Friday, 27 September 2019

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal


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.

Author: Barbara O'Neal
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 16th July 2019

I purchased a copy of this book to read and review.

My Review

This book was a game of two halves for me.  So, firstly the title put me off.  At first glance I assumed it would be more of a fantasy book, which I am not so big a fan of but when I really looked at the cover and took the time to read the book description I immediately knew this would be a book I would enjoy.
When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel by [O'Neal, Barbara]

The book was for me a little slow places but I did persevere and I am so glad I did.  The book drew me in and the characters got under my skin and came to life. As I approached the middle of the book I struggled to put it down as the threads started to come together and the tragic pasts were revealed.

The two sisters are the total opposites.  Firstly, there is a Kit, she's worked hard to be a doctor and now works in the ER department.  He job and surfing is her life along with her cat, Hobo.  She's lives near to her mother and near to the sea.  Her sister Josie was wild and reckless falling in with the wrong crowd as a teenager she ran off to Europe where she was caught up in a terrorist attach and presumed dead.  When Kit spots a woman who looks the spitting image of Josie she sets off to New Zealand to find out the truth.

Mari, previously known as Josie, is not all she seems.  She is living the perfect life under the guise of a terrible lie.  The one thing she doesn't want to happen is for her sister Kit to appear out of the blue and destroy her web of lies but the things soon spiral out of her control.

This book seamlessly flicks between the past and the present.  Both the sisters did not have the prefect upbringing and when a lone boy named Drew enters the family they both fall in love with him but Drew is damaged beyond repair and they are saving him and much as he is saving them.  

I enjoyed getting to know the complex character of Drew.  His story was never fully revealed but the author cleverly drip fed enough information about him to make him intriguing and mysterious.  I still don't know if I loved him or hated him.

I loved the way that this book gently dug into each characters hopes and fears and portrayed them as the damaged individuals that they are.  The scars that they'd all accumulated along the path of life would probably never truly fully heal but they were starting to try and move on.  

Both sisters had one thing in common and that was their love of surfing. A sport that they undertook that enabled them to forget about life for a short while and be at one with the sea.

This book although a slow burner for me soon had me hooked.  A story of love, loss, heartbreak and unbreakable bonds.  Everything I love in a book.

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