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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Kristin Fulton's historical novel Sisters of the Soul is about the lifelong bond between Elizabeth Dumond and Sophie Washington. The story begins in Louisiana in 1837 and ends in California in 1906. Elizabeth is the adopted daughter of Hugo and Lucille Laurent of the Sweetbrier Plantation in Louisiana. Sophie is a slave in the Laurent household. Elizabeth and Sophie grow up as sisters and friends. The lives of both women are shattered in brutal and humiliating ways by Bert Laurent who inherits his parents' estate. The women flee from Sweetbrier. Elizabeth's experience in horse-riding, hunting and fishing, and Sophie’s field skills and cooking enable them to survive their trek westwards to California. In San Francisco, their Wayside Inn prospers. Sophie lives for some years in Canada with Elizabeth's daughter Rose and her husband. A family tragedy brings Rose and her daughter Aurora to San Francisco to be reunited with Elizabeth and Sophie.
I loved Kristin Fulton's novel Sisters of the Soul because of the strong characters and how the author centers her story around the bond between Elizabeth and Sophie even as they face life’s turbulent challenges and difficult choices. I liked Fulton’s vivid writing as she describes the tension and dramatic changes on the plantation through another strong character: the vicious and brutal Bert Laurent. Fulton writes imaginatively of the women's journey to California, their courage and fear. I enjoyed the themes of love and forgiveness that run through the story even as characters have bitter quarrels and drift apart. I liked the honesty and frankness between Elizabeth and Sophie. Fulton has created a very loving and perceptive character in Sophie, and she is the key to the mother-daughter reconciliation. A deeply moving tale indeed!