*Book Review at the bottom of the page
Two sisters who haven’t spoken for twenty years. One summer to bring a family back together.
Jayne Winters hasn’t seen her sister Charlotte since that last childhood holiday at their grandmother’s North Carolina beach house. Separated after that summer by their parents in a bitter divorce, Charlotte has never forgiven Jayne for not fighting to stay together.
So when Jayne discovers that they have both inherited the beach house, and that their grandmother’s last wish was for them to renovate it together, it feels like a miracle: one last chance to win her sister back.
At first Charlotte will barely speak to her. But slowly the memories of swimming races and storytelling in their attic bedroom looking over the sea start to break down the wall between them. With the help of photographs and letters left by their grandmother for them to find, the two women begin to restore not just the creaking mahogany staircase and the faded antique wallpaper, but their own relationship.
But then Jayne discovers that Charlotte has kept a heart-stopping secret from their past from her. Can she find it in her heart to forgive her sister and keep their grandmother’s dream of reuniting them alive—or are some wounds too big to heal?
An emotional and uplifting read about sisters, secrets and the family bonds that hold us together no matter how complicated they are, from the bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper. Fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe will love this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cynthia Ellingsen is an Amazon Charts bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature heartwarming characters and strong family connections, often with a touch of mystery. The Starlight Cove series, her best-known work, is available on audio and has been translated into several languages.
Cynthia began her writing career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and now lives in Kentucky with her family.
Brought back together by their Grandmother’s will and last wishes, sisters Charlotte and Jayne, separated by divorcing parents when they were young, reunite to renovate her old beach house. As paint is chipped away and walls torn down, so are feelings and barriers, as they confront long-held secrets and memories. Their grandmother has hidden letters and remembrances throughout the house. Will her dying wish and carefully planned treasure hunt bring them back together?
This is a sweet summer read about sisters, secrets, and the importance of loved ones. The story flowed so well I read it in one sitting. It is a story of two sisters who have endured separation, rejection, and loss due to the actions of their parents. This novel emphasizes the importance of family, with all its complications and flaws. Full of heartbreak and secrets, but also love and hope, When We Were Sisters shows us how the strings that bind us with our loved ones are still present, even across time and distance.
Four and a half stars, rounded up to five on sites without a half-star option.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.