BAND OF SISTERS Reader’s Guide

You may have noticed that I really, really loved researching Band of Sisters.  The letters the Smith College Relief Unit sent home from the front were so full of all sorts of details and anecdotes about their daily life in the Somme.  And it wasn’t just the letters!  There were also photos and maps and doggerel poems….

I wish I could have crammed everything into the Reader’s Guide, but since that would have run to the length of War and Peace, here’s a sampling of some of my favorite background material, including links to the editions of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly which printed some of their letters home, photos, hand drawn maps, their schedule (as rather snarkily recounted by the members), and a great deal more, plus the usual Book Club Kit staples of Q&A and discussion questions.

I hope you enjoy the Reader’s Guide!  And if there was anything else you were dying to know about the Smithies and their time in the Somme that wasn’t in there, just let me know!


  1. Julie on February 23, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    I don’t want to be spoilered, so I will wait till after I read the book to check out all the extras;)
    Book is already pre-ordered, looking forward to it!

  2. Sheila Churchill on February 24, 2021 at 7:08 pm


  3. Barbara Jones on May 30, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Your book left me wanting for more and more. I lived in Northampton and walked around the Smith campus several times but had never heard of the Relief Unit. To think of those intelligent, sometimes wealthy, and refined women down in the dirty streets and villages of Paris is remarkable!
    Your historical notes section mentions that the Readers’ Guide contains pictures, maps and other items of interest. I cannot find any of the above. Can someone tell me how to find them?
    Thank you most sincerely for the Band of Sisters.
    P.S. You look much too young to have written this and so many other books.
    Barb Jones

    • Lauren Willig on June 1, 2021 at 2:07 pm

      Barb, that’s so sweet of you! Here’s the link to the Reader’s Guide:

      In the Guide, you’ll find maps of the region, their headquarters, and one of their barracks, as well as some photos. For more, there are links in the Further Reading section to the relevant 1917 and 1918 editions of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly where you can read excerpts of their letters and see other pictures and maps that were published in the Quarterly at the time.

Leave a Comment