It is 1944 in war-ravaged London. Freya and Shona are identical twins, very close despite their different characters. Freya is a newly qualified doctor tending to the injured in a London hospital, while Shona has been recruited by the SOE. The sisters are so physically alike that they can fool people into thinking that one is the other. It’s a game they’ve played since childhood. But when Shona persuades her twin to swap roles to meet her Polish lover, he is angered at being tricked.
Then Shona poses a far more dangerous swapping of roles. At first Freya refuses but finally she agrees, with consequences so dangerous that they threaten not only the happpiness but the lives of both sisters.
Forty-five years later in November 1989 Freya, now aged 69, is watching television with her daughter Kirsty. Freya is gripped as she witnessed crowds of Breliners attempting to knock down their hated Wall. This sight stirs long buried memories of her own and her sister’s war, and of events in wartime Poland – memories that she has never shared with anyone. Even if she wanted to reveal them now, she couldn’t. She’s suffering from a brain tumour and is unable to speak although her reasoning is unimpaired. And this is what she’s thinking: if they suceed in knocking down the Wall, what secrets will come tumbling through? If her own were revealed, it would be devastating for all those close to her, especially her daughter.
Thanks firstly to Ella at Quercus for making contact and inviting me to be involved in the Social Media blast for Sisterhood which published on Thursday and for providing me with a finished hardback copy of the book. The premise appealed to me, I enjoy historical fiction and the second world war I particularly like reading about.
This book was original and unique, told in a then and now format the story of Dr Freya Grant when she first qualified as a Doctor in 1944 and then aged 69 in 1989 watching the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suffering with a teminal brain tumor, Freya is mute, her daughter Kirsty is keen to learn her story following an unexpected visit from a Polish man with a photograph of Freya’s twin Shona, with his mum who died when he was a child.
The story was fascinating detailing undercover work with Poland to try to liberate them from what became the Eastern Bloc regime. This work was secret and a part of her mother’s past that Kirsty knew nothing about. I enjoyed equally the different time periods of the book, Kirsty’s story was interesting as she was caring for her mother whilst grappling with her own difficult decisions as well as trying to forge links about her mother’s past. The wartime story was gripping and I found myself absorbed in the lives and loves of Freya and Shona.
The story was excellently executed, rich in detail, mysterious, romantic and sad. All the ingredients necessary for brilliant historical fiction and I was impressed at how much was packed into this 356 page book. I finished this book feeling slightly bereft at the end of my journey with these characters. I had learnt some more about this time period, knowing nothing about the Warsaw Uprising prior to reading this.
Very highly recommended, glorious historical fiction, rich, absorbing and a compelling story within. Available to buy now.
About the Author
V.B Grey is the pseudonym of the acclaimed television screenwriter and crime novelist Isabelle Grey. A former arts journalist and feature writer, she has written for film, radio and television, contributing episodes to Jimmy McGovern’s award winning BBC series Accused. She is the author of two novels of psychological suspense and four books in a contemporary crime series under her own name.
Isabelle grew up in Manchester and now lives in north London.
This is a social media blast celebrating publication of Sisterhood. Details of who else is involved are below so do check out what they are saying and as always, please do share on social media. Thank you.