Growing up, my family moved a lot. Throughout the upheaval, the one constant in my life was my sisters. Each time we went to a new school in a new town in a new state, they were there with me, lending their support. We knew that, no matter what, we were in it together.
Because I have been blessed with such special siblings, I wanted to read a historical novel about two sisters whose bond sustained them through adversity.
The Orphan Sisters, the debut novel of author Shirley Dickson, opens in 1929. Dorothy, age 8, and Etty, age 4, are rushing down the street with their mother, suitcases swinging by their sides. Etty thinks they are going someplace special but soon realizes that this is one trip she never wanted to take. Because their widowed mother can longer provide for her daughters, she places them in an orphanage and walks away forever.
In a strange place surrounded by strangers, the girls realize that they can only rely on each other. As the years go by, their sisterhood sustains and strengthens them. By 1940, both girls, now grown, are ready to face the world, together.
Unfortunately, the world is in turmoil. England is embroiled in a war with Germany. The sound of air raid sirens and exploding bombs fill their air. Although both women find love, they also suffer great loss. But despite the pervasive pain that permeates their lives, these sisters persevere. They still have each other… but for how long?
A compelling read, The Orphan Sisters pulled me in and would not let me go. I stood alongside these sisters, celebrating in their joys and sharing in their pains. Bittersweet and enduring, this novel’s characters stayed with me long after I had finished the final page.