Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel

Hi all,

I'm a bit of a history buff so I am always thrilled to find an interesting novel about the Civil War. Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel mixes fiction with historical fact - which I love. Here is more about the book and my thoughts.
Sister of Mine: A Novel

Sabra Waldfogel


Book Description:

When two Union soldiers stumble onto a plantation in northern Georgia on a warm May day in 1864, the last thing they expect is to see the Union flag flying high—or to be greeted by a group of freed slaves and their Jewish mistress. Little do they know that this place has an unusual history.

Twelve years prior, Adelaide Mannheim—daughter of Mordecai, the only Jewish planter in the county—was given her own maid, a young slave named Rachel. The two became friends, and soon they discovered a secret: Mordecai was Rachel’s father, too.

As the country moved toward war, Adelaide and Rachel struggled to navigate their newfound sisterhood—from love and resentment to betrayal and, ultimately, forgiveness.

Now, facing these Union soldiers as General Sherman advances nearer, their bond is put to the ultimate test. Will the plantation be spared? Or will everything they’ve lived for be lost?

Revised edition: Previously published as Slave and Sister, this edition of Sister of Mine: A Novel includes editorial revisions.

Lake Union Publishing

Publish Date: March 22, 2016

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My 5 Star Review:

In 1852, young Adelaide Mannheim is given a gift – her own slave. The two young girls bond quickly and Adelaide teaches the slave, Rachel, reading and math skills. As they grow, however, they soon learn a secret: Adelaide and Rachel are half-sisters. But while one was born into privilege, the other was born a slave.

As the years pass, the two girls grow into women and find their relationship with each other difficult. Adelaide sees nothing wrong in slavery because it’s been considered normal all her life. Rachel, however, craves to be free of her bonds, free to love, free to marry and have children not born into slavery. When Adelaide finds herself in a loveless marriage, she slowly becomes jealous of her sister who her husband seems to favor. And when he goes off to war, it is up to the two sisters to manage the plantation together. But can they navigate their relationship in these changing times?

Sister of Mine is an intriguing novel that draws the reader in and holds their interest to the end. The characters are well-developed and considering there are many, this is a great accomplishment. I was impressed with the historically accurate details and how the author so successfully managed to show Rachel’s love/hate relationship with her sister. This is a not-to-be-missed novel for those who enjoy civil war stories.

(I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)


About the Author:

Sabra Waldfogel grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but has always been fascinated by the drama of slavery and freedom in the South, before and after the Civil War. She studied history at Harvard University and received her PhD in American history from the University of Minnesota. Since then, she has worked as a technical writer and has written about historic architecture for Old House Journal and Arts and Crafts Homes. Waldfogel’s short story “Yemaya” appeared in Sixfold’s Winter 2013 fiction issue. In her free time, she collects and sells antiques with her husband. Sister of Mine is her first novel.




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