When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel

When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel

by Barbara O'Neal


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781542004527
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 07/16/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 36,965
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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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When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Vhardman318 1 days ago
This is a beautifully written story of two sisters and their very dysfunctional family and lives. The Bianci sisters are wonderfully crafted characters that you can’t help but root for. They will leave you frustrated at times but also leave you wanting to know more. Barbara O’Neal has developed characters in this story that are easy to identify with and a storyline that will keep your attention all the way to the end. The story is heartbreaking in parts and joyful in other parts. This is a new to me author and I’m so appreciative of being able to read this wonderful story. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it. I was able to read this book in one day because I didn’t want to put it down. Thank you #netgalley and #lakeunionpublishing for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. The opinions above are my own thoughts and feelings about this book.
Kittylou 3 days ago
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for my ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. The story weaves through the separate lives of 2 sisters trying to recover from a traumatic childhood and their fight to recover, and find life, love, trust and each other again. This touching well written book was an amazing read. I fell in love with each and every one of the characters and wanted to jump in the book and hug them. The writing was so good and the descriptions of the food and scenery made me feel like part of the story. The plot was so touching and had me in tears several times. I love books that make me feel, awaken my senses ....Touch my heart and soul. I would give this book a 10 if I could! A must read and a joy to give this marvellous story a 5!
KerryACroucier 4 days ago
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, flashing back to her past and realizing what is missing from her life. Mari is on the same journey to reconcile her past and find a way to reintegrate her mother and sister into her life, while trying to figure out how she is going to explain to those she loves why she felt the need to take on a new identity. My heart broke over and over for Kit and her sister as we learn more about their childhood and how much each had overcome. The characters were so well-written, they conjured a gamut of emotions in me, but ultimately I was rooting them both on. I love the way O’Neal put the story together, and her descriptions of the settings were beautiful. This is a great one to sit back with and pass a summer day. Grab everything you need because once you start this one, you won’t want to walk away. #whenwebelievedinmermaids #barbaraoneal #lakeunionpublishing
Itsahardbacklife4me 4 days ago
“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 her because of the scar on her face- the only problem is, Josie has been dead for 15 years. Kit’s mother convinces her to go see if she can find Josie. She finds her and so much more. It tells the story of their growing up, their families, and all the things that come with familial relationships. I was rooting for Kit the entire time and was so happy with the way the story played out. I definitely recommend this one!!!
LoriKB 4 days ago
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 to life. Kit and Josie are not just sisters, they are best friends too. They depend on each other. After a tumultuous childhood dealing with their parents issues and dark secrets, they grow distant. Then Josie is killed. Grief has changed Kit and her Mom. Until the day both swear they see Josie on TV and Kit knows she needs to find out the truth.
Robindpdx 4 days ago
I loved this well-written, richly textured story. The descriptions and scenes were so vivid, it felt like I was there. All five senses were engaged - I could imagine how the food looked and tasted, how the scenery looked and sounded, how it felt to be there, and how it felt to be each of the main characters. I never wanted this book to end, and at the same time I wanted to rush through it to find out what happened next - and next - and next! Every time I read a book by this author I think, "Oh, this is the best book ever!" And then I read another one by the author - and fall in love with it too. I can't recommend this book highly enough, and I can't wait to read whatever the author publishes next.
lauriesophee 4 days ago
Do yourself a favor and enter in on 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 deceased twin soul. This is an intriguing novel and I really loved it! There is amazing details and you can actually feel the love, hurt, sadness, and anger that come forth from these girls as their lives unfold.
Terri_C 4 days ago
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 give it up--no matter what. When We Believed in Mermaids was striking in that the description of New Zealand by Ms. O'Neal was done in some miraculous manor that also revealed the souls of the two sisters. She somehow made you FEEL the place through each of the sisters. Every tree, every flower, every ocean breeze and every wave was vitally important to the women in this book and how they responded to life. Every bite of food and every sip of wine became an integral part of them and Ms. O'Neal made me feel as if I was experiencing all the joy and all the pain right along with them. The men in the book (alive and dead) demand their own importance. They play a vital part in the lives of the sisters. I didn't like them all, but they were the emotional outlets for the women; a necessary slice of their lives and they helped make them who they became. These were two of my favorite lines in the book: "She was the worst mother of all time. She was the best mother of all time." Aren't they all? I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
mholden 4 days ago
This was such a powerful book. It certainly checks all the emotional boxes and in some respects it is definitely not a happy tale. But it is a glorious roller coaster ride. It is a story of difficult relationships, troubled pasts and abandonment. It is a story of new beginnings and hope. Barbara O’Neal has an amazing gift for making characters real, rather than too pretty and perfect to be true. This book was tragic, heart wrenching, beautiful and hopeful. Like a phoenix the relationship between a mother and two daughters rises out of the ashes and becomes something new. This book is a gift.
Claire140 4 days ago
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 family in California who have a restaurant on the beach, and the present day with Kit working as an E.R. doctor and of course the 'dead' Josie. Once Kit and her Mother spot someone in the background of a TV report who they are sure is Josie, who supposedly died in a terrorist explosion years ago, Kit is persuaded by her Mother to fly to New Zealand and investigate. The story is all about secrets, some really heartbreaking, family, relationships and childhood neglect, leading to Josie being the sister who went off the rails but reinvented herself. There are some really great characters in this book and I was really happy that Kit met a great Spanish guy in New Zealand called Javier as she always seemed to be the sister a little bit out of the loop and left behind, but she finally realised how much she was loved and she did really have a great life, especially after their quite traumatic childhood. Just a really fabulous, easy reading book with some great descriptions of New Zealand. I've never been there but it sounds absolutely idyllic and a place I'd love to visit. So a fabulous setting, really interesting characters, and a really intriguing story with a little mystery thrown in, what's not to like! A book I will remember.
MKF 4 days ago
Kit is shocked when she sees her sister Josie, who she has believed is dead for the last 10 years, alive and running from a fire in New Zealand. These two had a dreadful childhood; their lives have been shaped by what happened to them as young girls. Josie chose to disappear and remake herself. Kit became a physician but she has a hole inside her. How they come together and heal is at the root of this novel, which has great descriptions of New Zealand (as it should!). There are men, both good and bad (and both at the same time) and perhaps more emphasis than you might like on a romance but nonetheless it does sort of work in context. Thanks to net galley for the ARC. A very good read.