Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

      Maureen and her sister Katie Rose have no other choice but to flee Ireland and venture to the unknown in America. They endure a long ship voyage and troubles at Ellis Island - the most difficult being the discovery that their benefactor has passed away and his family sends them on their way wanting nothing to do with them.  Maureen manages to procure employment in a department store but soon learns of the secret business that threatens the safety of many unsuspecting young women.  What will Maureen do with this knowledge? Will she help these women or pursue her own American dream? I'm not one to give spoilers so you'll have to read Band of Sisters for yourself to find out what happens.
     I am sorry that this book arrived at the time it did as I was swamped with the beginning of the school year and didn't have the time necessary to focus on reading the book in a few sittings. The premise of Cathy Gohlke's is fantastic but it took me so long to finish the book that I kept losing the flow of the story. I will say that the ending had me on the edge of my seat. This was the first book I've read by Gohlke but I don't think it will be the last.

A Few Thoughts from the Author:
What motivated you to write Band of Sisters?
I’ve always been fascinated by the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement. But I was horrified to learn that there are more than twice as many men, women and children enslaved today than at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This book was born of a passion to end modern-day slavery, and most of all, to ask, “What can I do to help in a need so desperate?”

Band of Sisters takes place in NYC. Do you think human trafficking is limited to large cities?
No. That is why raising awareness of the crime and education re. the methods used by traffickers is so important. Small, rural, isolated or poor communities are targets just as vulnerable as big cities. Traffickers often enter such communities with bogus offers of better jobs, modeling opportunities for young people, and offers for education. But those dreams are crushed when willing applicants are unwittingly sold as sex slaves or used for pornography, with no way to get back to their homes and families. In some cultures, once a girl has been so abused, she is no longer welcome to return to her family, thereby compounding the problem and sense of hopelessness. Education and understanding is desperately needed on all parts.

What spurs your writing?
Writing has become my way of making sense of the world, of putting into perspective the struggles of humanity and of my own—past and present—of trying to see the world as God sees it, as He redeems it by pursuing and claiming one heart at a time. I want to know what gives Him joy, what breaks His heart—those are the stories that matter, the stories that bring me continually closer to Him.
Frederick Buechner expressed it best, “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Finding that place spurs me on.

A thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of Band of Sisters for my reading and review.

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