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Sunflower Sisters: A Novel Audiobook, by Martha Hall Kelly Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Martha Hall Kelly Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Jenna Lamia, Saskia Maarleveld, Martha Hall Kelly, Shayna Small, various narrators Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Caroline Ferriday Novels Release Date: March 2021 ISBN: 9781984845429
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Martha Hall Kelly’s million-copy bestseller Lilac Girls introduced readers to Caroline Ferriday. Now, in Sunflower Sisters, Kelly tells the story of Ferriday’s ancestor Georgeanna Woolsey, a Union nurse during the Civil War whose calling leads her to cross paths with Jemma, a young enslaved girl who is sold off and conscripted into the army, and Anne-May Wilson, a Southern plantation mistress whose husband enlists.

Georgeanna “Georgey” Woolsey isn’t meant for the world of lavish parties and the demure attitudes of women of her stature. So when war ignites the nation, Georgey follows her passion for nursing during a time when doctors considered women on the battlefront to be a bother. In proving them wrong, she and her sister Eliza venture from New York to Washington, DC, and to Gettysburg and witness the unparalleled horrors of slavery as they become involved in the war effort.

In the South, Jemma is enslaved on the Peeler Plantation in Maryland, where she lives with her mother and father. Her sister, Patience, is enslaved on the plantation next door, and both live in fear of LeBaron, an abusive overseer who tracks their every move. When Jemma is sold by the cruel plantation mistress Anne-May at the same time the Union army comes through, she sees a chance to finally escape—but only by abandoning the family she loves.

Anne-May is left behind to run Peeler Plantation when her husband joins the Union army and her cherished brother enlists with the Confederates. In charge of the household, she uses the opportunity to follow her own ambitions and is drawn into a secret Southern network of spies, finally exposing herself to the fate she deserves.

Inspired by true accounts, Sunflower Sisters provides a vivid, detailed look at the Civil War experience, from the barbaric and inhumane plantations, to a war-torn New York City, to the horrors of the battlefield. It’s a sweeping story of women caught in a country on the brink of collapse, in a society grappling with nationalism and unthinkable racial cruelty, a story still so relevant today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “From Southern spies to nurses on the northern battlefields, Sunflower Sisters weaves an exquisite tapestry of women determined to defy the molds the world has for them. The journeys of Jemma and the Woolsey sisters will have readers celebrating those who came before us, who fought for what they knew was right, and became timeless women ahead of their times.”

    Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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About the Author

Martha Hall Kelly is a native New Englander now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where she’s writing the prequel to Lilac Girls. This is her first novel.

About the Narrators

Cassandra Campbell has won multiple Audie Awards, Earphones Awards, and the prestigious Odyssey Award for narration. She was been named a “Best Voice” by AudioFile magazine and in 2018 was inducted in Audible’s inaugural Narrator Hall of Fame.

Jenna Lamia is an actress and award-winning audiobook narrator. She has won the prestigious Audie Award, as well as more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her narration of The Book of Polly was named a 2018 Outstanding Audiobook Narration by RUSA. She narrated Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which won a YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults award, and Carol Lynch Williams’ The Chosen One, for which she received the 2010 Audie Award for Best Female Solo Narration. She has appeared on and off-Broadway, and her acting credits include appearances on Oz, Law & Order: SVU, and NYPD Blue. She has attended Amherst College, New York University, and the Sorbonne in Paris.

Saskia Maarleveld is an experienced voice-over actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Raised in New Zealand and France, she is highly skilled with accents and dialects, and many of her books have been narrated entirely in accents other than her own. In addition to audiobooks, her voice can be heard in animation, video games, and commercials.

Shayna Small is an actress, singer, and educator based in New York, where she received her BFA in Drama from the Juilliard School. She has worked across a variety of media including theater, film and tv, music and voice-over.

Michael Curran-Dorsano is a voice talent and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator.