Inspired by true accounts, Sunflower Sisters provides a vivid, detailed look at the Civil War experience, from the barbaric and inhumane plantations, to a war-torn New York City to the horrors of the battlefield. It’s a sweeping story of women caught in a country on the brink of collapse, in a society grappling with nationalism and unthinkable racial cruelty, a story still so relevant today.
Martha Hall Kelly is an auto buy author for me when it comes to historical fiction so I was very excited when this book tour with Suzy Approved Book Tours came up! It has been awhile since I read Lilac Girls and Lost Roses so I was a little nervous about not remembering everything. Thankfully this is one of those books in a series that can be read as a standalone, and you will not feel lost.
In this story we get three points of view from three very different characters. First we have Georgey Woolsey who is one of seven daughters of Richard Woolsey of New York. Her family fights for slaves to be free and Georgey and Eliza work as nurses on the battlefront during the war. The only thing that bothered me about Georgey’s character was that she was wishy washy when it came to Frank Bacon, a childhood friend who loved her. I could go on about this, but I don’t want to contain any spoilers.
Next we have Jemma who lives with her family on the Peeler Plantation in Maryland owned by Anne-May. Jemma is forced to be at Anne-May’s beck and call all day every day. The way she was treated had me cringing multiple times. When new slaves are brought to the plantation, and Jemma’s mom takes them under her wing, the green eyed monster comes out. Jemma chills out when one of the girls ends up pregnant by one of Anne-May’s goonies. The time to escape is getting closer and closer because when that baby is born Anne-May will sell it. Jemma’s chapters made me hold my breath more than the other two ladies.
Last but not least is awful Anne-May. She is left in charge of the plantation when her husband goes off to war, but instead of tending to the tobacco in the field she starts an affair with a store owner in town. Together they are playing a dangerous game of keeping a book of top secret information they hear at parties. If discovered they would be hanged without question. We do get to meet her mother in a few chapters, a vile woman, and it explains a lot about why Anne-May is the way she is.
I love getting different POV’s because I think it really brings a lot to the story, and we get a more in depth look at the characters. Reading about these three characters had me wondering how the author was going to tie them all together. All I have to say is thank goodness for the Woolsey family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and if you’re a fan of historical fiction you will too.
Book Rating: 5/5
Wine Pairing: Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014