Book review: ‘The Lost Sisterhood’ by Anne Fortier

Posted Sunday, Mar. 09, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
A

The Lost

Sisterhood

* * * * 

by Anne Fortier

Ballantine, $27

Audiobook: Random House Audio, $50; read by actress Cassandra Campbell.

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Let me start by saying that I have a brother. Yes, just one. The only sisterhood I know is the bond I have with other women who are like sisters to me. I can assure you that these bonds are as strong, if not stronger, than blood. So when I sat down to read Anne Fortier’s new novel, The Lost Sisterhood, I had all of my “sisters” in my mind.

This historical fiction is an amazing story of strong women, and two women in particular, who change history.

Diana Morgan is an Oxford philologist with a personal fixation on the legendary mysteries of the Amazons, an all-female nation of fierce warriors. These women are a myth to most, but thanks to Diana’s paternal grandmother, she believes that they may not be fiction at all.

Diana’s grandmother spent most of her adult life locked away in a mental hospital, only to later be housebound in the attic of Diana’s family home. Despite her mother’s and father’s attempts to keep Granny from influencing Diana, the two formed a significant bond. Diana is fascinated by Granny’s tales of the Amazons, and her very realistic memories and drawings.

Fast-forward to adult Diana and her less mysterious life. She is a young, intelligent, single woman battling her way in cutthroat academia. She has lost in love, and only lived a little.

Then one night after a particularly brutal day at the office, Diana is approached by a mysterious man who offers to buy her a drink and whisk her away first-class to Amsterdam. Only he’s not Prince Charming — he works for a foundation that has made a discovery that could prove the Amazons really existed. Despite her misgivings and those of her colleagues, this invitation is one she cannot decline.

Of course, as Diana embarks on the journey of a lifetime, she’ll need some men to mess things up.

First up is the very frustrating Nick Barran, an international man of mystery who works for the foundation. Then there’s her childhood crush, the rich and handsome James Moselane. And finally there’s her father, who never came through with that family history lesson Diana really needed, but couldn’t stop her from getting her hands on Granny’s secret notebook.

Luckily, Diana also has a lifelong bestie, Rebecca, a brilliant archeologist. Bex talks too much and works too hard, and she’s Diana’s “sister” in every sense of the word. As the BFFs team up with Nick to follow the trail of the Amazons, the adventure takes them across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea to what seems like the ends of the earth.

But The Lost Sisterhood is not just Diana’s story. It’s also the story of Myrina, one of the founding members of the Amazons. It is her story that makes the novel. Myrina’s amazing saga includes her younger sister, Lilli, and a band of brave priestesses.

Myrina lives an adventure that sweeps across ancient lands and seas. She endures great love and loss. A story like hers is what makes historical fiction thrilling. The Greeks, the Trojans, pirates, lost cities and mythological feats make for an unforgettable journey.

These two passionate parallel stories are heart-stirring. Myrina and Diana are sisters for the ages.

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