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August 13, 2021

When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts



Two sisters who haven’t spoken for twenty years. One summer to bring a family back together.

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

When We Were Sisters
August 2021; Bookouture; 978-1800197459
audio, ebook, print (280 pages); women's fiction

Sisters Jayne and Charlotte haven't seen each other in over 20 years. When their parents divorced, Charlotte stayed with their father and Jayne moved to Dublin with her mother who needed to take care of her father. The only summer that they spent together was when they were ten and spent the summer at their grandparent's beach house. After that summer, they became estranged and haven't talked to each other in over 20 years  All they have is their memories of that happy time. Now they live totally different lives and both have let their hurt about their estrangement affect their lives.  

Jayne is single and bankrupt and not sure if she'll be able to meet her bills. Charlotte is married to a successful man and has two sons. She works from home in a high-pressure job. They are both surprised and unhappy with the conditions that their grandmother put on bequeathing her beach house. Their grandmother wanted them to renovate her beach house within the next six months and work together on the renovation. Once the house is done, they can either sell it or make it a family house. Even though they agreed to the stipulations of the will, there was a lot of animosity and distrust between them. Charlotte was mad at her mother for only taking one daughter with her when she left and she felt like Jayne had gotten all of their mother's love. Jayne was angry because Charlotte never wrote to her after their glorious summer when they felt like sisters. Can renovating the beach house make them become sisters again or is there too much distrust between them? 

When We Were Sisters is an emotional book about sisters and secrets,  love and forgiveness.  It had two fantastic main characters, a bit of romance, issues with Charlotte's teenage sons, and a lot of background on the work involved in renovating an old house. Can the bonds of sisterhood make Jayne and Charlotte forgive each other and move forward as friends or will the secrets that they find in the house separate them again?  I have read other books by this author and she always creates characters that her readers care about and plots about the importance of family. This is an emotional and uplifting book about sisters, secrets, and the family bonds that hold us together no matter how complicated they are

Buy When We Were Sisters at Amazon


Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. 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 historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.


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