Published: July 16, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre(s): Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback: 352 pages
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.
How far would you go to change your life?
I’ve always been fascinated by the ways people deal with trauma and change. It’s a cornerstone in nearly all of my books—who gets through trauma? How do they do it?
I once met a woman who had discovered that her husband was having an affair with a secretary in his office. She marched into the office, met the woman face to face, and kissed her. “I just wanted you to know what I tasted like,” she said.
The thing is, it had been ten years since that moment. She was long divorced and sitting with a man who clearly adored her, but she had never really left the past behind. She was still stuck there.
How do you really leave the past behind? How do you escape a life you’re mired in? A life that doesn’t serve you? A life that will almost certainly kill you?
That’s the central question in new book, When We Believed in Mermaids. Sisters Kit and Josie have lived through a sometimes idyllic, sometimes horrific childhood, and each of them have to find ways to make a life after they’ve lost everything. Kit devotes herself to her studies and to surfing with a goal of becoming an ER doctor. Josie…takes a different route. One seems like the right answer, and the other is shocking, but what does it really take to make a new self? To start a new life?
I hope you’ll surf along with Kit and Josie on the beaches outside of Santa Cruz and Auckland, as they twirl with their dog on the sand and learn each other’s secrets after decades of silence. It was a book I loved writing and offer to you with so much love.
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 with her beloved, a British endurance athlete who vows he’ll never lose his accent.
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