Band of Sisters

Written by Cathy Gohlke
Review by Rebecca Cochran

I started Band of Sisters with preconceived notions that it would be a typical Christian romance but was soon surprised with its complexity and seriousness. In 1910, sisters Maureen and Katie Rose O’Reilly escape a wretched life in Ireland and immigrate to New York City. With only a decades-old letter and a desperate hope, the girls face an uncertain future. Things turn bleak almost immediately. Fearing deportation, Maureen uses false pretenses to secure a department store job but continues to fall further into desperation. She also discovers a horrible secret that threatens their very existence.

Olivia Wakefield, hopeful to change her life, asks the question “What would Jesus do?” This simple question leads her on a quest to help immigrant women acclimate to life in America. Fate brings Olivia and the O’Reillys together as they struggle to find justice, love, and faith.

The overall story is intriguing and deep, but Maureen’s obstinacy and resistance to change frustrated me countless times. The pace of story is uneven: it starts out slow and plodding but then races towards a dramatic climax and swift end. Overall though, this is a remarkable tale that tackles a tough subject with grace and eloquence.