In "Band of Sisters", Maureen and Katie O'Reilly leave their troubles in Ireland for America, hoping to claim a Civil War promise that the wealthy Colonel Wakefield made to their deceased father - that he would care for them as a benefactor. Their journey simply to make it to America isn't an easy one, so it is devastating, to say the least, to arrive only to find out that Colonel Wakefield is dead and his family have no knowledge or intention to follow through on his word.
Older sister Maureen takes some less than honest steps to secure employment and shelter for she and her sister, and her pride coupled with sincere fear prevents her from receiving help from kind strangers as well as a long time friend from Ireland. Katie begins to be rebellious (I had a hard time wanting to read about her activities because she frustrated me; I found her quite unlikeable) and this complicates Maureen's efforts to keep her safe. Maureen soon discovers that the well respected store she works for is a front for human trafficking and no one is safe. Colonel Wakefield's daughter Olivia is a strong and in my opinion, a very likeable character and she plays a major role in this story as well.
This book is a wonderful commentary - not only on the culture and temperature of the times it is set in (New York in the early 1900's I believe) but has lasting current impact today. There are still women in slavery in present day America and around the world, and I believe this book only contributes to positive awareness. This is not my first book of Cathy Gohlke's and it will not be my last. I can easily give this book a strong positive review (perhaps not complete raves in every aspect but definitely positive!)