Readers' Favorite

August 7, 2019

When We Believed in Mermaids by @BarbaraONeal ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

I am always interested in books about sisters and the bond between them because of the bond that I have with my sisters. When I read the first line of this book, I knew that it was going to be an emotional story about the two sisters and the relationship between them.

"My sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news." (p1)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

July 2019; Lake Union Publishing; 978-1542004527
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); women's fiction
Josie and Kit grew up on the beach in California where their dad owned a restaurant overlooking the ocean. The family was extremely dysfunctional and the parents very neglectful so Josie and Kit bonded together to take care of themselves. They led an idyllic life at the beach and spent as much time as possible surfing. The two sisters were very close until Josie got involved with drugs when she was a teenager and then was killed when a train was blown up in France. Kit missed her sister and her long hours as a doctor in the ER helped her cope with her sorrow. Fifteen years after Josie has died, Kit sees her in a news segment from New Zealand in the back of a crowd. She and her mother are both sure that it's Josie so Kit goes to Auckland to try to find out if her sister really is alive and if so, why she abandoned her family. While she is trying to find her sister, she remembers their time together growing up and isn't sure if she'll embrace her sister or hug her, if she can even find her.

The story is told in alternating chapters with both sisters reminiscing about their past together growing up. Mermaids are a symbol of the magic of childhood and the way we weave beauty into our stories no matter what. Mermaids meant so much to the sisters that they had matching mermaid tattoos on their arms.

I loved the two main characters - Josie and Kit and I thought that their sisterly bond with each other was very real. Their flashbacks to childhood and the trauma they endured give us a good background of their lives. If Josie is still alive and if they find each other, will they be able to overcome the pain and sorrow that now exists between them?

This book is filled with love - love between sisters, between daughters and their mother, between husband and wife. It's also filled with beautiful descriptions of Auckland - enough that I want to make a trip there after reading this book.

I loved this book and reading about the bond between sisters. It's one of my favorite books of the year.

Buy When We Believed in Mermaids at Amazon

About the Author

Barbara O’Neal is the author of twelve novels of women’s fiction, including The Art of Inheriting Secrets, How to Bake a Perfect Life, and The All You Can Dream Buffet. Her award-winning books have been published in more than a dozen countries, including France, England, Poland, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Brazil. She lives in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs.

Connect with Barbara
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. this sounds fantastic and i still believe in mermaids. we need to let the child in us live.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. Oh man, Auckland is a bucket list trip of mine... someday I'll get there! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, I've added it to my fall TBR pile! Thank you for being on this tour- Sara @ TLC Book Tours