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Band of sisters [large print] : a novel / Lauren Willig.

By: Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York, NY : Harper Large Print, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2021]Copyright date: ©2021Edition: First Harper Large Print editionDescription: 725 pages (large print) ; 23 cmContent type:
  • text
Media type:
  • unmediated
Carrier type:
  • volume
  • 9780063062313
  • 0063062313
Subject(s): Genre/Form: Summary: Eschewed by her wealthy Smith College classmates, a former scholarship student reluctantly volunteers to join a group of graduates who travel to Europe to help World War I French civilians before finding herself surrounded by desperate families in villages decimated by German bombs.
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Item type Current library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Notes Date due Barcode Item holds
Adult Book Phillipsburg Free Public Library Large Type Collection Large Type Collection LT WIL Available pap ed. 36748002518225
Total holds: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines...A triumph."

-- Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story--a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network--from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith's Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions--all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned.

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid--and hope--to the region. But can they survive their own differences As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters

"The women of Smith College go to war" --cover.

Eschewed by her wealthy Smith College classmates, a former scholarship student reluctantly volunteers to join a group of graduates who travel to Europe to help World War I French civilians before finding herself surrounded by desperate families in villages decimated by German bombs.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

While the individual characters in this novel are fictional, the events are based on the actual experiences of Smith College women during World War I. The Smith Unit, as it came to be known, was a group of 18 graduates of the women's college, who signed up to help with relief efforts in France. Their numbers included a director, two doctors, and an agriculturalist, among others. Armed with money, some supplies, and a can-do attitude, the unit arrived in France to learn that everything would be harder than they thought it would be. From trucks they had to assemble themselves, to arguments with officials over delivery of medical supplies, the Smith Unit was thwarted by bureaucratic red tape and overwhelmed by people in desperate need of aid. Many of the unit's members rose to the occasion and were able to provide food, medical care, comfort, and hope. Others returned home because of the dire and dangerous conditions. Readers will root for the women's success, especially for the lead characters, Kate and Emmy, who both find unexpected joys through their work, despite the hardships. Julia Whelan provides distinct voices for each of the members of the unit, which is especially evident in the women's letters home. Willig's note at the end explains how she stumbled upon this story and the way the letters written by the real-life unit members influenced her narrative. VERDICT Listening to the audiobook version and hearing the tension, anguish, and, at times, happiness, provides a deeper connection to the characters in an already outstanding story.--Courtney Pentland, Omaha, NE

Publishers Weekly Review

Willig (The Summer Country) draws on the Smith College Relief Unit's experiences in France during WWI for this immersive novel. In 1917, Smith graduate Kate Moran joins fellow alumnus Emmie Van Alden to travel to France and help villagers whose lives have been upended by an earlier German occupation. The unit, composed of 17 women, resides in army barracks near an abandoned chateau in Grecourt, where they provide locals with food, medical care, and education. The villagers' lack of bare necessities is eye-opening for the Smith women, many of whom have led privileged lives. Kate, meanwhile, remains sensitive about her humble beginnings--she gained admission to Smith through a scholarship--and becomes upset when she discovers that Emmie paid for her trip to France. (Emmie had told her they were funded by donations from Smith alumnae). As the war rages on and the German army once again advances on Grecourt, Kate and Emmie's friendship grows stronger when they reveal their deepest insecurities to one another. Willig expertly uses historical details in her seamless, well-plotted tale. This will entice readers from the very first page. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Mar.)

Booklist Review

Willig's (The Summer Country, 2019) latest historical yarn opens in 1917 as a group of women who have come together to form the Smith College Relief Unit set sail for France, where they'll offer aid to locals near the front lines of the fighting in World War I. Three women are spotlighted among the large cast of characters: determined Kate Moran, who attended Smith on a scholarship and was befriended by wealthy Emmie Van Alden, the kindhearted daughter of a suffragette. It was Emmie who convinced Kate to join the relief unit. Rounding out the trio is the chilly Dr. Julia Pruyen, Emmie's cousin whom Kate has hated ever since she heard Julia refer to her as Emmie's "charity case." As they get set up in the small village of Grecourt and start to provide assistance to the imperiled citizens, the cracks in Kate and Emmie's friendship widen and Kate is surprised to find herself sympathizing with icy Julia. Willig injects plenty of drama and danger, along with a bit of romance, into this engaging tale of brave WWI women volunteers.
Phillipsburg Free Public Library
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