Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 Book 76: SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW by Margaret Dilloway

Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway 
ISBN: 9780399170805 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780425279212 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780698160712 (ebook)
ASIN: B00L9B8650 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: March 15, 2016  
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons


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.

On the surface, Rachel and Drew Snow had a fabulous family: a charming and doting father as well as a loving mother that was always there for them. Appearances are often deceiving, as their father was often verbally and emotionally abusive and their mother never stood up for her children. Twenty years have passed and now Rachel and Drew are brought together in their quest to help their mother deal with dementia and uncover secrets of her past in Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway.

As a teenager, it was presumed that Rachel Snow might one day make it to the Olympics as a swimmer. Her father was proud of her accomplishments and praised her abilities until an injury permanently sidelined her from competition. She then began to act out and was eventually thrown out of her parent's home at the tender age of seventeen. Drew was considered the quiet child and once her idolized older sister was gone, she made no effort to rock the boat. Drew immersed herself in music, but always knew she could count on financial support from her father as long as she behaved appropriately. Neither Rachel nor Drew know anything about their mother's life in Japan, how she wound up becoming a mail-order bride, or why she stayed with such an abusive partner for all those years. All that changes when Rachel launches a legal battle against her father to continue his financial support for his wife, her mother, as she suffers from dementia. One of the things Rachel and Drew uncover is a handwritten book detailing the life of Tomoe Gozen, an onnamusha (a female warrior) and concubine in 12th-century Japan, as well as that of Yamabuki Gozen (her sister wife). Rachel and Drew have this book translated and try to find out the meaning it has for their mother. Can they uncover the true meaning of this book entitled "Sister of Heart" before it is too late?

As most of you know by now, I enjoy reading stories that blend historical elements with a contemporary timeline. Sisters of Heart and Snow provides a fascinating fictionalized glimpse into the lives of two amazing women from 12th-century feudal Japan, one that is perceived as pampered and cultured and the other seen as a fierce warrior. The more that is revealed, the more the reader realizes that both women are warriors in their own right and that Rachel and Drew exhibit qualities from both of these warrior women. I found Sisters of Heart and Snow to be a fast-paced and engrossing read that provides dysfunctional family drama, a bit of romance, sibling rivalry, and a search for purpose. This is one of those books that provides such great information on historical figures that I now want to learn more about the history of the warrior geisha (fortunately, Ms. Dilloway provides a bibliography for additional reading). If you enjoy reading historical fiction or contemporary family dramas, then you'll want to add Sisters of Heart and Snow to your TBR list. I enjoyed reading Sisters of Heart and Snow so much I'll be recommending it to my local book groups as a future group read.

Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Meet the author:

(c) Saflower Photography

Margaret Dilloway is the author of How to Be an American Housewife, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, and a middle-grade fantasy series which Disney-Hyperion is publishing on April 5, 2016 beginning with Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their three children.










Enter to win 1 of 3 print copies of Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway courtesy of the publisher using the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway runs from 12:01 AM ET 3/13/2016 through 11:59 PM ET on 3/20/2016 and is open to US residents only. The winners will be announced on or after 3/21/2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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