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When We Believed in Mermaids

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  86 reviews
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.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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4.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  197 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Susan Peterson
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bambi Rathman
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Faith Freewoman
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this-book
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.
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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 ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
chels marieantoinette
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, street-team-book
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 ...more
Lori Boyd
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
🌟🌟🌟💫 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
Miki Mackennedy
“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
Leanna Mattea
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Regina Mastrogiacomo
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Donna Hines
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
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.
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
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Kendra - Kendra Loves Books
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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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
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'
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book!! I was hook right from the beginning. The characters, story and writing style- so pretty much everything. I now need to go visit New Zealand. It sounded amazing. I loved Kit. I'm surprised how well she did in life with the childhood she experienced. She loved her cat so much and even wanted her mom to stay at the house with him, so he wouldn't feel abandoned. Loved how she FaceTimed with the kitty. I can understand her anger with Mari. Josie was definitely hard to like. Althou ...more
Kerry Croucier
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kit is shocked when she sees her dead sister on a newscast of a tragedy from half way around the world. With encouragement from her mother, she heads to New Zealand in search of answers. Mari (Josie)has a new life and she’s happy. To survive, she killed off Josie and started over, putting her past behind her. The sisters were close as children, sticking together through a turbulent childhood of neglect. Kit’s journey to find answers about her sister leads her into a journey of self-discovery, fl ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One night while working in the ER, Kit, happens to glance at the tv an there in the background is here sister Josie, who died fifteen years ago in a terrorist attack. The resemblance is unmistakable. The news footage was from a club fire in Auckland, and soon Kit hops on a plane to go in search of Josie, whom she has believed to be dead all this time. With this new discovery, Kit is forced to confront the demons of her past. Revisiting old memories of her and Josie spending their time pretending ...more
Claire Mc Partlin
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must admit I've only read one other Barbara O'Neal book, but I definitely need to remedy that as I loved the other book I read (The All You Can Dream Buffet), and this one was even better.

The story drew me in immediately with the very first line 'my sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news', and it just got better and better as it progressed.

The story is about two sisters, Kit and Josie, and flips back and forth between their growing up in a very volatile fam
Lori Palmer (Palmer's Page Turners)
I've been a Barabara O'Neal fan foa a long time--I remember picking up The Lost Recipe for Happiness at the bookstore, absolutely loving it, and immediately adding her to my "must read" author list! I love her writing style, and I love how her books have depth, but yet are easy and enjoyable to read. When We Believed in Mermaids is one of her best!
I absolutely loved the New Zealand setting, and I loved the story of Kit and Josie's sisterly bond. This story did have some romance, too--Javier the
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It is about sisters, family, relationships, love, loss, secrets, and new beginnings. Barbara O'Neal pens a sweet and charming book that will warm readers hearts with engaging characters and a nice storyline in When We Believed in Mermaids.

Getting to know the two sisters, really helped to bring them to life for me. Also, it brought me closer to them both. I had no favorite as I could relate to both of them for different reasons. I did want to point out that I read some readers
Reads Rhymes
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
When We Believed In Mermaids is a beautiful but heartbreaking story centred on the relationship between two sisters. As the past catches up with them in the present it’s time to decide what is unforgivable and what can be forgiven.

It took a while to get me hooked as I found some of the early decisions a bit unbelievable but once I was transported to the beautiful beaches of New Zealand I didn’t want to come back.

I loved the gorgeous descriptions of the settings and the complexity of the characte
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Erica Robyn
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tlc-book-tour
When We Believed In Mermaids is a story centered around two sisters who are moving through life trying to run from the ghosts of their past.

If you're looking for a lighter summer read that is centered upon family drama and a slight dash of mystery, then I highly recommend this one to you!

Unfortunately for me, this one was a bit boring and quite repetitive. That's just how I feel about most books with two POV's.

I really enjoyed the last quarter of the book though! I even teared up toward the en
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I am alive. I am human. I am loved.” This is the first book I have ever read by Barbara O’Neal. I love her writing style. She made me fall in love with Kit from the first chapter. This is the story of Kit and her sister Josie and all the relationships that are connected. The story starts with Kit, who is an ER doctor- single, childless. She doesn’t really allow people to get close to her- and love, no way. She is watching the news and see’s her sister, Josie, in the background. She knows it is ...more
LianaReads blog
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
When we believed in mermaids is a beautiful and also heartbreaking story about two sisters that went through a lot of difficult moments in their lives.
The story is very well written and will keep you engrossed in its pages without even realising where the time has gone when you finish reading it.
The story itself it's sad and heartbreaking because it deals with so many triggers situations for many people but it could easily be a reality for any contemporary family as well, not only fic
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I'm the author of more than a dozen books of women's fiction, which have been translated into many languages and won many awards.

I love in Colorado with my partner, a British endurance athlete who doesn't mind my predilection for too many pets.

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You many read more about Barbara’s books at her main website,
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