Sunflower Sisters Tour – Review

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Review

Lilac Girls introduced readers to Caroline Ferriday, an American philanthropist who helped young girls released from Ravensbruck concentration camp. Now, in Sunflower Sisters, Kelly tells the story of her ancestor Georgeanna Woolsey, a Union nurse who joins the war effort during the Civil War, and how her calling leads her to cross paths with Jemma, a young enslaved girl who is sold off and conscripted into the army, and Ann-May Wilson, a southern plantation mistress whose husband enlists.

Georgeanne “Georgey” Woolsey isn’t meant for the world of lavish parties and demure attitudes of women of her stature. So when the war ignites the nation, Georgey follows her passion for nursing during a time when doctors considered women a bother on the battlefront. In proving them wrong, she and her sister Eliza venture from New York to Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg and witness the unparalleled horrors of slavery as they become involved in the war effort.

In the South, Jemma is enslaved on the Peeler Plantation in Maryland, where she lives with her mother and father. Her sister, Patience, is enslaved on the plantation next door and both live in fear of LeBaron, an abusive overseer who tracks their every move. When Jemma is sold by the cruel plantation mistress Anne-May at the same time the Union army comes through, she sees a chance to finally escape–but only by abandoning the family she loves.

Anne-May is left behind to run Peeler Planation when her husband joins the Union Army and her cherished brother enlists with the Confederates. In charge of the household, she uses the opportunity to follow her own ambitions and is drawn into a secret Southern network of spies, finally exposing herself to the fate she deserves.

Inspired by true accounts, Sunflower Sisters provides a vivid, detailed look at the Civil War experience, from the barbaric and inhumane plantations, to a war-torn New York City to the horrors of the battlefield. It’s a sweeping story of women caught in a country on the brink of collapse, in a society grappling with nationalism and unthinkable racial cruelty, a story still so relevant today.

Praise for Sunflower Sisters

From Southern spies to nurses on the northern battlefields, Sunflower Sisters weaves an exquisite tapestry of women determined to defy the molds the world has for them. The journeys of Jemma and the Woolsey sisters will have readers celebrating those who came before us, who fought for what they knew was right, and became timeless women ahead of their times.”—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours and The Book of Lost Friends

“Sunflower Sisters marks the third installment of Martha Hall Kelly’s tales of the formidable Woolsey Women, with this chapter unfolding across the plantations, battlefields, and parlor rooms of one of history’s most dramatic moments. The Civil War roils as a sweeping backdrop and an era of both heartbreaking and inspiring humanity. Kelly’s vivid prose, stunning historical research, and heartfelt, compelling characters make this a gripping, page-turning read.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen’s Fortune

Review

To say I was excited for this book was a little bit of an understatement. I mean, I literally started reading it as soon as it came in the mail. There’s just something about this story that pulls you right in and forces you to become invested in the characters and their lives.

This book is just so beautifully written and I really love how all of the stories come together. And it’s such a timely story that is done artfully. There wasn’t a single main character that I wasn’t invested in and I really just enjoyed the setting. I don’t want to get into too much of the plot though because I want you to be able to just fall into it and let the story unfold around you.

Also, although this is technically the third book in this series feel free to read them out of order! While the books follow the same family they are set in separate time frames so you can run out to the bookstore and get Sunflower Sisters right now!

About the Author

Martha is a native New Englander who lives in Litchfield County Connecticut. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years, and raised three wonderful children who are now mostly out of the nest. Her debut novel Lilac Girls, about Connecticut socialite Caroline Ferriday who championed a group of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp survivors known as The Rabbits who survived WWII Nazi experiments, was her first novel and an instant New York Times bestseller. The prequel to Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, was also an instant NYTimes bestseller. It features Caroline’s mother Eliza Ferriday and her fight to save a group of Russian women, former aristocrats who lost everything in the Russian Revolution. The Lost Roses paperback published March 3rd, 2020 and the third book in the series, a Civil War novel about Caroline’s great grandmother’s family, arrives spring 2021.

Tour Schedule

March 20th –  2 Babes And A Bookshelf https://instagram.com/2babesandabookshelf

March 24th – Cassie’s Book Reviews https://instagram.com/cassies_books_reviews  

March 25th – Bryant Park Books https://instagram.com/bryantparkbooks

March 26th – Chill Jill And Read https://instagram.com/chill_jilland_read

March 27th – Nurse Bookie https://instagram.com/nurse_bookie

March 28th – Read A Lot Write A Lot https://instagram.com/readalotwritealot

March 28th – Live Love And Leo https://instagram.com/liveloveandleo

March 29th-  Books Love And Understanding https://instagram.com/booksloveandunderstanding

March 29th – Love My Books 2020 https://instagram.com/lovemybooks2020

March 30th – In Literary Love https://instagram.com/inliterarylove

March 30th – Reecas Pieces Books https://instagram.com/reecaspiecesbooks 

March 31st- Noor The Bookworm https://instagram.com/noorthebookworm

March 31st- Bookoholic Cafe https://instagram.com/bookoholiccafe

April 1st – Rozier Reads and Wine https://instagram.com/rozierreadsandwine

April 1st – Jackie Loves Books https://instagram.com/jackieslovesbooks

April 2nd – Lindas Book Obsession https://www.facebook.com/lindasbookobsession/ 

April 3rd-  Whimsicaly Me https://www.instagram.com/whimsicalyme/

April 3rd –  Sealed With A Book https://instagram.com/sealedwithabook

April 7th – Marilyn Goncalves https://instagram.com/marilynjgon 

April 9th – Joannas Bookshelf https://instagram.com/joannasbookshelf

April 12th – Coffee Books Dogs https://instagram.com/coffeedogsbooks

April 14th – KP The Bookworm https://instagram.com/kpthebookworm

April 16th – Ya It’s Lit https://instagram.com/ya.its.lit

April 19th – The Mary Reader https://instagram.com/themaryreader 

April 21st –  Megs Book Club https://instagram.com/megsbookclub

April 22nd-  Reading Girl Reviews https://instagram.com/readinggirlreviews

April 24th – Carol Doscher https://instagram.com/carol_doscher_reader

April 26th – Bookish With Wine https://instagram.com/bookishwithwine

April 28th – Mrs Boom Reads https://instagram.com/mrsboomreads 

April 29th – Jennifer Tar Heel Reader – http://www.jennifertarheelreader.com
https://instagram.com/tarheelreader

May 2nd– Christina Stephanie Reads https://instagram.com/christinastephaniereads

May 3rd- The Crocheted Review https://instagram.com/thecrochetedreview

May 5th – Britt Reads A Latte Books https://instagram.com/brittreadsalattebooks

May 7th -Sweet Honey And Brei https://instagram.com/sweethoneyandbrei

May 7th -Cover 2 Cover Cafe https://instagram.com/cover2covercafe

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Lost Roses Tour – Review

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About the Book

The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by 

true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

It’s 1914 and Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to travel to St. Petersburg with her best friend Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. But when war looms and Russia’s Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing unspeakable danger into their home. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza helps the destitute White Russian families find safety as they escape the  revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming she fears her friend has come to a terrible end.

From the Tsar’s palaces of St. Petersburg to the long-lost Russian neighborhoods of Paris to the glorious estates of Southampton, New York, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a fascinating time in history.

Praise for Lost Roses

“A charming and vividly rendered historical novel . . . Based on true events, this prequel to Lilac Girls transports.”—People

“Inspired by true events, just like its predecessor, and just as well-researched, Lost Roses is a remarkable story and another testament to female strength. This sweeping epic will thrill and delight fans of Lilac Girls and readers of historical fiction alike.”—PopSugar

“Epic . . . [Martha Hall] Kelly’s gift is bringing to life and to light the untold stories of women and families far away from the war front yet deeply affected by the decisions of leaders and the efforts of fighters. Fans of historical fiction . . . and viewers of period dramas will want to clear their calendars when Lost Roses comes out.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Kelly memorably portrays three indomitable women who triumph over hardships and successfully brings a complex and turbulent time in history to life.”—Publishers Weekly

“The writing is rich and vivid with detail about the period. . . . A nuanced tale that speaks to the strength of women.”—Kirkus Reviews

“In an era crumbling under the weight of war, hatred, and devastation, the bonds of women not only endure but offer sustenance and hope in Martha Hall Kelly’s stunning depiction of the lives of Eliza Ferriday and the women she fought to save. Lost Roses is not only a brilliant historical tale, but a love song to all the ways our friendships carry us through the worst of times.”—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

Review

Happy paperback release day! Let me start off by just saying: wow. This book was so amazingly good! I read it as a standalone, but now I need the first book ASAP! First things first, I love how this is a female driven story. Throughout history women have defied the odds and I never tire of reading about it.

Lost Roses lets you travel across countries. From the US to Paris to St. Petersburg you get a taste of all of the different cultures during this rather turbulent time in history. But also, when is history ever not turbulent? The research the author put into these places shines through and you are truly transported to each location.

This book is one of those few times that I loved having multiple POVs. Oftentimes I find that I struggle with multiple POVs because I’m not fully invested in all of the characters, so I’m extremely happy to say that this was not the case with this story. I couldn’t wait to find out more about each of the three characters: Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka.

Now, I mentioned that I read this book as a standalone. How did I do that you might ask? Well, it’s quite simple, Lost Roses is the prequel to Lilac Girls. I’m actually happy I read them in this order, even if I’m typically a *smidge* obsessive about reading books in publishing order. I think that the events and characters in this book will greatly set me up and prepare me for all that is Lilac Girls.

About the Author

Martha is a native New Englander who lives in Connecticut and Martha’s Vineyard. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years, raised three wonderful children who are now mostly out of the nest and Lilac Girls is her first novel. She has been hard at work on the prequel to Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, which features Caroline’s mother Eliza Ferriday and her fight to save a group of Russian women, former aristocrats who lost everything in the Russian Revolution. You’ll find more info about both books on Martha’s website: https://marthahallkelly.com/ and on Pinterest.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*