“Band of Sisters” by Cathy Gohlke, book review.
Maureen and her younger sister flee their homeland is the wake of their mother’s death. Assisted by their maternal aunt, they head to America to find a man who promised their father a home and job for a debt paid during the war. Although the letter and promise are very old, it is all Maureen has. So they leave in the dark of night.
Arriving at Ellis Island, the girls are ill prepared for the rigours of the entry into the US. Illness, lack of understanding, but most of all, lack of trust are what the girls bring their new homeland. While Maureen is befriended by several during her time on Ellis Island, not all are looking out for her best interest.
As the story continues, the darkness and evil of mankind is revealed! Men who see newly arrived woman as easy prey for their shadowy and often illegal activities, just want to get rich and do not care about these ladies. Others are becoming aware of the plight of these same women, but are not equipped or able to assist. The task is just too large, complex, and sometimes down right messy.
The author cleverly weaves in the novel “In His Steps” which was released during this time period and the wealthy ladies are challenged by their pastor to take the pledge, “What would Jesus do?” as they attempt to help the immigrant woman of their city. They are seeing the need and working to find a solution to help.
The novel deals with the issue of human trafficking, which is just as current of a topic now as it was then. And still men who are wealthy and influential can control the lives of younger and weaker woman and children for their own gain. When my college age daughter served as an intern at a Woman’s shelter in the mid-west last summer, she came face to face with several women who had escaped from a human trafficking situation. Here, now, in the US!
The author has an excellent website that you might want to visit to learn more about this issue. And the book is for sale at on line and retail outlets.
Conclusion: This book is not for the faint of heart, although the author has handled this distasteful topic with grace. It did bring a very personal side to the issue and made me understand how a woman might find herself in this terrible situation. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher: Tyndale House. All opinions expressed are my own.