Rating: 5 out of 5.

sunflower sisters by martha hall kelly, 528 pp

historical fiction

The third and final installment in Kelly’s series which started with the best-seller, powerful Lilac Girls. Sunflower Sisters continues the story of the Woolsey-Ferriday family and the charitable works of its strong women. Whereas Lilac Girls started with WWII and Caroline Ferriday’s work to help survivors of Ravensbruck, and Lost Roses examined the plight of the Russian aristocracy fleeing from the terrors of an emerging Soviet nation with assistance from Eliza Woolsey Ferriday, Sunflower Sisters steps back one more generation to the Civil War and the abolitionist and nursing work of Georgeanna Woolsey, her mother and sisters. Similar to Lilac Girls, Sunflower Sisters also includes the POV of a despicable character, Anne-May Wilson Watson, a woman who you hope is captured and tortured in the same manner that she inflicts upon her slave, Jemma. The three women intersect for a compelling read set against the backdrops of a Maryland tobacco plantation, the New York’s elite inner sanctum of the mid-1800s, and the battlefields of Gettysburg. While I also enjoyed the other two novels, I found a special affinity to Sunflower Sisters reading about the seven Woolsey sisters and their commitments to charitable work as accomplished and determined women. Hmm…sounds like a certain Pearson-Edwards family and their story which is in the works… Overall, five stars based on vivid descriptions, well-developed characters and satisfying resolutions and unification at the end. I’m sad knowing this is the end of the series, but look forward to hearing what Kelly may be working on next.

For Book Clubs: Martha Hall Kelley put out some recipes for food items mentioned in the Civil War era book along with a cheat sheet of the numerous characters and discussion questions in a handy book club kit PDF. Very helpful!

I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.

Check out my other top picks for Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Non-Fiction and Simple Pleasure Reading.

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Jhumpa Lahiri

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