Midwest Book Mom Presents: Character Interview with Georgeanne “Georgey” Woolsey & Jemma
Book Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
We are honored to have Georgeanne Woolsey & Jemma, two of the three women characters written by Martha Hall Kelly in her third novel, Sunflower Sisters. Georgeanne was a union nurse who signed up to be part of the Civil War efforts and hoping to make an impact in the medical field. Jemma was an enslaved woman from the Peeler Plantation where her father and mother lived.
Anne-May, wife to the owner of the Peeler Plantation, was not able to join us this evening, choosing to remain private.
Ladies, thank you for joining us. Could we start off with each of you sharing your part in the story, Sunflower Sisters?
(Jemma): Thank you kindly, ma’am. I was an enslaved woman from the Peeler Plantation. My family and I worked hard in finding a way for all of us to escape the planation along with my sister, Patience, who was on another plantation. Through all the efforts given, it did mean I would likely have to leave my beloved family behind.
(Georgeanna): You may call me Georgey. I wanted to be a nurse to serve my part. The process was strict and challenging to achieve. You see, a great percentage of doctors and nurses during the American Civil War were male dominated. I cataloged all my work with the greatest ambition to open a nursing school. In the novel, you’ll see how challenging it all is.
Anne-May chose not to be present today. How would you ladies describe her?
(Jemma): I don’t have anything I want to say about her. She’s a vile awful woman who cared only for herself. Granted, she’s as dumb as a bag of rocks.
(Georgey): From what my friend Jemma has shared with me, Anne-May decided to make her own decisions based on her wants. It caused her more harm than good leading to her fate in the end.
(Jemma): She deserved what was coming to her.
From characters to the writer, what can you say about Martha Hall Kelly in writing this novel
(Georgey): Mrs. Kelly is a talented writer. According to her, I’m the ancestor of Caroline Ferriday from her novel. Lilac Girls. I’m also related to Caroline’s mother, Eliza Ferriday from Kelly’s novel, Lost Roses. Her years of research into our family history captures our family’s devotion to philanthropy in wanting to help others.
(Jemma): Ma’am, Mrs. Kelly brought my story to life through what my eyes have seen. I won’t give anything away but what I endured was brutal and heartbreaking. Mrs. Kelly is talented in bringing all our stories together where I later meet Miss Georgey.
It’s amazing how your journeys come together in the story. Would you say the main plot was spot on?
(Georgey): Frankly, I must agree and say yes. Mrs. Kelly brings forth true accounts describing the details of the Civil War, the inhuman conditions of the plantation life, and how New York, my home, was affected by all the racism and nationality issues. Truly, Mrs. Kelly makes sure her readers are there with us.
(Jemma): I must agree with Miss Georgey. You see, our stories are shared through our own eyes. Through what we see, hear, feel, smell, to create a whole scene through our senses. It’s how us characters actively move forward to the climatic point of the story.
I’d have to agree, ladies. Before we finish, what are your final statements you’d like to give to
(Jemma): Ma’am, I believe the readers will value the extensive research Mrs. Kelly gave to the novel. It’s important our stories are shared with others to bring an acknowledgment to the past we once lived.
(Georgey): I’d like to add on with sympathy this is the last novel of the Ferriday-Woolsey series. Mrs. Kelly has done well in sharing our stories, as Jemma said, to acknowledge the past.
I’m excited to share my wrap-up conclusion of the novel, Sunflower Sisters. Martha Hall Kelly writes her novels, planting the readers as witnesses to the story’s world. From what the characters are wearing, their behavior and actions, no detail goes unnoticed. I almost feel bias as I’ve read all her published novels because her research for these novels is extensive. Her writing style of taking three different characters’ side plots then bringing those characters together to form the story’s conclusion is delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Sunflower Sisters on Audible. It’s one I recommend to those looking for a well-written novel and why I’m rating it 5 stars. Sunflower Sisters along with Kelly’s other novels, Lilac Girls and Lost Roses can be found on Amazon or Audible.