Arden Recommends: Secret Sisters by Joy Calloway

Book: Secret Sisters

Author: Joy Callaway

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction

IMG_1120.JPGBasic Description: Illinois, 1881: Whitsitt College sophomore Beth Carrington has two goals to fulfill by the time she graduates: obtain a medical degree, and establish a women’s fraternity, Beta Xi Beta, that will help young women like herself to connect with and support one another while attending the male-dominated Whitsitt.

Neither is an easy task. The sole female student in the physicians’ program, Beth is constantly called out by her professors and peers for having the audacity not to concentrate on a more “fitting” subject like secretarial studies. Meanwhile, secret organizations are off-limits, and simply by crowding together in a dank basement room and creating a sense of camaraderie, she and her small group of fraternity sisters risk expulsion.

Arden’s Thoughts: Okay. If you have followed me at all (which, you should be following all the time) you know I LURVE Joy’s first book, The Fifth Avenue Artist SocietyIt speaks to me in ways very few books can because I am Ginny, Fifth Avenue‘s protagonist.

I’m also a proud Kappa Delta, a member of the Beta Chi chapter out of UNC-Chapel Hill. So, reading Secret Sisters felt a bit like returning to my pledge year at Carolina. Reading Beth’s struggles with owning her space within the male dominated physician program, in which she’s constantly told she cannot perform at a male level because her menstruation cycle interferes with her ability to think, while she also embraces her femininity by falling in love, resonates soundly with me.

I could see myself back at the KD house studying for an exam while also dreaming of a boy. The beauty, and complexity, of being a woman often means chasing two or three dreams at once and not being at all willing to give up any of them.

Secret Sisters also resonates with me in the here and now.

Ladies, can we admit, it’s flipping hard being a woman? Regardless if you’re a sorority gal, you mostly likely travel with a few tribe members who make life beautiful and also doable. From your book club members who are also your back-up carpool calls, to your board room bosses who are also your happy hour buddies, we women work better when we work together.

Joy captures the building of a tribe in the captivating and beautifully written Secret Sisters. I love seeing women working together to beat the odds. We need more books showing us how to stand together. I’m proud of my friend who always writes these books and lives them out in her daily life.

Yep. You read that right. I get to be friends with Joy. Do you wanna meet this rad author in person? She’ll be hosting a book launch party July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Park Crossing Clubhouse, 10201 Park Crossing Dr, Charlotte, NC 28210 and you’re invited. See you there!





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