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The Sisterhood | [Helen Bryan]

The Sisterhood

Reeling from a broken engagement, adopted 19-year-old Menina Walker flees to Spain to bury her misery by writing her overdue college thesis - and soon finds herself on an unexpected journey into the past. The subject of her study is Tristan Mendoza, an obscure 16th-century artist whose signature includes a tiny swallow - the same swallow depicted on a medal that is Menina’s only link to her birth family. Hoping her research will reveal the swallow’s significance and clue her in to her origins, Menina discovers the ancient chronicle of a Spanish convent containing the stories of five orphaned girls hidden from the Spanish Inquisition.
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Publisher's Summary

Reeling from a broken engagement, adopted 19-year-old Menina Walker flees to Spain to bury her misery by writing her overdue college thesis - and soon finds herself on an unexpected journey into the past. The subject of her study is Tristan Mendoza, an obscure 16th-century artist whose signature includes a tiny swallow - the same swallow depicted on a medal that is Menina’s only link to her birth family.

Hoping her research will reveal the swallow’s significance and clue her in to her origins, Menina discovers the ancient chronicle of a Spanish convent, containing the stories of five orphaned girls hidden from the Spanish Inquisition before they escaped to the New World. Learning about the girls’ adventures, the nuns who sheltered them, and Mendoza, Menina wonders if accident or destiny led her to Spain - and the discovery of a lifetime.

From best-selling author Helen Bryan comes The Sisterhood, an epic adventure filled with history, passion, and intrigue.

©2013 Helen Bryan (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (118 )
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3.7 (106 )
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3.8 (105 )
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  •  
    Linda Hattiesburg, Mississippi 08-27-13
    Linda Hattiesburg, Mississippi 08-27-13
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    "Great way to enjoy a book!"
    Would you listen to The Sisterhood again? Why?

    Yes, I would probably listen to it again. There was enough complexity to the story to make it worth hearing another time. Though I probably wouldn't take the time to retread it, I can see myself listening to it while on my morning walk.


    What does Laura Roppe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Laura Roppe changed voices with each character. It brought a lot to the experience. Also, if I had only been reading the book, I wouldn't have gotten the Spanish words correct.


    Any additional comments?

    This was my first experience with audio books. I didn't know how I would feel about them. I really enjoyed the format, especially while I was walking. I also enjoyed being able to switch back and forth between reading and listening to the book, two very different experiences.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kafwood Ithaca, New York United States 05-28-13
    Kafwood Ithaca, New York United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Implausible & schoolgirlish"
    What would have made The Sisterhood better?

    Deeper and more inventive writing, including thorough character development, suspense and a plausible storyline that makes you feel something.

    And then, parts of the research were rather alarming for an historical novel. To avoid spoilers, they can't all be listed. But the silliest is a junior college grad, who couldn't pick up Spanish conversation in the modern day, being able to translate a miraculously well-preserved medieval Spanish text and, with the aid of a dictionary, vulgar Latin too!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Helen Bryan again?

    Probably not. The unabashed Catholic bashing coupled with the good girl focus of this book was off-putting - though I am neither a Catholic or a bad girl. It struck me as a book appealing to christian evangelicals, who mistake dabbling for rigorous study.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The nasal quality and repetitive lilt of the Spanish voices grew increasingly irritating. Made every female Hispanic character succumb to the Speedy Gonzales drawl from Looney Tunes. The frequent slips into American English and inconsistent application of Castilan were notable as well.


    Any additional comments?

    The trite situations, stereotyped characters and neat endings that drive this book make the positive reviews from Amazon baffling. Good girls get their rewards after a struggle or two; bad girls see the error of their ways, etc. Epiphanies abound, yet never scratch the surface of social norms. "Just awful" things are placed where they belong: out of reach of the storyline. Convenient plot devices implode reality. Coincidences. Visions. Miracles too. Rather nauseating overall.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Denver, CO, United States 08-19-13
    Bonnie Denver, CO, United States 08-19-13 Member Since 2011
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    "One of my favorite books"

    Normally I am not into historical fiction but this book was the exception. I LOVED “The Sisterhood”.

    As a young girl I had read about the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition that terrorized all in its path but this book brought it to life. It becomes real as the reader learns about love, betrayal, loyalty, forgiveness, redemption and faith during that time period. It shows how the male dominated Catholic Church ruled and ordered atrocities against any behavior that was not approved by them. This is a wonderful story about how nuns helped other women in times when males treated women as having little value.

    “The Sisterhood” is a novel composed of two intertwined stories. One story is played out against the Spanish Inquisition and the other takes place in modern times.

    A young woman in the present named Menina Walker has a chronicle, written mostly in Latin, and a medal that she was found with when she was orphaned. When her parents adopted her from a South American orphanage the nuns returned the medal to her new parents and included a chronicle of the nun’s order to be given to Menina when she grew older.

    Following a traumatic experience and broken engagement, Menina goes to Spain to write a thesis on a Spanish painter. Her search turns from the thesis and leads her across countries and centuries as she learns the truth about her chronicle, medal and her own identity. It reveals a secret that will impact the Catholic Church.

    The book did get somewhat confusing with the way it kept changing time periods. This was my only complaint. It was sometimes difficult to keep the characters straight as the story moves back and forth through these centuries. Although it sounds like a counter diction, the book was fairly easy to read once I got the characters/centuries straight. I hated to see the book end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 06-10-14
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 06-10-14 Member Since 2010

    SamanthaG

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    "Boring Flat Characters; Terrible Narration"

    The characters were all stereotypes; Menina - the good girl, her parents - the hayseeds from GA, the nuns, ah the nuns! - all old lady nun stereotypes. And the narration. My first irritation was the adoptive parents' fake-y southern accents. If I'd been the Mother Superior at the orphanage, I wouldn't have approved the adoption, not because the they were Southern Baptists, though I think that would have given most Catholic nuns pause, but because they didn't seem quite bright.

    Lots of things happen to Menina that don't make sense - first of all, her name, which if I remember correctly was the middle name of some relative of her parents. Menina....really? I live in GA and I've never heard it as a given name.

    The narration also included lots of fake-y Spanish accents, some Castillian, some not. And everyone could always seem to speak another language if it moved the story along and be unable to if it didn't. Menina particularly, who apparently knew Spanish well but at one point was too tired to speak it.

    I guess I understand the use of a Spanish-y accent for people when they are speaking Spanish in the book, but I don't understand using it for the 3rd person narrative parts. It's an English book written for people who speak English.

    I also found jumping back and forth in time an annoyance - sometimes I didn't know which time I was in because the characters in both times were similar - young women and nuns in the same rickety old convent.

    All in all, it was a slow-go for me. I read about 2/3 of it and skipped to the (predictable) end and don't feel I missed anything.

    And what's up with the swallow?

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cloudtears 09-14-14
    cloudtears 09-14-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Time Travel from Magnificent to Mundane"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sisterhood the most enjoyable?

    The sheer glue that held a nucleus group of women together from the Biblical times to the 1500's to present day allows one to make key characters part of one's own circle. No matter when, these women teach us all that we are one, no matter what faith, no matter what time and no matter what place


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was Luce. While a minor character, her beauty combined with her handicaps brought all in her life to love her and care for her. One of the few that are truly good inside and outside.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    During the translation of the book, I found the story finally bringing everything together. This book beautifully winds its way through time and the book is the recorded history the sisters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 09-09-14
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 09-09-14 Member Since 2009

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

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    "I Think Mother Teresa Would Approve"

    Well, here goes . . . I am not Catholic . . . I'm protestant . . . but more importantly, I'm a Christian. I very much disagree with all the negative reviews on The Sisterhood. But then again, I tend to look at the heart of things, the deeper story. I like the narration, particularly the southern accent, as I'm a southerner, didn't find it to be fake at all. And the Spanish accents seemed true to the ones I have heard all my life. I've always been interested in the Spanish Inquisition, and learned a lot from this book. It is heartbreaking that in the name of religion, Christians have done exactly what many religions today are doing. Yet in God's mercy and wisdom, He has set in motion pockets of protection, such as the convent in Spain, that welcomed and protected His children regardless of their backgrounds. That is what LOVE does. That is what Christ did. I loved the personality and spunky ways of the nuns, and it put me in mind right away of Mother Teresa who sacrificed selflessly her entire life for others. Being a servant crosses all denominations . . . Catholic, Baptist, Methodist . . . we are all His. The doctrine which has divided us is not of consequence. Let us ask the Lord when we get to Heaven. For now, let us serve Him. I listened to this audio book for two days, being blessed by it. I have to laugh at the people who find it contrived and far fetched. So are the real stories of Columbus' voyage to America, the creation of the United States as one nation under God, and a baby being formed in it's mother's womb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SusanKC Kansas City, MO (for now) 03-27-14
    SusanKC Kansas City, MO (for now) 03-27-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm a busy stay at home Mom, with an adolescent "special needs" kiddo & my husband with MS. I love gardening, cooking, reading, and hand crafts. Being able to listen to a book while I'm doing other things (including dreadful things like housekeeping) is heavenly!

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    "Sisterhood"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book truly portrays the bonds of women's' friendships; the ups and downs, the catty and heroic, the joy and the pain that draws us closer together. Women do not have many life-long friendships, we're often spread too thin taking care of spouses, children, parents, and others "needing" our help. When we have friends who take care of us, these women become our sisters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Costlow Clayton, CA USA 01-19-14
    Linda Costlow Clayton, CA USA 01-19-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Great story--supremely bad narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The narrator ruined this book for me. I almost quit listening, but was very interested in the story. The narrator seems to think everyone who speaks with a southern accent does so with a high pitched scream. Her rendition of a Spanish accent was no better. The story itself switches back and forth between the mid 1500's and the Inquisition and modern days. It's fascinating.


    Do you think The Sisterhood needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Orting, WA, United States 10-08-13
    Lynn Orting, WA, United States 10-08-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Story!"
    Where does The Sisterhood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    2nd after Cutting for Stone


    What did you like best about this story?

    Interesting story, historical information


    What about Laura Roppe’s performance did you like?

    It was OK


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was good


    Any additional comments?

    It got a little confusing with so many characters

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Watertown, MA, United States 07-21-13
    Catherine Watertown, MA, United States 07-21-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Just loved this audiobook!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sisterhood the most enjoyable?

    The well developed characters and plot of this novel kept me eagerly awaiting each opportunity to listen!


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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