By: Emilie Richards
Publication Date: 5/31/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
Love and loyalty made them sisters. Secrets could still destroy them.
As children in foster care, Cecilia and Robin vowed they would be the sisters each had never had. Now international pop star Cecilia lives life on the edge, but when Robin is nearly killed in an accident, Cecilia 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 gazing through a wide-angle lens at both past and future, she sees that her marriage is disintegrating. Her attorney husband is rarely home. 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 haunt her.
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.
A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice cover! Emilie Richards returns following The Color of Light (2015) with her latest standalone, WHEN WE WERE SISTERS, another emotional Journey into the lives of women one story at a time-- two foster sisters, united in love and secrets. “The stories of our lives can be told in so many ways, but no one account, no matter how carefully rendered, is completely true.” Foster sisters: Robin and Cecilia. They do not share a single gene; however, they are honest-to-God sisters, right down to their bone marrow. Robin Home is Leesburg, Virginia. Married to Kris for thirteen years. A patch of earth, her refuge and center. She has friends; however, she is the only woman in the neighborhood who grew up without a real home or family. Cecilia her foster sister —a superstar singer-songwriter, her anchor. Robin hides her emotions. She is almost killed in a car accident—three women; her friend and neighbor, Talya died instantly, after they had changed seats. Love and loyalty made them sisters. Secrets could still destroy them. Cecilia is on her way to the hospital after she was called as an emergency contact. Years ago, she was thirteen when Robin and she became sisters. Robin was nine. Cecilia share so much with her audience. She is loved for her energy and ability to make her fans feel as if they know her. But of course, they do not know her at all. Two years earlier, a film producer contacted her. He was doing a documentary on the foster care system and was looking for someone to narrate—someone famous. He wanted a celebrity who had been a foster child, someone to convey what the experience was like from a child’s point of view—how they can triumph. Donny her manager wants it to be her decision. She turned it down initially; however, now, she has reconsidered and wants Robin to do it with her. She wants Robin to be the production stills photography. They would need photos for publicity and the book. Cecilia has four homes —Manhattan, Nashville, California, and Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida, which is her favorite. Married once and quickly divorced from a country singer. She seems to have it all from fame, money, and beauty. However, she has nightmares and panic attacks. What is she hiding? Years ago, Robin’s grandmother had just died, and her mother had vanished before she was two. She went into foster care. She had become mute. Selective mutism. She was painfully shy and terrified of new situations, wanting to escape her daily life. She slowly began to speak again. Cecilia saw a project in Robin that might have a happy ending. Robin’s life has revolved around her children and her attorney husband which is not home very often—a marriage on the rocks--she put her photography business on hold. Presently, he will have to take over while she is working with Cecilia. Cecilia has to go back and confront her demons and possibly Robin as well. However, Cecilia often avoids the truth and tells lies without guilt. A man had died. Two sisters protecting one another, young and heartbroken – they watched out for one another. Alternating narratives from Robin, and Cecilia, two foster sisters, and Kris, Robin’s husband. As the documentary “At the Mercy of Strangers” unfolds, old secrets are revealed in order for healing to begin. Sometimes you have to re-visit your past in order to move on with your future. One of my all-time favorite Southern authors, (have read all her books) Emilie Richards has a unique way of storytelling, tacking highly-charged topics with finely tuned research, sensitivity, and compassion. Told with lots of heart and soul, an insightful look into the foster care system, family, and triumph over tragedy. Shared memories, some of abandonment, rejection, and terror at the mercy of strangers- on their way to happiness and fulfillment.
About the Author
I'm the author of seventy-something novels, both women's fiction and mystery. I'm excited about my newest series, Goddesses Anonymous, which started with One Mountain Away and was followed last year by Somewhere Between Luck and Trust. The third book in the series, A River Too Wide, came out in July. The Color of Light debuts in August 2015.
Last year my husband and I moved from Arlington, Virginia, to Osprey, Florida, the state where both of us were raised, met, and married. In the summer we live in Chautauqua, New York. I'm a quilter and the mother of four children, whom I regard as my greatest creative endeavors. And I love my three grandchildren. Website