- Written By: Margaret Dilloway
- Published By: Putnam Adult, April 7, 2015
- Length: 400 pages
- Source: E galley via Edelweiss with permission from publisher
Summary: Rachel and Drew Snow may be sisters, but their lives have followed completely different paths.
Married to a wonderful man and a mother to two strong-minded teens, Rachel hasn’t returned to her childhood home since being kicked out by her strict father after an act of careless teenage rebellion. Drew, her younger sister, followed her passion for music but takes side jobs to make ends meet and longs for the stability that has always eluded her. Both sisters recall how close they were, but the distance between them seems more than they can bridge. When their deferential Japanese mother, Hikari, is diagnosed with dementia and gives Rachel power of attorney, Rachel’s domineering father, Killian becomes enraged.
In a rare moment of lucidity, Hikari asks Rachel for a book in her sewing room, and Rachel enlists her sister’s help in the search. The book—which tells the tale of real-life female samurai Tomoe Gozen, an epic saga of love, loss, and conflict during twelfth-century Japan—reveals truths about Drew and Rachel’s relationship that resonate across the centuries, connecting them in ways that turn their differences into assets.
My Thoughts: I didn’t have a long term plan to read this book, but while browsing Edelweiss one night I downloaded the e galley and began reading this dual story narrative. It’s my first book by the author Margaret Dilloway, but it won’t be my last.
I was drawn to the story for many reasons, the first was Rachel’s relationship with her family, being ostracized at a young age is an awful fate, but I had seen one of my own sisters make a similar decision. I loved how her mother kept a relationship with her and now that her mother is ill she’s given Rachel her medical power of attorney and also directed her to an old book she’s left for her daughters.
Drew, the younger sister ever searching for the right path in life is like so many young people. While learning about each sister and how their upbringing had molded them into the women they are now, I felt so sorry for Drew. Her home was cold, and when Rachel left she was left alone. I was hopeful the sisters would find there way back to loving and trusting each other. Their father, Killian is a man with no redeeming value. He is a powerful and demanding man, he views anyone who thinks different than himself as an enemy and cuts them out of his life. The author wrote him as if he were an ancient evil warlord, very appropriate. He attempts to hold secrets and betrayal over his now adult daughters. He has no idea what he’s up against.
The Japanese talesof Tomoe Gozen was difficult for me at first, but once I began to understand how she was so powerful as a woman in a time when men had all the power I began to become drawn to this part of the book. I was able to see the relationship similarities between the Rachel and Drew, and ancient tales. Dilloway has brilliantly woven the stories of these warrior women.
I highly recommend this book, for women, for sisters, for lovers of history, for anyone who feel like an underdog. You can learn more about Margaret Dilloway and her other books on her website.