Band of Sisters–Strong Characters

Romantic Times reviewed Band of Sisters (4 and ½ stars), saying:  Gohlke has written a wonderful book about the power of being a woman and what a group of women can do when they work together.  The characters are strong, not only in body but in mind; they are charming, witty, and some even have a little bit of devil in them.  Gohlke speaks to all females in her writing.

I was thrilled with RT’s review—though that was not the take away I’d expected.  My hope is that this book will challenge us to ask and then act upon the answer to these questions: “What would Jesus do about modern-day slavery?” and “How can I follow in His steps—what can I do to help in a need so desperate?”

Band of Sisters poses and accepts that challenge through a cast of characters set in 1910-1911 Manhattan. Characters, like: Maureen and Katie Rose O’Reilly—sisters fleeing Ireland to escape a shameful past and perilous future; the rakishly handsome and persistent Joshua Keeton who follows them from County Meath to America; Jaime Flynn, who “too gallantly” offers his help at Ellis Island; beautiful Manhattan heiress Olivia Wakefield, who desires purpose in her life more than romance—if only she can convince her doting sister and unscrupulous brother-in-law to stop setting her up; wealthy Curtis Morrow, apparently in publishing and real estate, with deep pockets and a mysterious determination to uncover the frightening world of disappearing women.  And then there are the obvious villains . . . though things are not always as they seem.

Interviewers often ask if Band of Sisters was turned into a movie, which actors do I think might best portray the main characters as I’ve imagined them.  –Always a tricky question for a girl whose head is buried in books.  But here’s my best guess:

Maureen O’Reilly is striking—tall, slim, with thick, flaming red hair (tendrils escaping), and haunting green eyes in a thin face.  Victoria Smurfit, who played Hannah Randall in “Berkeley Square” could play Maureen’s role perfectly.

Joshua Keeton is also tall, broad-shouldered, with black, thick curls, dark blue eyes, and the ruddy complexion of a man who’s worked outdoors all his life.  Perhaps Hugh Dancy could play his role.

 Olivia Wakefield is lovely, with dark upswept hair and brown eyes.  She’s intelligent, with a quiet and cultured but determined air about her.  I think Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abby, would be perfect.

 Curtis Morrow is tall, slim, serious, with dark brown eyes, curling dark hair, and alabaster skin.  Perhaps Jamie Bamber could fill his role.

Once you read the book you might have other actors in mind.  If so, I’d love to hear!

Story characters emerge from time and place—organic elements that spring from historical research—which we’ll talk about next week.  They are authentic to me, so like real people who I half expect to meet on the post office steps or in the grocery store.  I know their inmost thoughts, their motives behind facial expressions and body language, have even overheard their prayers.

And yet I meet real people who are a complete mystery to me.  Why is that?  Is that just the way things are or is it a writer’s occupational hazard?  What do you think?

The calendar has turned and school is in session.  The weather is still warm, but I’m thinking of teachers’ desks and bright red apples.  Let’s brew some spiced apple tea.  We’ll pour it over tall tumblers filled with ice and take a late summer stroll through the garden.

Enjoy today!  Looking forward to meeting you here, in the garden, next week.

God’s rich blessings for you,


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  • Band of Sisters is next on my list for Tyndale Tour. I knew I wanted to read this book before the tour was even announced. So anxious to get it read. I have heard many good things about the book.


    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      Thank you for stopping by, Patricia! I’m delighted you’re on the Tyndale Tour, and hope you’ll enjoy and find blessing in “Band of Sisters.” It’s message is one that I hope will resonate with readers.

      God’s blessings for you!

  • Hi Cathy –

    Congrats on the excellent review! It’s well deserved.

    I wouldn’t know where to begin with choosing actors and actresses. I’ve never heard of the ones you mentioned. Yes, my nose is stuck in books too!

    Susan 🙂

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