The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan

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What if Dan Brown was a women’s rights activist who’d taken some speed?

He’d probably write a novel like The Sisterhood. The result is quite bonkers.

Let me explain: An American girl Menina breaks up with her fiancé to travel to Spain to finish her art history thesis on an obscure Spanish painter. She ends up in a convent in the hills, housing an old sisterhood of nuns.

Interweaved are stories from the convent’s Chronicle which relates the stories of the nuns and the wrongs they have suffered at the hands of their fathers, guardians and husbands. Some travel to South America to escape the inquisition. There are also subplots about Catholic bounty hunters, incas and a human trafficking gang.

This all culminates in a huge revelation about the nature of the Catholic Church and the central importance of women.

I enjoyed it in a way- it wasn’t boring. But I did find it hard to see where it was going- too many coincidences, too many strands, too many themes. Menina is too perfect and bland. Plus the ending is bizarre.

Anyway, sometimes you just need some escapism, and we don’t all have access to a convent.

Read: On the beach, with an eye on the book but mostly on your cocktail

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