Sunflower Sisters By Martha Hall Kelly: Book Review & Summary

Sunflower Sisters: A Novel By Martha Hall Kelly, Hardcover | Barnes

Sunflower Sisters: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly, Hardcover | Barnes

Sunflower Sisters: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly – Review

Step inside the world of Martha Hall Kelly’s latest novel, Sunflower Sisters, where women are both conquerers and survivors. This novel is a brilliant continuation of the Lilac Girls series that tells the stories of remarkable women throughout World War II. The Sunflower Sisters is set in the past, during the American Civil War, and follows the journey of three beautiful ladies – Georgeanne Woolsey, Jemma, and Anne-May Wilson.

Martha Hall Kelly is the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls. She is an American author and philanthropist. During college, Kelly became interested in issues of social justice and volunteered with an organization that worked with homeless children. Her knowledge in this area soon led Kelly to start a benefit for The New York City’s Homeless Children’s Network which raised $10,000. She currently has a foundation, the Martha Hall Kelly Foundation, that supports literacy and equality.

Sunflower Sisters is the perfect novel for fans of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy learning about women in history. The story is set in 1861, at the beginning of the civil war. The novel follows the journey of two sisters, Georgeanne and Jemma, who come from a well-off family in Litchfield, Connecticut, a city brimming with abolitionists, who knew firsthand the terrible consequences and cruelty of slavery. The sisters, however, end up living vastly different lives during the civil war.

Georgeann Woolsey is a member of the elite of New York society. She has her own views about the Northern and Southern conflicts, though throughout the story her views on slavery and abolitionism develop to become more aware of the complex issues. When she is recruited by the Union Army as a nurse, she jumps at the chance to serve her country and become part of the history she has always been fascinated by.

Jemma is Georgeanne’s sister, a bold member of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery campaigner. She believes in abolitionism and will risk everything to help people escape to freedom. Her character is one of my favorites because it demonstrates how intelligent and powerful young women can be, even in a time when women had very little power, especially in regards to affairs outside of the home.

The story also includes Anne-May Wilson, a young girl of mixed ancestry, who is torn between the two sides of the war. Her father was a slave, her mother white. Although she has been brought up on the plantation as a master’s favorite, she begins to question her loyalties as her world falls apart. Anne-May’s story emphasizes the principle of equality, something we all must fight for in the modern-day.

The writing style is very descriptive, and it feels like you’re in the same room as the characters. You can hear their thoughts, see their surroundings, and feel their emotions. Kelly masterfully interlaced historical events with fiction in a way that makes you feel as though you’re learning something new while reading the book. It is both educational and entertaining.

The Sunflower Sisters is an excellently crafted novel that delves deep into the various themes of love, loss, loyalty, slavery, prejudice, fairness, and freedom. The characters are presented excellently, with each having their own view of the world, and the way they interwove with one another is unique. The book has its strengths and weaknesses, but the strengths far outweigh the negatives.

Overall, Martha Hall Kelly’s Sunflower Sisters is a thought-provoking, captivating, and thoroughly enjoyable novel that expertly blends fact with fiction and shines a light on an essential topic in U.S. history. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good historical fiction novel.


Q: Who is Martha Hall Kelly?

A: Martha Hall Kelly is an American author and philanthropist. She is best known for her New York Times bestselling novel, Lilac Girls, and has a foundation that supports literacy and equality.

Q: Is this book part of a series?

A: Yes, Sunflower Sisters is the third book in the Lilac Girls series. However, all three books can be read as standalone novels.

Q: Who would enjoy reading this book?

A: Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially those interested in learning more about the experiences of women during the American Civil War, would enjoy reading Sunflower Sisters.

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