Friday, September 22, 2023

#BookReview of Sisters of the Soul by Kristin A. Fulton

Sisters of the Soul

By: Kristin A. Fulton
Publisher: Broadway Pacific Press
Publication Date: July 20, 2023
ISBN: 979-8988597711
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: September 20, 2023
Author Kristin A. Fulton creates in Sisters of the Soul a historical tapestry that combines the rumors and realities of race, war, and personal triumph as seen in the bonding of two women – one white, one black – in the wake of national conflict seeded in the very issue they embody – human slavery.
Told through the perspective of several of its dynamic characters, Fulton’s tale begins in 1837, in Louisiana, on the Sweetbriar Plantation where the Dumont family has settled. Black maid servant Addie silently observes the often cruel treatment of Lucille Dumont by her domineering spouse Hugo, and the two women become secret allies. This abusive relationship passes on to a future generation when Hugo ruthlessly seduces Fern, an orphaned servant assigned to care for Lucille as she sinks into old age and depression. Fern dies giving birth to Elizabeth, and Lucille feels a divine obligation to take the infant as her own. Lizzie (Elizabeth) and Sophie, Addie’s child, will grow up closely and always companionably.
Hugo and Lucille’s son Bert, imbued with his father’s sinfulness, ravages Lizzie. She retaliates with a murdering maul, and Sophie aids in hiding the body. It’s clearly time now for the two women – Lizzie with child from the rape - to escape to a new life – not only because the law must be evaded, but also because, in the tenor of their mutual but separate worlds, talk of liberation – for slaves, for women – is being sounded. In 1859, they head west in a horse-drawn wagon. Their adventures on the trail comprise the second half of this fascinating family epic. The two determined heroines along with Lizzie’s daughter Rose will face a far different, more promising world than the one they left behind, and will find within themselves new purpose and ambition to live worthwhile lives, justifying their flight from the place they once called home.
Fulton, a practiced wordsmith who has found much worth mining in the book’s geographical settings and timeframes, allows her heroines to speak, each in her special argot. They recall and describe small household happenings against a background of major national upheaval and the burgeoning of significant issues such as slaveholding and women’s rights that will impact them directly over the novel’s span of nearly 100 years. These separate contributions so imaginatively constructed by Fulton reveal the changes each character is experiencing in ideas and emotions, deftly expressing their differing perspectives based around growth, education, travel, and gradually widening world views.
Quill says: Fulton’s women’s epic is absorbing, packed with both action and reflection, and will engage and expand the author’s fan base, presaging more such stirring and thought-provoking sagas.
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