Title: The Orphan Sisters
Author: Shirley Dickson
Genre: Historical Fiction (secular)
Publishing Date: Jan 22, 2019
Format: E-Book, ARC
About the Book:
A heartbreaking, unputdownable and utterly unforgettable story of two young sisters cruelly abandoned by their mother at an orphanage. Fans of Wives of War, Lisa Wingate and Diney Costeloe will lose their hearts to this stunning World War Two novel.
1929: Four-year-old Etty and eight-year-old Dorothy are abandoned at Blakely Hall orphanage by their mother, never to see her again. With no other family to speak of, the sisters worship their beloved mam – confused and heartbroken to be deserted by her when they need her the most.
1940: Etty and Dorothy are finally released from the confines of Blakely Hall – but their freedom comes when the country is in the grip of World War Two and its terrors. Amidst a devastating backdrop of screaming air-raid sirens and cold nights huddled in shelters, the sisters are desperate to put their broken childhoods behind them.
But trouble lies ahead. Dorothy must bid goodbye to her beloved husband when he’s sent to war and Etty must nurse a broken heart as she falls in love with the one man she can never be with.
Etty and Dorothy survived the orphanage with the help of one another and neither sister can forget the awful betrayal of their mother, which has haunted them their whole lives. But when a shocking secret about their painful childhood comes to light, will the sisters ever be the same again?
I didn’t quite know what I was getting into when I picked this one up. It certainly wasn’t what I expected. I was expecting more detail out of how hard the girls’ lives were at the orphanage, but instead you really only come away with the knowledge that the people there were strict and they hated it there. The rest of the story had the same feeling of “barely scraping the surface” before moving on to the next scene. It made it difficult for me to really get in to. At least partially for moral reasons, I couldn’t sympathize with Etty the way I was expecting to, and I think that effected my overall emotional connection with the story. I will admit that the events at the end of the story fully sucked me in and even changed how I felt toward particular characters, but then it all came to a close.
At first I had really high expectations for this story and thought I would love it, but I really do walk away with mixed emotions. The story will surely tug at your heartstrings, but I would have liked more depth in the story-line. I just didn’t connect as much as I thought I would. I read a lot of historical fiction whether it is Christian or not, so I really try not to fully judge on that standard since I knew going in that this was a secular fiction piece. I expected more about the girls’ desire to find out what happened to their mother since that appeared to be the premise of the whole story. Instead it was more about their love lives and failures. Sometimes when a story-line takes you by surprise it can be a good thing, but in this case it felt incomplete.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story
In the secular world this book could probably tow-the-line as far as cleanliness, but from a Christian perspective I think it crosses the line. One Character ends up pregnant with the fiance of a friend. He strongly pursued her, and she feels guilty afterward, but she also wrestles with feelings for him even after they’re each married separately but he continues to pursue her (however they only technically have a one-night stand). Moral issues aside, the physical romance is mostly clean, but a few sentences could fall above what you would consider clean (ex: gripping a hardened manhood). There was one instance where the Lord’s name is taken in vain and I remember two or three other instances of cursing. So while the language is mostly clean, it’s not completely.