Sunflower Sisters: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2021
17 hours 50 minutes
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Martha Hall Kelly’s million-copy bestseller Lilac Girls introduced readers to Caroline Ferriday. Now, in Sunflower Sisters, Kelly tells the story of Ferriday’s ancestor Georgeanna Woolsey, a Union nurse during the Civil War whose calling leads her to cross paths with Jemma, a young enslaved girl who is sold off and conscripted into the army, and Anne-May Wilson, a Southern plantation mistress whose husband enlists.

“An exquisite tapestry of women determined to defy the molds the world has for them.”—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

Georgeanna “Georgey” Woolsey isn’t meant for the world of lavish parties and the demure attitudes of women of her stature. So when war ignites the nation, Georgey follows her passion for nursing during a time when doctors considered women on the battlefront a bother. 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 Plantation 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.
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Carol M.

After reading Lilac Girls and Lost Roses, I looked forward to this latest work. It did not disappoint. Like the previous novels, Sunflower Sisters follows the lives of four women including one of the Ferriday lineage. Their lives intermingle while telling the story of the Civil War from the perspectives of these women. What really struck me was the authors note at the end that explained how Martha Hall Kelly came upon actual writings of the Ferridays that confirm much of what was included in the story. A truly amazing read. The only thing I would say that could be improved are the narrators attempts to narrate the male voices.

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Good story, and true to the Woolsey story. Needs to have a warning for content, as it deals with SA and graphic violence.

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Sabra G.

Like others, I have enjoyed these historically based novels. They took me through a range of emotions.

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Amanda B.

Great historical novel. I enjoyed the three book series so much! Highly recommend, and the narrators were all fantastic, in my opinion...

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Cyn K.

I had unfulfilled expectations for this book. It's okay, and I definitely appreciate the understanding that so much of it is drawn from actual historical accounts, but in the end I found some of the characters too unbelievable and unlikeable, namely Georgie (the heroine) and Anne-May (the villainess). Georgie was too perfect, too pure, too flawless and Anne-May was just the opposite, too mean, too conniving and too vindictive. Anne-May had no redeeming qualities, and Georgie had no flaws. My favorite was Jemma whose story struck me as much more authentic than the other two women. I felt the narrators did a good job reading, and frankly, they're the reason I kept going because the story line bored me to great extent.

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Enjoyed this and it’s two companion books. If you like historical fiction you will appreciate all 3 of these books.

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Marti B.

It's a great story. I liked it better than Lilac Girls and The Lost Roses.

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Deborah K.

Fascinating story.

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