As you probably know by now, my upcoming book, Band of Sisters, is about the Smith College Relief Unit, eighteen determined Smith alums who went off to the front during World War I to bring aid to French villagers on the front lines, women and children whose homes had been destroyed by the Germans.

So I thought it might be fun to share some pictures and snippets about what the Smithies were doing at this time of year back in 1917….

Here’s what the Smith College Relief Unit were doing in October of 1917. (Spoiler: not trick-or-treating.)

By October, the women of the Smith College Relief Unit were settled into their headquarters at the ruined chateau at Grecourt (pictured below)…

…distributing milk and basic necessities and working to get schools up and running (see adorable French schoolchildren, pictured below)…

…offering medical care, and driving around in the deep, deep mud of the Somme with their little traveling store (also pictured below).

They’d had some serious drama (not pictured below, and, no, I’m not telling you what; you’ll have to read about it in the book), but they were hanging in there and doggedly trying to make it work….

They reported home that the rainy season had begun and that the temperature was like Greenland at night– but that they’d had a steady stream of “French, British, and Americans for tea in the afternoon– Quakers, engineers, cavalry, aviators, and civilians– it was killing and our guest book looks as if we were collecting signatures!”

But can the women keep going as the rain– and the shells– continue to fall?

Band of Sisters is available for pre-order from your favorite local bookseller or your favorite non-local bookseller.  Or even a bookseller who’s not quite your favorite, but just happens to be there and sell books.

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