Band of Sisters: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A group of Smith graduates goes to war. They all have their own personalities and quirks. They are volunteering to bring help to villages devastated by war. The novel deftly uses its historical background (a Smith Unit did go to France towards the end of WW1) to talk about a key moment when women started to take ownership of their own lives, they went to medical school, they drove trucks, they organized rescue operations and still found time to sort out complicated matters of friendship, love and self-respect. A perfect novel for Women History Month.

— From Francoise B.'s Picks

March 2021 Indie Next List

“Willig’s Band of Sisters pulled me in and took me on a journey of complicated friendships that grew and matured in the midst of hardship and trial. Between mishaps with roosters, snowstorms, and reminders of the kindness and resilience of people, this historical fiction is a delight to read.”
— Laura DeLaney, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID


"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines…A triumph."
   — Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue 

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned. 

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?  

About the Author

Lauren Willig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City.

Praise For…

“A compelling tale of love, resilience, expectations, bravery, and above all, the powerful, redemptive bonds of female friendship."  — Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names

“With heart and humor, Willig explores the complexities of female friendships—feuds, forgiveness, and all. A touching portrait of triumph and found family in the midst of war. Bravo!” — Stephanie Dray, New York Times Bestselling author of America's First Daughter & The Women of Chateau Lafayette

“An inspiring ode to the indomitable strength of women and the fierce, indelible bonds of female friendship, a tale of she-roes that will make you both laugh and cry.” — Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen’s Fortune

“An affecting and memorable tale of women and the way their friendships are tested by a changing world and the unforgiving crucible of conflict. Altogether it’s an utterly entertaining and enlightening work of historical fiction. Brava!” — Jennifer Robson, bestselling author of Our Darkest Night

“Willig expertly uses historical detail in her seamless, well-plotted tale.  This will entice readers from the very first page.” — Publishers Weekly 

Band of Sisters spotlights a fascinating group of young women who braved the strains of world war to help those caught in the crossfire and left direly in need. Through snappy dialogue and endearing characters, Willig delivers a heartwarming tale powered by sisterly support, forgiveness, and the strength found together—and within.”  — Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday

"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines…A triumph." — Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue.  

"Captivating! The ever-masterful Lauren Willig beautifully celebrates these singular women.” — Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mysterious Mrs. Christie. 

“Brimming with a cast of characters to love and root for, and based on actual events and the lives of truly brave women, BAND OF SISTERS is the perfect story for our troubled times. This is the historical novel you’ve been hungering for.” — Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062986160
ISBN-10: 0062986163
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Pages: 544
Language: English