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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Secret Sisters by Joy Callaway

Publication Date: July 11th 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

Beth Carrington is a sophomore at Whitsitt College, Illinois. She's the only female student attempting to major in medicine and begin her career as a physician- not a nurse. Beth is constantly surrounded by a sea of men, as the sole woman in all her classes.

  Beth has discoverd that although society is much more liberal in the 1880's than it was before, women studying male-dominated courses such as law, architecture and medicine are still frowned upon. To establish a closer connection between these isolated women, she sets out to create a women's fraternity.

Joined in her mission by three other women, Beth reaches out to a powerful senior who is also the president of the campus' only fraternity- Iota Gamma. Mr. Richardson makes clear his disdain for this "suffrage" movement, but due to his captivation by Beth he agrees to help the girls anyway.

What follows is a deeply moving story about the struggle for recognition, the passion and ambition of young students, the tangled relationships that further blossom, and a great depiction of life in an antiquated society.

 I have to commend Joy Callaway on- before the multitude of other things I'd love to commend her for- her impeccable ability to paint emotions onto the page. As each of the characters struggle with their own problems, they are all given equal importance regardless of the fact that the narration is in Beth's point of view.

 Callaway clearly allows the readers to see the flaws in her characters, developing them through the novel, yet never rendering them to perfection. Her miraculous ability to write as though she were a ghost from the past translates evidently in her plot and in the traditionalist statements of many of the minor characters.

The feminism that is rooted deep in the plot of this novel shines as both a minor and a major theme. On the one hand, it is everything that the characters fight for. On the other, it is a part of their subconscious rather than a very conscious movement at the beginning of the novel. I appreciated this transformation and its subtlety.

 I'd recommend this novel to anyone who has a feminist ideology and has ever suffered for it. If you're a fan of historical fiction- this book is definitely one for you! Most importantly, this book is suited to anyone who is a fan of literature, for this book is nothing less than classic literature.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this review. 


  1. I do not pick up enough historical fiction. It sounds like this one showcases a really strong bond between its female characters which I really love to see. Just wanted to stop on by and let you know that I'm really looking forward to our partnership for the Summer 2017 Comment Challenge for July :)

    1. Hi Alicia! Thanks so much for stopping by- even if you're not a fan of historical fiction, this is definitely a book I think you'd enjoy!

      I'm looking forward to the July challenge as well!

  2. Thank you so much for this lovely lovely review! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed it! :) :)
    - Joy

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Joy! You don't know how much that means to me!

      P.S.- I really loved the book (if you couldn't tell from the review)!

  3. I love historical fiction and this sounds wonderful. I hadn't heard of the book before so thanks for bringing it to my attention. Excellent review!


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