Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier


From the author of the New York Times bestseller Juliet comes a mesmerizing novel about a young scholar who risks her reputation—and her life—on a thrilling journey to prove that the legendary warrior women known as the Amazons actually existed.

Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan is an expert on Greek mythology. Her obsession with the Amazons started in childhood when her eccentric grandmother claimed to be one herself—before vanishing without a trace. Diana’s colleagues shake their heads at her Amazon fixation. But then a mysterious, well-financed foundation makes Diana an offer she cannot refuse.

Traveling to North Africa, Diana teams up with Nick Barran, an enigmatic Middle Eastern guide, and begins deciphering an unusual inscription on the wall of a recently unearthed temple. There she discovers the name of the first Amazon queen, Myrina, who crossed the Mediterranean in a heroic attempt to liberate her kidnapped sisters from Greek pirates, only to become embroiled in the most famous conflict of the ancient world—the Trojan War. Taking their cue from the inscription, Diana and Nick set out to find the fabled treasure that Myrina and her Amazon sisters salvaged from the embattled city of Troy so long ago. Diana doesn’t know the nature of the treasure, but she does know that someone is shadowing her, and that Nick has a sinister agenda of his own. With danger lurking at every turn, and unsure of whom to trust, Diana finds herself on a daring and dangerous quest for truth that will forever change her world.

Sweeping from England to North Africa to Greece and the ruins of ancient Troy, and navigating between present and past, The Lost Sisterhood is a breathtaking, passionate adventure of two women on parallel journeys, separated by time, who must fight to keep the lives and legacy of the Amazons from being lost forever.


***ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***

I haven't read Anne Fortier's previous work Juliet, but a friend of mine said that it was one of her all time favorite books. I requested a copy of The Lost Sisterhood based on that recommendation of the author.  I didn't read the description or anything else about it before I started reading.  So, I had no idea what to expect & it kept me guessing all the way to the end.  

The Lost Sisterhood is quite a bit different than the books that I usually read.  It is essentially two parallel stories.  In the frame story, we meet Diana Morgan, a philologist who is guest lecturing at Oxford University. Her focus is on the legend of the Amazon women.  Even though she has been mocked throughout her career for believing that there is truth to the legend, she can't fight the feeling she has had since childhood that there is more to the story than anyone knows.  When approached by a mysterious man who offers her a large sum of money in exchange for boarding a plane no questions asked & accompanying him to see "proof" that the Amazon Women existed, she throws caution and all warnings to the side & goes on what could be a journey of a lifetime, or could be the most dangerous, reckless decision she has ever made.

In the companion story, we go back in time to a small village in Northern Africa & meet Myrina as she returns to home from a hunt to find her mother dying. When the villagers accuse her mother of witchcraft, Myrina & her little sister Lilli are forced to escape into the jungle to protect themselves. We follow their journey as Myrina goes from being a lost orphan to a high priestess not only charged with keeping Lilli alive, but also protecting the sisterhood that has taken her in.  

The stories are woven to create a beautiful picture of the past & present coming together.  The mysteries unfold like artifacts an archaeological dig.  As parts are revealed, their meaning isn't always clear until all of the pieces came together in the end.  At over 600 pages, this isn't a quick read, but as the story builds, it is complex & intriguing enough that I didn't want to put it down.  I don't know much about the legend of the Amazons or the other historical moments referenced in the book.  So, I'm not sure how much is truly historical or how much is the author's fantasy, but I liked how the two come together.  

The Lost Sisterhood wasn't the best book I have read this year, but I definitely enjoyed it.  It was a refreshing change of pace from the books I am typically drawn to.  Now, based on my friend's recommendation, as well as my enjoyment of this book, I'll definitely need to check out Juliet!

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