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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
There are some books that are enriched by their audio performance; this is not one of those.
The story is interesting, tracing the history of a Catholic sisterhood that used its convent to protect non-Catholic (Jewish and Muslim) girls and women from the Church's Inquisition, eventually moving them to safety in South America. The author creates a character, a child adopted from South America by Southern Christians, who helps uncover some of the history and the secrets of Los Golondrinos, the Spanish sisterhood.
The performance, however, does not add to the story. Most of the book is narrated in a fake Spanish accent, with some parts in a fake Southern accent. As someone who is familiar with the differences among Spanish, Mexican, Honduran, Guatemalan, and Argentine accents, as well as the differences among various parts of the American South, the narrative voices were fake and annoying.
The narrator also used a high-pitched fake Spanish accent for many of the nuns, especially the older ones. This was even more irritating to me as a listener.
In the voice of a better narrator, or read on paper, this might be a better book.
2nd after Cutting for Stone
Interesting story, historical information
It was OK
It was good
It got a little confusing with so many characters
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.
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.
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.
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.
The well developed characters and plot of this novel kept me eagerly awaiting each opportunity to listen!
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