the war effort. Ruth will become a nurse, and Elise a driver.

Ruth and Elise work on different sides of the same effort – finding and saving all those they can. Ruth must learn the hard way that they cannot save them all, while Elise finds comfort, even during trauma and loss.

Sisters of the Great War is an immersive and vital read. Before this point, no history book had really showcased the role women played during the war. Sure, my classes covered what they did, but it was an emotionless study compared to Sisters of the Great War.

For that reason, and many others, I feel like this is a must-read. It really goes out of the way to portray the roles, showing that they weren't passive – and that many of them were on the front lines, contrary to popular belief.

I'm not going to lie, Sisters of the Great War is still a heavy read, despite its essential and informative nature. That likely is no real surprise, though. Because, again, it's based on real people during a war.
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I loved this historical fiction book about two American sisters who volunteer at the front during WWI. There aren't as many WWI books so it was nice to read about what life was like for the women working on the frontlines as ambulance drivers, nurses and doctor's assistants. The author does such a great job bringing what it was like on the front to vivid life. The conditions in the medical tents and the state the makeshift hospitals, as well as the primitiveness of the medical treatment was all described to great effect.

Told in alternating perspectives between the two sisters, Elise dreams of being an actual doctor, and her sister Ruth finds the freedom to be her true self far away from the strictures of heteronormative life in American society. Both sisters find romance on the front, Ruth with another woman ambulance driver and Elise with an army surgeon. Highly recommended for any historical fiction fans, especially those wanting to know more about the bravery and courage of women in WWI. Perfect for fans of Band of Sisters or The woman on the front. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy!
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Ruth and Elise have struggled to meet the demands of their father, His expectations of womanhood, and a woman's role in the world, are those of a nurturing homebody with no aspirations outside the domestic sphere. 

Edwardian society is unforgiving and it is impossible to weather even the tiniest scandal. When Ruth is inadvertently arrested in the middle of a suffrage protest her father is incensed and she is dismissed from nursing school. Her arrest becomes a window to evaluate what she truly wants from life, and to forge her own path. Her younger sister Elise is trapped and unhappy as well, forever tinkering with their father's automobile, never more content than she is when covered in grease with a wrench in her hand. 

Ruth's meeting with a young doctor, and his assurance that her skills will be needed on the battlefield, is serendipitous. She accepts his invitation. The bloody, tragic fields of WWI are the destiny that Ruth and Elise pursue.

Ruth finally has the opportunity to engage in an operating room as more than a nurse, and Elise finds love and purpose as a mechanic for the trucks that ferry supplies and soldiers to and from the front. 

Pick up this lovely book if you enjoyed Band of Sisters or Masterpiece Theatre's Crimson Fields, are intrigued by the origin of the suffrage movement in Canada, or want an intriguing glimpse behind the scenes of WWI. 

A heartfelt thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 Stars

An extraordinary tale of courage, fortitude and strength, Suzanne Feldman’s Sisters of the Great War is a powerful, inspirational and enthralling historical novel that beautifully celebrates female endurance and determination during the First World War.

August 1914 and the news that Europe is at war has reached far and wide. Lives will change beyond all recognition, loved ones will perish and hope will be the only thing that sustains broken-hearted families desperate to keep their nearest and dearest safe from danger. In Baltimore, Maryland, the Duncan household is also on the precipice of great change with sisters Ruth and Elise desperate to unshackle themselves from their father’s autocratic rule and to strike out on their own. The war will offer them the chance to escape the tyranny that has consumed them for so long and give them the opportunity to shape their own destinies.

Volunteering for the war effort, Ruth and Elise soon find themselves at a makeshift hospital in Belgium and they throw themselves into their duties as a nurse and a driver with grit and determination. However, the war will teach them harsh lessons and force them to face even harsher realities as Ruth realizes that she cannot save every patient that crosses her path. However, this only serves to make her even more determined to qualify as a doctor. Meanwhile, accomplished mechanic Elise finds kinship, support and friendship within the all-female Ambulance Corps.

Ruth and Elise have got some tough times ahead of them, but will the freedom they have striven so hard for come at far too high a price?

Suzanne Feldman’s Sisters of the Great War sheds a much-needed light on the many brave young girls who during the First World War had left everything they knew behind and with immense courage and selflessness did whatever it took to help win the war. Suzanne Feldman skillfully evokes the terror, helplessness and limitations of field hospitals on the front lines and makes her readers feel as if they are experiencing her story alongside her characters.

Ruth and Elise Duncan are two brilliantly drawn young women readers will relate to and admire both in their determination to do their duty and in their struggles to become women in charge of their own fate.

A first-rate historical novel, Suzanne Feldman’s Sisters of the Great War is an evocative wartime tale I highly recommend.
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