Emilie Richards' When We Were Sisters

I've read many Emilie Richards books over the years, but this one quickly became a favorite. It's not an overly fast-paced novel, but it's so emotionally gripping and woven intricately. I felt like I was part of When We Were Sisters.

Robin's childhood was lousy. Her teen mother left her with her grandmother, and her grandmother seemed intent on making Robin pay emotionally for daring to be born. As a result, Robin chose to be mute rather than say anything that would only add fuel to the fire. When Robin's grandmother died, Robin entered the foster care system. That's where she met and became "sisters" with Cecilia.

Many years later, Cecilia is a popular musician. Robin gave up her career to raise a family. Robin's not in the happiest of places. She adores her kids, but her workaholic husband seems far happier working long hours than spending time with any of them. When Robin is in a car accident that kills her friend and neighbor and leaves Robin with serious injuries, she thinks it might be what it takes to turn her husband around, only nothing changes. He is late to their neighbor's funeral. He still misses dinner and time with their kids. Meanwhile, Cecilia breezes in and makes Robin the offer of a lifetime.

Cecilia's been approached to star in a documentary about growing up in the foster care system. She is eager to do the project, no matter how painful returning to her past will be, but she can get Robin a job in photojournalism again. Robin's just as eager to jumpstart her old career. For Robin it's a chance to see if her husband can become the man she fell in love with. For Cecilia, this project is going to bring her dark past to light and hopefully allow her to move on from secrets that have haunted her for decades.

There are touches of romance in Emilie Richards' latest novel. You have Robin and Kris's struggling marriage and Cecilia's struggles as she begins to fall for her long-time manager. This adds a little lightness to the sometimes dark subject matter of the failures of the foster care system.

Much of When We Were Sisters is told from varying points of view. It focuses a lot on Robin and Cecilia, but the addition of Kris's insight completes the picture. It's an emotionally charged look at work, marriage, and life in general, and I loved it.


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