Monday, July 28, 2014

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

The Lost Sisterhood
by Anne Fortier
Read: March 7 - 12, 2014
Published: March 11, 2014 by Ballantine Books
Source: ALA
Category: Adult, History re-imagined, Dual story lines, Amazons, Greeks

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

The Lost Sisterhood is the new novel from the author of Juliet, an Oprah's Book Club Pick published in 30 countries which has been picked up by Universal to be made into a feature film. The Lost Sisterhood tells the story of Diana, a young and aspiring--but somewhat aimless--professor at Oxford. Her fascination with the history of the Amazons, the legendary warrior women of ancient Greece, is deeply connected with her own family's history; her grandmother in particular. When Diana is invited to consult on an archeological excavation, she quickly realizes that here, finally, may be the proof that the Amazons were real.

The Amazons' "true" story--and Diana's history--is threaded along with this modern day hunt. This historical back-story focuses on a group of women, and more specifically on two sisters, whose fight to survive takes us through ancient Athens and to Troy, where the novel reinvents our perspective on the famous Trojan War.

The Lost Sisterhood features another group of iconic, legendary characters, another grand adventure--you'll see in these pages that Fortier understands the kind of audience she has built with Juliet, but also she's delivering a fresh new story to keep that audience coming back for more.

I haven't read many adult books in the past few years, and whenever I do read one, I feel a tremendous sense of nostalgia for my past reading choices. My goal is to read more adult books this year, and then review them, because I don't do that very well. One of the books that fits in to all of these points is The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier, which I read back in March and am finally taking the time to write about.  

The Lost Sisterhood is Fortier's second book. Her first was Juliet, and though their characters and stories are different, this book again features her classic style. Contemporary heroine investigating the past, with a parallel historical storyline that gives the reader the "real" history. This time we're discovering the Amazons. Each of these story lines informs the other, and each has a love interest in it, though the romances are not the center of the story. 

In The Lost Sisterhood's modern storyline, Diana is an Oxford University professor who has always had a secret fascination with Amazons. When she is asked to consult on an archaeological dig in North Africa that may be connected to this legendary race, she hopes this is the proof she needs to confirm their existence. Beyond shadowy legends, I didn't know anything about the Amazons before starting The Lost Sisterhood. But I love the idea of a group of women warriors, and I fell hard for Myrina and these women who were fighting against a very male dominated world. And I could definitely understand Diana's excitement as she discovered more and more hints about their past lives. 

I was a history major in college and the prospect of finding out what really happened never fails to capture my attention. I love shifting through the myths and popular opinions to find out what is true, especially when that search makes me think a little bit differently about history. In this case, I definitely saw the Greeks in a different light. We mostly think about them from their own point of view - praising their mythology, and advancements, and being fascinated by their culture. But in this book we get to see how others at the time were affected by them, and sometimes in not so nice ways. We also witness some well known historical events in a different way. 

I was quite interested in the discussion about cultural restitution and repatriation in this story as well. The idea that objects that were excavated from countries like Greece and taken to museums in other places, should be returned to their countries of origin. Who actually owns these artifacts - the people who found and took them from their resting places, or the land where they came from? It is a complex ongoing debate in the museum and archaeological world today. I was a little surprised and disappointed that Diana began the book so closed minded about the subject. She make it sound like those asking for restitution of objects are all bullies and crooks. But as the story continues and she get to know Nick better, she begins to see that it is not a black and white discussion at all. 

This book was a lot of fun to read, although it was a little lengthy at times. I connected better to Myrina's character and romance than Diana's, even though she was from an ancient culture, but I enjoyed both women's adventures. Some elements in the story were far fetched, and the romance got a little sappy near the end. But I had such fun traveling through history and the world, discovering artifacts and secrets of the past. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 


  1. OH!!! I love when it's not just something from like.. 1790 or something, it's actually something to do with more complicated history and mythology. Amazons though? Love that this is tackled! Yeah, history is written by the winners after all! Not every nation and culture is purely good, I don't believe that for a second. At leeast Diana got character growth and opened her mind, so all's good. I'm glad you enjoyed this so much as a whole :)

  2. I like these kinds of books where there are parallel story lines, one featuring current day and the other the past. I also like stories where you learn something. I enjoy historical plot lines, so I think I would really like this. I definitely need to check this one out. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Lauren.
    Lovely review!

  3. Grr!! Stupid interwebz ate my comment. ANYwAY, as I was saying before I was so rudely cut off, the Amazons are a fascinating race and I would have jumped at the chance to go study them.

  4. I'm always impressed when authors tackle uncommon histories. All-too-often I find it's either Scottish or French or English folk lore and background in historical fiction novels so Amazonian history is certainly a breath of fresh air. Onto the TBR this is going for sure. Thanks for introducing me to this one, Lauren, and fantastic review as always! :)

  5. I am SO glad to see you enjoyed this one too, Lauren. I have always been fascinated by ancient history which was why I was so excited when I heard about this one! I definitely enjoyed some of the different takes on history (although I was a little upset about the whole Helen of Troy thing .-.). And I think it's quite important you mention the whole debate about who the artifacts belong to. Personally, I've never given it much thought except for getting really excited about the idea of getting to see these things from the past in museums but when this book brought that topic up, I found myself thinking about it and wondering. I am not sure there will ever be a right decision because there are so many pros and cons but.. it was interesting to see that featured.

    LOVELY review, Lauren!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  6. Nice to see you enjoyed this, Lauren. It does sound like fascinating with the parallel story lines. I always like delving into histories when they're more of a personal story or snippet from the past rather than a bird's eye view of what happened as a whole. I'm can't say that I really like Greek mythology, though. They always revolve around horribly selfish gods and tragic endings. I really have no knowledge of the Amazons, but it would be interesting to learn more about powerful women in a male dominated society. Lovely review! :)

  7. It's interesting when authors get creative with history and use a parallel universe to bring a time period and their own stories to life; usually, it's an entertaining way to learn! Myrina sounds like a fabulous character to get to know, especially because she's "on the other side of the story." I'm so glad you had fun with this, Lauren! I can't wait to see which adult novel you tackle next; though I don't think this is for me, your next read might inspire me to reach for a more mature read. Gosh, I haven't done that in ages!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

  8. Um...a reinvention of the story of the Amazons? I'm sold. Like you, I'm a sucker for a good story that forces us to reevaluate our knowledge of past events and people. It also sounds like the book brings up a lot of fascinating questions in general.
    And I totally know what you mean about reading adult books after having read YA so exclusively - I've been feeling the same. I hope you can continue to read the occasional adult novel. They're a nice break to have. :)


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