4 out of 5 stars
As children in foster care, Cecilia and Robin vowed they would be the sisters each had never had. Thirty years later their bond remains strong. International pop star Cecilia lives life on the edge, but when Robin is nearly killed in an accident, she drops everything to be with her.
Robin set aside her career as a successful photojournalist to create the loving family she always yearned for. But now, as she realizes how close she’s come to losing everything, she questions what she really has. Gazing through a wide-angle lens at both past and future she sees that her marriage is disintegrating. Her attorney husband is rarely home, leaving Robin to be both mother and father. She and the children need Kris’s love and attention, but does Kris need them?
When Cecilia asks Robin to be the still photographer for a documentary on foster care, Robin agrees, even though Kris will be forced to take charge for the months she’s away. She gambles that he’ll prove to them both that their children—and their marriage—are a priority in his life.
Cecilia herself needs more than time with her sister. A lifetime of lies has finally caught up with her. She wants a chance to tell the real story of their childhood and free herself from the nightmares that still color her nights.
As the documentary unfolds, memories will be tested and the meaning of family redefined, but the love two young girls forged into bonds of sisterhood will help them move forward as the women they were always meant to be.
I recently finished reading “When We Were Sisters” by Emilie Richards, a very powerful novel about sisters, family, childhood secrets, forgiveness and love. Powerful enough that I had to take this novel a little slower than most novels.
When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. Looking back at that, I think it was my own battles with depression and anxiety that made me feel like that. I get extra anxious when there’s a lot of conflict in my life. There’s a decent amount of conflict at the beginning of the book, especially passive-aggressive conflict which is my least favorite and combining with the anxiety I was already experiencing at that time, it was a little too much for me.
I took a breather for a few weeks, read more, took another breather for a week, and carried that pattern for the rest of the book. It really helped me keep things in perspective and enjoy the book a LOT more.
The characters in this book were fairly well-rounded. At first, they seemed a little chaotic to me. By that I mean that it wasn’t until we got further into the back story that I finally understood some of why Robin and Cecilia (and Kris to a lighter degree) reacted the ways they did, but it wasn’t a necessarily a bad chaotic. I enjoyed seeing the changes that each character underwent as things from the past were revealed and new connections & understandings were made.
The plot moved along at a steady pace. There were a couple of times I felt it was a little slow-moving, but the majority of the book moved at a good rate.
The setting descriptions were the perfect type for me, not too wordy but enough detail so I can see them in my head, from Kris & Robin’s house in Virginia to Cecilia’s early childhood home to the dusty old barn in Florida.
There were several parts of the book that made me tear up and some that made me laugh out loud. There were things that made me angry, really angry and things that made me so happy for the characters.
The only thing that I really didn’t like is that Cecilia goes by CeCe. I absolutely loved “Beaches”, both the book and the movie. I’ve read the book numerous times and I’ve seen the movie even more. To have this CeCe be a singer and actress made it hard for me to keep the two characters separate in my mind. If you’re not a “Beaches” fan (or have never even heard of it!), this little factor won’t color your opinion like it did mine and probably won’t even phase you.
All in all, for the most part, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it highly. I’m happy to see my library has bought a few copies and they’re checked out. But, word to the wise, read it with a box of tissues!
[I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review. My review was not influenced by this, nor was I compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own.]