Historical Novel - Another Word for Sister

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Click to order Another Word for Sister on Amazon here

Cheryl Irwin is a writer and an artist. She became aware of how we all place limits on our creativity - not enough money, not enough time or just not good enough. After discarding (it took years) these notions and accepting her life was one of infinite possibility, she focused on writing her first novel, “Another Word for Sister.” She lives in Methven, New Zealand with her photographer husband.

Author's Notes

As a young woman I moved from the U.S.A. to my husband’s family farm on the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand. The original farm house was still there, although in a state of disrepair. I walked in and immediately started imagining what the lives of the people who first settled here would have been like. There were many clues to how they lived: the huge cast iron cook stove, the butter churn and the copper urn for heating the washing water were all in their original places. Fragments of lace curtains hung in the broken windows and wafted in the breeze over the abandoned brass bed.

I immediately knew there was a story that needed to be told and I would tell it. I knew some of the history. My husband’s great-grandfather had emigrated from Northern Ireland to New Zealand in 1863 and worked building roads until he had enough money to buy land. He purchased Fairfield in 1873 and soon after, married a maid from a neighbouring farm. So I started with my story based on these facts and created a storyline by researching sea voyages to New Zealand, what the Rakaia township was like and other details. What I wasn’t prepared for was the strength of the characters to create their own story through my imagination, all I had to do was listen and write as the story unfolded.

Another Word for Sister is a heart-warming love story and yet also a deep exploration of individuation, the body/soul relationship, the lost divine feminine and the reality of death.


A wonderful story. Thank you, Cheryl Irwin. From the first page I was drawn into the lives of a group of young settlers who came to Mid Canterbury, New Zealand in the mid 1860s. The story unravels the mysteries of the intertwined minds of the twin sister and how their family background and spiritual upbringing impacted throughout their lives and loves and the lives and loves of others. The love stories that unfold are beautifully told. It is a spellbinding read with laughter and tears. I would recommend this book and I know I will read it again. ~Helen Leigh

Another Word for Sister was a charming and intriguing read! I enjoyed every page, every chapter of this historical romance. It kept my attention right to the last page, I would recommend this book to all who love historical romances! ~Linda Young

A lovely read!!!! I'm in the middle of my copy now~ Can't hardly put it down! Cheryl you are truely a GIFTED writer! The way you've described their personalities and woven in the landscape... It is like a dream we walk through as we read. ~D’Lynn Richelderfer

An excellent love story, suspenseful and riveting. I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the gorgeous New Zealand landscape and the historical perspective as I was once there. It bought to mind past experiences and I got very involved in the interwoven lives of the two young sisters. I could not put the book down, which is to me always the sign of an author who knows how to involve the reader in the narrative. It is written with humor and suspense. It leaves the reader trying to imagine what the outcome will be and imagining different scenarios but spellbound until the story is completed.~ Jill Klindworth

Addictive story, have to read it right through! This is a wonderful book! I was so intrigued with the story that as it continued on I felt a need to follow the journey of Lily and her sister even more- I couldn’t put it down. The connection to New Zealand gave me a strong sense of home which made the characters feel to me as if they were great friends that I had known for years. This is a love story well worth reading! Looking forward to the next part of the journey! ~Rachael Inch, Arts Director

Hard to put down. Quite riveting story. Historically interesting too. I enjoyed the story as I lived in the area written about. Was hard to put the iPad away once I started the story. It's a love story ! ~Suzanne Harris


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