I’m going to put this as politely and directly, although those descriptors tend to be contradictory, as possible. The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier is a story in its first or second draft that was published. There are grammatical mistakes galore, sentences that, if I was the editor, would cut immediately due to their redundant or obvious nature, and frankly just so much confusion in terms of the plot I can’t stomach trying to see these strings pulled together.
I trudged on in this book until things got way too ridiculous for me. As someone who habitually takes years to eventually abandon a book, reading a few pages a month hoping for something to keep me reading before accepting literary defeat, I’m abandoning this book a week in. So as far I’ve made it in the book, we’re reading two separate storylines that are ancestrally connected. I don’t know how, I’m only inferring by the pages I did read that this will occur. But I’m doubtful it would be at all believable, but I’ll touch on that more later.
The first storyline focuses on a Dr. Diana Morgan, an academic at Oxford University. She has the opportunity to go research the possibility of an Amazonian tribe existing somewhere in the Middle East. Let me just include a quick side note to say that Diana is an anthropologist, not an archaeologist, but the opportunity is archaeological in nature. There is this misconception in the world, one that Fortier clearly falls for, that these two fields are synonymous. They are not, many archaeologists are also anthropologists, however many anthropologists are not also archaeologists. Archaeology is a study of historical guess work, of using texts and scriptures to piece together mankind’s timeline. Through the excavation of various sites and burying grounds, archaeologists study migratory patterns and evolution. Anthropologists study communities, societies, and the dynamics within them.
Diana is chosen for the research role for two reasons, one I can say with certainty and the other I can say with literary predictability. Either way, both reasons due not qualify her for this role. The first being that she is one of the only credible academics in this world, as in, within Anne Fortier’s limited fictional word of this story, that believes in an Amazonian tribe. The second being that she was chosen for this role as a result of her heritage, one she didn’t know about and goes many eons back, more problems on that later on in this review.
Fortier even writes that Diana is an outcast in academia for believing in an Amazon community or society, because according to Fortier, the many academics at Oxford University, a very prestigious and historically problematic university that focuses on archaeology and anthropology, don’t believe in the matriarchal society that still exists to this day. This is where the plot holes really begin to deepen, pretty immediately in this story are we made aware of this premise that Fortier is writing about. The “Amazons” is a term originating from Greek mythology about warrior women. They were seen as that of legends in Greek folklore, mostly because a women of brawn or steal wasn’t a social possibility historically for that community. The folklore later grows into the story of Wonder Woman and now is mostly confused to be entirely fictional. But if we take the term for what it is, a society based around strong women, female providers and hunters, then we’re talking more realistically that the Amazons written about fictionally are realistically a matriarchal tribe. And these tribes do exist and have existed. There are tribes still in Africa that follow this structure and their discovery is not a new anthropological one. Academics have for decades, even those from Oxford, studied many tribes throughout the world in less than respectful ways, including such tribes that follow the matriarchy. There is speculation among the anthropologic community that the traditional matriarch society that exists to this day could be inspired by or have inspired other matriarch communities around the world. Each and every day we learn more about how lives differed historically and socially, and although many questions may never be answered because of the destruction of imperialism and slavery, I find the premise that Fortier writes under ignorant. It’s as though she took her limited understanding from history classes in high school and applied one system to every society and land.
She believes that every women was subservient in every historical society, and following that reasoning, Dr. Morgan is a spectacle in academia and her historical women are outcasted for being warriors. And these historical women are characters from the Bronze Age, 3000 B.C. to 1200 B.C. So following the Christian Calendar as we’re all made to do, that is, at a minimum, 3,220 years difference between these two storylines. Unless we’re seeing each generation between the storylines or that these women also have the fountain of youth, I’m doubtful the stories will come together well.
Especially because there is so much disrespectful and disgusting behavior amongst the Morgan family. Fortier writes that Diana did not know her grandmother in the least until she showed up one day at her parents house. Diana was around twelve when this happened and immediately noticed the grandmother’s “strange behavior.” This grandmother apparently is the mother of Diana’s father, the wife of an asshole (a.k.a. the grandfather), and had a lobotomy many years prior. Where the lobotomy fits in within this timeline is hazy to say the least. It is hinted that part of her brain was removed at the insistence of the grandfather at some point of time in their marriage. The grandfather is long dead by the time of this story so all I can say is, then what happened with the grandmother? Where was she, why didn’t the family ever visit her or care for her, why did she just show up one day at the surprise of Diana and her son? Her son clearly knew her, so she wasn’t gone from his childhood, but then did he abandon her after her lobotomy. There is so much confusion around the lobotomy and her storyline that I wonder if the lobotomy was done to more than her character but her entire story as well.
My last straw with this book came with the character of Nick. Supposedly, he is the love interest of Diana Morgan on her expedition, I didn’t make it that far. Their first meeting is like a bad date on Halloween. Apparently, in Diana or Fortier’s words, Nick was “a strange man of obscure ethnicity” and Diana “was beginning to harbor a suspicion that he was simply some kooky American with a penchant for dressing up” as an Arab. For the record, this book was published in 2013, I think that’s recent enough to know better or to at least write more respectfully. It would be one think if Nick was a convert or someone devout of Islam, but it’s not okay that he’s a “kook American” dressing like an Arab. It’s also more unbelievable that we’re supposed accept that Diana, an advanced degree anthropologist would say, “obscure ethnicity.” Everything about this was disrespectful and uneducated to the readers and the characters.
And that’s it, that’s all we got on that matter. Then the story continues like this incredulous thing didn’t happen. Following these pages I immediately put the book down with the resolve to not only abandon it but to recommend that no one else purchase it.