When We Believed in Mermaids
From the author of The Art of Inheriting Secrets comes an emotional new tale of two sisters, an ocean of lies, and a search for the truth.Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

When We Believed in Mermaids Details

TitleWhen We Believed in Mermaids
Author
ReleaseJul 16th, 2019
PublisherLake Union Publishing
ISBN-139781542004527
Rating
GenreFiction, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

When We Believed in Mermaids Review

  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    When We Believed in Mermaids is an engrossing, turbulent, and poignant book about two sisters, Kit and Josie. When the story begins, Kit is shocked to see her sister in the background of a news broadcast from New Zealand, thousands of miles away from their home in California--especially since Josie had been killed 15 years earlier. When she goes to New Zealand to find her sister, Kit unknowingly sets off a chain of events that will impact her own life, as well as that of her sister and the life When We Believed in Mermaids is an engrossing, turbulent, and poignant book about two sisters, Kit and Josie. When the story begins, Kit is shocked to see her sister in the background of a news broadcast from New Zealand, thousands of miles away from their home in California--especially since Josie had been killed 15 years earlier. When she goes to New Zealand to find her sister, Kit unknowingly sets off a chain of events that will impact her own life, as well as that of her sister and the life she has built. Kit and Josie were such complex, fascinating characters, each of them reacting to the pain of their childhoods which left them emotionally scarred. The flashbacks in the story give so much insight to the horrors of their childhood; the neglect, the abuse, the addictions. But they also show us the love the two sisters had for each other, the closeness they shared until it all went horribly wrong. The setting of the book was fantastic, from the beaches of Santa Cruz to the beauty of New Zealand. And the surfing! The author's descriptions of the girls as they surfed from the time they were children made it feel like I was in the middle of those waves with them! The pages of this book are filled with love; love between sisters, the love of children for their parents, steadfast love, and new love; and how love can somehow withstand everything that threatens to destroy it.
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  • Jeanne Adamek
    January 1, 1970
    I am planning, sometime in the future, on re-reading this book. Barbara ONeal is one of my favorite authors, her descriptive abilities are powerful... lush. I have to admit that I couldnt dnf this story. it wasnt boring or slow. If anything it was (for me) too detailed, too dark.I admit I read to a certain degree to escape. To experience things (even if only on paper) like visiting new places, foods, ideas or even time periods. And this story did give me the first three of these things--it was t I am planning, sometime in the future, on re-reading this book. Barbara O´Neal is one of my favorite authors, her descriptive abilities are powerful... lush. I have to admit that I couldn´t dnf this story. it wasn´t boring or slow. If anything it was (for me) too detailed, too dark.I admit I read to a certain degree to escape. To experience things (even if only on paper) like visiting new places, foods, ideas or even time periods. And this story did give me the first three of these things--it was truly well written. But it didn´t give me enough hope. I feel like you do when you eat too much of something really heavy and you feel it sitting in the pit of your stomach hours latter.Like I said, I plan on re-reading this. In the hope that I just picked the wrong time in reading this the first time. Now the story is sitting heavily in my mind, and it is dark.
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  • Bambi Rathman
    January 1, 1970
    There is nothing like the connection of love between two sisters and the bonds they share throughout their lives. This book is the story of two sisters, Josie and Kit, who are so close to each other growing up that it seems nothing would ever separate them from each other. Their bond is unbreakable, or so it seems. Secrets, heartaches, doubts, suspicions, and broken trust....will they be able to overcome so many hurtful events and find their sisterness again? This story is about what can happen There is nothing like the connection of love between two sisters and the bonds they share throughout their lives. This book is the story of two sisters, Josie and Kit, who are so close to each other growing up that it seems nothing would ever separate them from each other. Their bond is unbreakable, or so it seems. Secrets, heartaches, doubts, suspicions, and broken trust....will they be able to overcome so many hurtful events and find their sisterness again? This story is about what can happen in life. Josie and Kit have a very awful and painful childhood with parents who are on the edge of neglectful. Josie and Kit come to depend on each other to survive and grow up. There is a wonderful character named Dylan who enters their lives and becomes a "big brother" and looks out for them. He has come from a troubled past himself. But events happen and their lives are turned upside down. I fell into the pages of this book. It took me into the lives of these characters and wouldn't let me go. The narrative alternates between Kit's and Josie's points of view. As the story takes place in the current time, there are "flashbacks" to fill in the pieces of the broken lives they grew up with. Ms. O'Neal wove these pieces together like a masterpiece. My heart was broken for the heartaches and tragedies that Josie and Kit endured. It felt myself wanting to draw them in. To be there for them and heal their hurts. There was so much emotion in this book for me. I cried, I ached, I pulled for them to find their love for each other again. Would they be able to find it in their hearts to forgive and mend their relationship back to what it was? I love the setting in this book. I felt like I have experienced Auckland and the beauty that it possesses. I was on the beaches with Kit and Josie. I was in the surf and feeling the solitude in the water surfboarding. I saw the landscapes and terrain. It was so descriptively written. A perfect setting for two girls who believed in mermaids growing up. There was a bit of mystery written into the story, too. Sapphire House is intriguing. What happened to the famous actress, Veronica Parker, who was living in there? It was a thread throughout the book and a fascinating aspect to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved being in the pages and connecting with the characters. I was yearning for them with all my heart. I went on a journey into the hearts and souls of these characters. It's one I'll remember for a long time. I want to thank Lake Union, Netgalley, and Ms. O'Neal for the honor and opportunity to read this wonderful story. This is a five star read for me.
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  • Shannon Dyer
    January 1, 1970
    Round up to 4.5 stars. Review to come at AAR.
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book, even loved it. But I got confused occasionally. The story kept me interested, but I found it a little unrealistic. But I read on and really liked the last half of the book (no spoilers). Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.
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  • Faith Freewoman
    January 1, 1970
    Heartrending and beautiful. But this is no easy ride. The sisters' problems are real and crushing, and about halfway through I was far from convinced that they would resolve them, or their relationships. The men in this story are villains or heroes, or both, and I found Dylan the most poignant, while Javier was the one I want to take home with me.But none of the men are able to step in and save the day. The sisters must do it for themselves, and fight through very difficult histories to get ther Heartrending and beautiful. But this is no easy ride. The sisters' problems are real and crushing, and about halfway through I was far from convinced that they would resolve them, or their relationships. The men in this story are villains or heroes, or both, and I found Dylan the most poignant, while Javier was the one I want to take home with me.But none of the men are able to step in and save the day. The sisters must do it for themselves, and fight through very difficult histories to get there.If you're up for a lovely visit to New Zealand and a story you're going to want stay up all night to finish, I recommend When We Believed in Mermaids.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Moving story about sisterhood, love, and learning how to let go of the past in order to live fully in the present.O'Neal has a gift for reaching deep into the soul and breaking the reader's heart and then mending it again. If I have one quibble about this story was that the backstory wasn't revealed fast enough for me, I wanted to know more quickly about the things that shaped the sisters as they were growing up, and some of it was only hinted at until almost the end.Other than that, this is a w Moving story about sisterhood, love, and learning how to let go of the past in order to live fully in the present.O'Neal has a gift for reaching deep into the soul and breaking the reader's heart and then mending it again. If I have one quibble about this story was that the backstory wasn't revealed fast enough for me, I wanted to know more quickly about the things that shaped the sisters as they were growing up, and some of it was only hinted at until almost the end.Other than that, this is a wonderful story told from the points of view of the two sisters, allowing the reader to feel their aching loss of each other and their anger and betrayal, as well as the love that survived it all. Although their experiences are unique, the emotions behind what happened resonated with me and my own life experiences.Recommended for those who like emotionally heartfelt and occasionally heart wrenching stories of family and love.I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    You're Going To Want To Read This Somewhere Where You Can Cry. Wow. This is a tragic tale, all around. It is primarily about two sisters and the scars they share - and the lengths they will both go to try to overcome them. Amazing story, solid mystery (though some of it becomes obvious earlier than the actual reveal). This one will grabs you with the first line, has you tearing up a bit early on... and then can have full on water works through the last quarter to third or so of the tale. Light a You're Going To Want To Read This Somewhere Where You Can Cry. Wow. This is a tragic tale, all around. It is primarily about two sisters and the scars they share - and the lengths they will both go to try to overcome them. Amazing story, solid mystery (though some of it becomes obvious earlier than the actual reveal). This one will grabs you with the first line, has you tearing up a bit early on... and then can have full on water works through the last quarter to third or so of the tale. Light and airy, this aint - but it *is* one of the better, more intense dramas I've read this year. A remarkable contrast to O'Neal's 2018 book The Art of Inheriting Secrets. Very much recommended.
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  • Noreen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful story of survival and the special bond of sisters. There are different ways to survive and this story shows how two sisters choose their paths. It's heartbreaking to read about the slippery slope of addiction. I loved the characters and the bond that Josie and Kit shared. The book is an emotional rollercoaster of sisterhood, love, secrets and the chance to find forgiveness. I highly recommend this book.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    It’s surprising to me that something written by an author I consider a good “chick lit” writer, leaves me with the one word description of “powerful.” It’s quite an accomplishment to write a book with torturous family dynamics, a love story or two, some good sex scenes, a hint of mystery and an even smaller hint of ghosts, and leave this reader with the description of powerful. Throw in a house that’s almost one of the book characters and a description of NZ that has me ready to book a flight, a It’s surprising to me that something written by an author I consider a good “chick lit” writer, leaves me with the one word description of “powerful.” It’s quite an accomplishment to write a book with torturous family dynamics, a love story or two, some good sex scenes, a hint of mystery and an even smaller hint of ghosts, and leave this reader with the description of powerful. Throw in a house that’s almost one of the book characters and a description of NZ that has me ready to book a flight, and you have just about a perfect chick lit book. This one moves beyond chick lit however, with the traumas the young Biancis experienced. And though it lacks O’Neal’s signature recipes, the food/restaurant descriptions almost make up for it.Possible triggers - drug use, sexual abuse/endangered children.Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC.
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  • ROBIN RUIZ
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautiful story of the bond of sisters. Kit’s sister Josie was killed in a terrorist attack 15 years ago.So why is she on Tv reporting from New Zealand !This begins Kit’s Journey to discover the truth.A beautifully written story that alternates between the past and the present and the relationship between these two sisters The writing is absolutely gorgeous and the story is one to be devoured!
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    Kit Bianci believed her sister was dead, that is until she saw her on the television news 15 years later. Kit decides to travel to New Zealand and find her sister Josie and get some sort of explanation or closure. When the two sisters are reunited all their dark secrets are revealed. They will have to share all of them in order to move on and fix the broken relationships. I found this book to be very slow to start and was almost halfway through the book before I started to enjoy it. I found Kit' Kit Bianci believed her sister was dead, that is until she saw her on the television news 15 years later. Kit decides to travel to New Zealand and find her sister Josie and get some sort of explanation or closure. When the two sisters are reunited all their dark secrets are revealed. They will have to share all of them in order to move on and fix the broken relationships. I found this book to be very slow to start and was almost halfway through the book before I started to enjoy it. I found Kit's romance and Josie's Sapphire House were used as filler during the first portion of the book. I get that Kit's romance needed to be there to show her guard weakening but it could have been shortened. I didn't see any purpose in the all the parts about Sapphire House. I don't feel like they added anything to the story and I feel like this book wouldn't have been missing anything had it of been left out completely. I liked how the book was told in the perspective of both sisters. The perspective keeps switching between the sisters per chapter, each picking up where the last one left off. I think it added emotion and depth to the characters as it allowed the reader to know what they were thinking about major points in the story. So, I ended up being slightly disappointed with this book. While the ending was partially redeeming, I expected a lot more from it. Is it possible that I hyped this book up too much to myself and it's my own fault I didn't enjoy it more? Yes it is. I consider this a lesson learned.
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  • olivereads
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book on a whim. I simply thought it would be a nice book to read for summer. I was wrong. Kit and Mari/Josie are sisters, best friends, and soul mates. They care for each other because they have not had the easiest time growing up and simply had each other to lean on. They did not have the best role models for love. My sister and I did not either. But they both prove the world wrong and find people who will love them to the end of the Earth, so have my sister and me. I was skept I requested this book on a whim. I simply thought it would be a nice book to read for summer. I was wrong. Kit and Mari/Josie are sisters, best friends, and soul mates. They care for each other because they have not had the easiest time growing up and simply had each other to lean on. They did not have the best role models for love. My sister and I did not either. But they both prove the world wrong and find people who will love them to the end of the Earth, so have my sister and me. I was skeptical of Javier and Simon in the novel. I thought that these women have had enough hardships, they don't need crappy men too. I was thankfully wrong about the men. This novel is about love, loss, and the power of family. I was able to read this with early access but when it is released, I need a copy. If you want a novel that makes you laugh, cry, and love your family, even more, this is your book.
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  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written story of two sisters and their very dysfunctional family and lives. The Bianci sisters are wonderfully crafted characters that you can’t help but root for. They will leave you frustrated at times but also leave you wanting to know more. Barbara O’Neal has developed characters in this story that are easy to identify with and a storyline that will keep your attention all the way to the end. The story is heartbreaking in parts and joyful in other parts. This is a new t This is a beautifully written story of two sisters and their very dysfunctional family and lives. The Bianci sisters are wonderfully crafted characters that you can’t help but root for. They will leave you frustrated at times but also leave you wanting to know more. Barbara O’Neal has developed characters in this story that are easy to identify with and a storyline that will keep your attention all the way to the end. The story is heartbreaking in parts and joyful in other parts. This is a new to me author and I’m so appreciative of being able to read this wonderful story. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it. I was able to read this book in one day because I didn’t want to put it down. Thank you #netgalley and #lakeunionpublishing for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. The opinions above are my own thoughts and feelings about this book.
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  • Sherri Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    When Kit Bianci sees her sister on the television, it came as a shock.... after all, she WAS killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. So Kit hops a plane for New Zealand to search for her missing sister. While Kit starts out angry that her sister would let her believe she was dead for the past 15 years, she ends up re-connecting and time melts away. I love this author's books. Her characters come to life and you experience something magical with every book. This book was just as ma When Kit Bianci sees her sister on the television, it came as a shock.... after all, she WAS killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. So Kit hops a plane for New Zealand to search for her missing sister. While Kit starts out angry that her sister would let her believe she was dead for the past 15 years, she ends up re-connecting and time melts away. I love this author's books. Her characters come to life and you experience something magical with every book. This book was just as magical, if not more so. I fell in love with the characters and the settings. I highly recommend this enchanting tale!
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  • Di
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful story about family relationships, and more importantly, the relationship between sisters. Or, non-relationship, especially when one thinks the other is dead. Common themes that appear in many books: love, betrayal, forgiveness and acceptance. A bit of a slow start until the story establishes itself. Told in alternate voices by each sister, the present explains the past. I loved the powerful connection between the sisters, even through all the years of their estrangement.
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  • chels marieantoinette
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a little cheesy for me. The love story and all the woah-is-me stuff were a little too much and I found myself uninterested & irritated. Kit and Josie definitely had horrible childhoods, but everyone needs to move on and move up eventually. I wanted to shake both of them.The dialogue was well-written, though. The descriptions of surfing, Sicilian home-cooking, touring Auckland, and the art-deco Sapphire House create beautiful imagery.I’d recommend this book to anyone into love s This book was a little cheesy for me. The love story and all the woah-is-me stuff were a little too much and I found myself uninterested & irritated. Kit and Josie definitely had horrible childhoods, but everyone needs to move on and move up eventually. I wanted to shake both of them.The dialogue was well-written, though. The descriptions of surfing, Sicilian home-cooking, touring Auckland, and the art-deco Sapphire House create beautiful imagery.I’d recommend this book to anyone into love stories, family drama, and interest childhood traumas. Could be a definite trigger for anyone who experienced childhood sexual or physical abuse, though.
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  • Kathie Mikulovsky
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful novel.I read this book in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. So complex, so poignant and just a little terrifying. Anyone who loves reading about family, relationships and secrets will love this book.
  • Terri
    January 1, 1970
    This was a 5 star read all the way for me! Ms. O'Neal's writing is superb! The book is about family dynamics, addiction, lies and deception and false perceptions. It is a dual point of view--the view of two sisters who have been separated by oceans and lies for ten years. Kit didn't know Josie was alive...and that's how Josie wanted it. If Kit finds her, it may mean the end of the life Josie has built for herself in New Zealand. The life she has now is the life she's always wanted and she won't This was a 5 star read all the way for me! Ms. O'Neal's writing is superb! The book is about family dynamics, addiction, lies and deception and false perceptions. It is a dual point of view--the view of two sisters who have been separated by oceans and lies for ten years. Kit didn't know Josie was alive...and that's how Josie wanted it. If Kit finds her, it may mean the end of the life Josie has built for herself in New Zealand. The life she has now is the life she's always wanted and she won't give it up--no matter what.When We Believed in Mermaids was striking in that the description of New Zealand by Ms. O'Neal was done in some miraculous manor that also revealed the souls of the two sisters. She somehow made you FEEL the place through each of the sisters. Every tree, every flower, every ocean breeze and every wave was vitally important to the women in this book and how they responded to life. Every bite of food and every sip of wine became an integral part of them and Ms. O'Neal made me feel as if I was experiencing all the joy and all the pain right along with them.The men in the book (alive and dead) demand their own importance. They play a vital part in the lives of the sisters. I didn't like them all, but they were the emotional outlets for the women; a necessary slice of their lives and they helped make them who they became.These were two of my favorite lines in the book: "She was the worst mother of all time. She was the best mother of all time." Aren't they all?I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Lori Boyd
    January 1, 1970
    🌟🌟🌟💫 3.5 Stars for this ARC. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing! When you read this book, you will feel like you are on vacation! Ms. O’Neal has a way of immersing you in her settings whether it’s in California or New Zealand, not just in her characters lives. Her writing is subtlety descriptive! A lot of issues are being dealt with ...death, grief, abuse, lies, addiction, and always love and forgiveness. I recommend sitting by the beach with your toes in the sand will bring this book 🌟🌟🌟💫 3.5 Stars for this ARC. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing! When you read this book, you will feel like you are on vacation! Ms. O’Neal has a way of immersing you in her settings whether it’s in California or New Zealand, not just in her characters lives. Her writing is subtlety descriptive! A lot of issues are being dealt with ...death, grief, abuse, lies, addiction, and always love and forgiveness. I recommend sitting by the beach with your toes in the sand will bring this book to life. Kit and Josie are not just sisters, they are best friends too. They depend on each other. After a tumultuous childhood dealing with their parents issues and dark secrets, they grow distant. Then Josie is killed. Grief has changed Kit and her Mom. Until the day both swear they see Josie on TV and Kit knows she needs to find out the truth.
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  • Miki Mackennedy
    January 1, 1970
    “My sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news.”With that fantastic opening line, we drop in to the story of 2 sisters, one presumed dead and one barely living.Two little girls, Josie and Kit, are raised by parents so enthralled with each other that they neglect their children, leaving them largely unattended in a little cove by their home. During a storm, a broken and unwanted teenage boy appears as their door, offering the girls a bit of security and stability “My sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news.”With that fantastic opening line, we drop in to the story of 2 sisters, one presumed dead and one barely living.Two little girls, Josie and Kit, are raised by parents so enthralled with each other that they neglect their children, leaving them largely unattended in a little cove by their home. During a storm, a broken and unwanted teenage boy appears as their door, offering the girls a bit of security and stability but he has his own issues of neglect and abuse.Josie dies in a terrorist attack, or at least seems to, until 15 years later, when Kit and her mother see her on the news. But Josie isn’t Josie anymore. Kit goes half a world away to track down her sister and get some answers. The description of the events of these two lives, abuse, neglect, death, catastrophe and ultimately rebuilding of a sort, is like being battered by wave after wave, with periods of calm just long enough to catch your breath. The ocean is a central theme in the telling of this story but also in how it’s told, the ebb and flow of past and present, the switching narrative of sister to sister.O’Neal does a beautiful job with language, immersing the reader into the ocean, the atmosphere and even the food. I could have done with less of the sizzling romance although I realize that it was important to show Kit letting her guard down and being open to reevaluate her life. I feel that this particular bit of story line as the story of Sapphire House detracted from the main plot, turning it from a 4 star to a 3 star for me.
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  • Leanna Mattea
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, this is a five star knockout! This is such an emotional story, on every level, a real tear jerker! A horribly broken and dysfunctional family, that appears to have been destroyed, along with the earthquake that left them displaced and homeless, is given a chance to rebuild 15 years later. Josie, dies in a terrorist attack in France and Kit is left to struggle alone, managing to become a doctor, but so disconnected and unloved. Then she sees Josie on TV, running from a fire in New Zealand, a Wow, this is a five star knockout! This is such an emotional story, on every level, a real tear jerker! A horribly broken and dysfunctional family, that appears to have been destroyed, along with the earthquake that left them displaced and homeless, is given a chance to rebuild 15 years later. Josie, dies in a terrorist attack in France and Kit is left to struggle alone, managing to become a doctor, but so disconnected and unloved. Then she sees Josie on TV, running from a fire in New Zealand, apparently, very much alive, and Kit goes to find her.Barbara O Neal is a masterful storyteller, and that she was able to pull this together was amazing. Lots of lives broken and damaged by the neglect of uninvolved parents, drugs, physical and sexual abuse, but it shows the resilience of the human spirit.My thanks to #LakeUnionPublishing #BarbaraO’Neil for the ARC. I hope my review does justice to this superb novel.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Fifteen years ago tragedy struck! Josie was killed by a terrorist! Her sister Kit was devastated!That was then but this is now after seeing her on the local news stumbling out of a nightclub fire.What?!The story takes on a personal flavor while delving into the past with this family, the upbringing, the abuse, the neglect from the parents, the rebuilding of each life.Kit is ultimately entering into a relationship along the way and this adds a special tweak to show she may be broken but even brok Fifteen years ago tragedy struck! Josie was killed by a terrorist! Her sister Kit was devastated!That was then but this is now after seeing her on the local news stumbling out of a nightclub fire.What?!The story takes on a personal flavor while delving into the past with this family, the upbringing, the abuse, the neglect from the parents, the rebuilding of each life.Kit is ultimately entering into a relationship along the way and this adds a special tweak to show she may be broken but even broken crayons color.The ebb and flow of the plot is similar to the ocean coming and going in waves.A nice read!
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Do yourself a favor and enter this amazing journey with twin souls, Kit and Josie. Two sisters that loved each other and took care of each other until life changed and Josie is killed in a terrorist attack while in New Zealand.Kit, now a physician in the Emergency room, sees a video on the television in the waiting room one evening, and swears that she sees her sister. Can this be? Could it be?Secrets will begin to unfold as Kit goes in search of this woman who has a strong resemblance to her de Do yourself a favor and enter this amazing journey with twin souls, Kit and Josie. Two sisters that loved each other and took care of each other until life changed and Josie is killed in a terrorist attack while in New Zealand.Kit, now a physician in the Emergency room, sees a video on the television in the waiting room one evening, and swears that she sees her sister. Can this be? Could it be?Secrets will begin to unfold as Kit goes in search of this woman who has a strong resemblance to her deceased twin soul. This is an intriguing novel and I really loved it! There is amazing details and you can actually feel the love, hurt, sadness, and anger that come forth from these girls as their lives unfold.
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  • Regina Mastrogiacomo
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE THIS BOOK. What a story. I was hook from the moment Kit and her mother saw Josie/Mari on TV. It was passionate, and it was thrilling uncovering all the details of the story. It has great romance and love of family.. I love the occupation of the characters and that love conquers all. It was sad how the parents messed up their children's lives but when you don’t deal with your own childhood it will come out some way.And finally I loved all the pets and a touch of the supernatural. The story I LOVE THIS BOOK. What a story. I was hook from the moment Kit and her mother saw Josie/Mari on TV. It was passionate, and it was thrilling uncovering all the details of the story. It has great romance and love of family.. I love the occupation of the characters and that love conquers all. It was sad how the parents messed up their children's lives but when you don’t deal with your own childhood it will come out some way.And finally I loved all the pets and a touch of the supernatural. The story definitely has a touch of your earlier novels(Rainmaker, Jezebel’s Blues) and the young adult series under Lark O’neal
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published at Reading RealityThis is the story about the deconstruction of a life. Not in the sense that things fall apart, because the lives of both Kit and Josie Bianchi fell apart a long, long time ago. The echoes of what happened in their childhood have rippled like aftershocks through everything that has happened since.Including, but definitely not limited to, Josie’s death – and the faking thereof.When We Believed in Mermaids is rather about the examination, in memory, of those l Originally published at Reading RealityThis is the story about the deconstruction of a life. Not in the sense that things fall apart, because the lives of both Kit and Josie Bianchi fell apart a long, long time ago. The echoes of what happened in their childhood have rippled like aftershocks through everything that has happened since.Including, but definitely not limited to, Josie’s death – and the faking thereof.When We Believed in Mermaids is rather about the examination, in memory, of those long ago events. What begins as a look back at a seemingly perfect childhood that was ripped apart by the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 reveals cracks in that perfection – just as the girls’ examination of their cliffside house revealed cracks that made the house’s fall inevitable.There were plenty of warning signs that a disaster was coming – but the adults were too wrapped up in themselves, and much too damaged themselves, to see it. And the girls were children. It’s only as adults that they are able to look back and see that what went wrong was hardly their fault.But now they are both adults. And both still scarred. Both, in their own ways, isolated because of it. Kit, whose life has come to be confined to her ER practice, her surfing, and her cat. While Josie, who seemingly has it all, is isolated by her secrets. No one knows her true self. Her past is another country, on another continent, and it happened to someone else.One brief moment in the background in someone else’s camera frame brings Josie’s worlds into collision. And Kit’s walls come tumbling down.Escape Rating B+: This is a story that can best be described as quietly charming. It feels like one of those stories where not a lot happens on the surface, but that surface is only 10% of what’s happening. Underneath, Kit and Josie are paddling like crazy.While the comparison is to an iceberg, there’s nothing cold about the story – including its two settings, the California coast and Auckland, New Zealand. Where it’s a hot and steamy late summer when Kit arrives to investigate that three-second sighting of the sister who has been presumed dead for 15 years.We begin the story from Kit’s point of view as she believes, disbelieves, questions and investigates a possibility that has haunted her for all of her adult life. What if Josie is still alive?In alternating chapters we find ourselves looking through the eyes of a woman named Mari. Who seemingly has it all, a rich and handsome husband, two terrific kids, a storied house to investigate – and a gigantic secret.As both Kit and Mari remember their childhoods, with each dive into the past revealing more cracks in that originally perfect surface, their memories converge. It’s obvious fairly quickly that Mari is Josie, and that she’s rightfully worried that her few seconds in that background shot are going to bring her world crashing down – and she’s right.But until the crash, it’s Kit’s view that holds the attention. While Mari has found the life she dreamed of, and is afraid of losing it – Kit is very much still seeking, not just Josie, but a life that will not merely sustain her but support her and enrich her spirit. Her search, including her hesitant relationship with the handsome Spanish guitarist Jose Velez, opens her heart and shakes her certainties – even as she hunts down the sister she never expected to find.Kit’s on a quest, and somewhat ironically, Josie is the macguffin she’s looking for. But all the while, both of them are internally exploring their memories of the life they once shared together. As those memories reach toward the present, Josie and Kit reach towards each other.And the possibility of a shared – and much brighter – future.I picked up When We Believed in Mermaids because I enjoyed The Art of Inheriting Secrets by this same author very much, with just a few quibbles. The same is true about When We Believed in Mermaids, including the quibbles. Both are stories where events in the present cause the narrator(s) to search through their own pasts as well as the past of a place that they become involved with in the course of the story, so if you like one you’ll definitely like the other.In The Art of Inheriting Secrets, I had a couple of issues with the way that the hesitant romance in that book proceeded, but loved the look back into the past of the house she inherits and the mother she discovers that she never really knew. There’s also an old house in Mermaids, and I was hoping for as interesting a reveal of its history as there was in Secrets, but alas, it was not to be. The secrets about Sapphire House, when finally revealed, felt anticlimactic. That was the one part of the story where I really expected more.Then again, I love stories about research done well and filled with fascinating reveals. And there were plenty of those fascinating reveals in Kit and Josie’s hesitant journeys down memory lane. As I said, this story is quietly charming, and I was certainly charmed. If you’re looking for a beach read this summer all you have to do is believe in these mermaids!
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the most heart wrenching books I have read in a long time. The subjects in this story are so realistic and heartfelt that it had me in gut wrenching tears. Especially toward the end. It’s one that will definitely keep you turning the pages and grabbing the kleenex. Two sisters who are almost totally dependent on each other. Parents who for the most part are not available for them. A young boy who comes along and keeps them straight. Josie and Kit, the sisters who believe in Mermai This is one of the most heart wrenching books I have read in a long time. The subjects in this story are so realistic and heartfelt that it had me in gut wrenching tears. Especially toward the end. It’s one that will definitely keep you turning the pages and grabbing the kleenex. Two sisters who are almost totally dependent on each other. Parents who for the most part are not available for them. A young boy who comes along and keeps them straight. Josie and Kit, the sisters who believe in Mermaids. Who believe in each other. Who have faith in the universe in many ways.Then one summer it’s all torn apart. This book will have you torn in ways you will not forget. It’s very realistic the way the author describes the things that happen. A young girl’s anguish. The things that happened to her at such a young and tender age. It’s not right. Children are meant to be happy and carefree. Free to run and play. Explore and live. But for one sister it’s a nightmare. For the other it’s innocence. One has no idea what is happening to the other. Then when they get older one is gone. Gone in such a horrific way. But is she really? Is she safe and sound and finally at peace with her life? Kit looks for her sister after seeing her on the news and finds more than she bargained for. She learns so much in such a short period of time too. Some good and some not so good. Actually a lot not so good but better now. Josie had to take the chance she took. It basically saved her life. I was very upset with her for a while. Until I read her story. Then my heart broke into a million pieces for that little girl. The little nine year old who went through what no child should have to go through. I felt her pain. I truly felt it. I’ve lived it and know what she felt. The shame of it. The horror of it. It made her into a person she didn’t want to be though. I felt so sorry for her. When she “died” she was able to live again. To build a beautiful life with a beautiful family. One she richly deserved.Kit didn’t believe in love. Not the soulmate, heart beating fast, earth shattering love that some of us do believe in and do have. It takes a trip far away for her to finally feel the earth move. To feel the waves of desire that touch your very soul. The beauty of true, unspoiled, heartfelt love. The kind of love that only comes once in a lifetime. If you are lucky. She finds so much on this trip and finally finds herself too.I don’t know what to say other than this is a great book with a heartbreaking and then heart mending feel to it. It’s one that takes the reader on a ride that they will both love and hate. Love the good and the feels, hate the hurt and heartaches. It’s written is a way that pulls at your heart quite a bit. It did for me. My eyes are so swollen from crying. This book may should have a warning label attached. It has great characters. Great scenery and will make you feel like you are actually on the waves with both Kit and Josie. You will feel so many of the feels in this book. I actually had to lay this book down a few times and breath. Deep breathing to calm me down. It hit me right in the heart. Hard!!Thank you to #NetGalley #Lake Union Publishers for the ARC of this book.I give it a high 5 stars and highly recommend it with a warning to stock up on kleenex. I promise you will need them.
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  • Kendra - Kendra Loves Books
    January 1, 1970
    Blog | Bloglovin | Instagram | Twitter Kit was working in the ER when she looked at the TV and saw her died sister of fifteen years. Her sister Josie was supposedly killed in a terrorist train attack in France. On the TV there was a live coverage of a nightclub fire in Auckland and the woman on the screen looked identical to Kit's sister. Kit decides she is going to go to Auckland and find her. The book is told in two perspectives Kit and Mari, which is her sister Josie. She stole someone Blog | Bloglovin | Instagram | Twitter Kit was working in the ER when she looked at the TV and saw her died sister of fifteen years. Her sister Josie was supposedly killed in a terrorist train attack in France. On the TV there was a live coverage of a nightclub fire in Auckland and the woman on the screen looked identical to Kit's sister. Kit decides she is going to go to Auckland and find her. The book is told in two perspectives Kit and Mari, which is her sister Josie. She stole someone's identity and is going by Mari now. She is married and has two children and loves her life. While Kit is an ER doctor and is very lonely. When Kit gets to Auckland she is on her search for her sister and she meets a man who she can confide in and talk to about her sister and they end up having a romantic relationship.This is a very character based book you learn through the two perspectives about their childhood and what made them into the people they are today. I honestly can't believe Josie would leave her family high and dry and fake her own death. Leaving your family to grieve over you and your not even dead. I kind of think it's selfish. And poor Kit I would be pissed if I saw my dead sister alive. At first I though Kit and Javier, her love interest was kind of creepy. He was kind of mysterious, but after getting to know him he was a really nice and genuine guy. Kit definitely deserves someone good in her life for everything she has gone through. I felt the book was beautifully well written and recommend if you are into family dramas and character driven books.For more reviews, please visit:
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    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)Josie and Kit grew up on the beach in California where their dad owned a restaurant overlooking the ocean. The family was extremely dysfunctional 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)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 not matter what. Mermaids meant so much to the sisters that they had matching mermaid tattoos on their arms.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kristina Simon
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great story. I was hooked from the very first scene where Kit Bianci, an exhausted ER doctor coming off the late shift, sees her sister on the television news. That might not have been such a shocker if her sister hadn't died 15 years prior. The mystery of why a woman would choose to leave behind everyone and everything she knows and loves kept me turning the pages.Using chapters that alternate between Kit's point of view and her sister's, O'Neal builds a compelling story of sisters wh This is a great story. I was hooked from the very first scene where Kit Bianci, an exhausted ER doctor coming off the late shift, sees her sister on the television news. That might not have been such a shocker if her sister hadn't died 15 years prior. The mystery of why a woman would choose to leave behind everyone and everything she knows and loves kept me turning the pages.Using chapters that alternate between Kit's point of view and her sister's, O'Neal builds a compelling story of sisters who, while extremely close, have vastly different childhood experiences, which ultimately lead to very different outcomes and perspectives. I thought the author did a wonderful job illustrating how flawed decision making can culminate in far-reaching, unintended consequences. This is the first book I've read by Barbara O'Neal, but it certainly won't be the last. I found her descriptive, emotional writing to be beautiful and thought provoking. Her writing reminds me a lot of Kristin Hannah's. I look forward to reading more from her.Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Barbara O'Neal for providing me with a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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