When We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards

 Love and loyalty made them sisters. Secrets could still destroy them.


A moving and brilliantly written book. Emilie Richards portrays the foster system that tries, but often fails, to protect the children it serves. The two girls in book, Cecilia and Robin, vowed to be sisters that they each never had. As adults they have gone their own ways but still remained close. While working together on a documentary about foster care, the women are able to face their painful past so that they can move on.  A quote from the book “My mother was sixteen when she abandoned me. You were sixteen when you refused to abandon me.” shows how much they needed each other and their devotion to each other.

When We Were Sisters represents a side of foster care/children. This book in no way bashes foster care or the system failures. Just depicts one case where there was a failure. A statement from the book describing what living in foster care is like – “At the mercy of strangers” – still floats in my head. The book demonstrates the importance of protecting children and to make sure that the systems in place are operating the way they must. I think it was written with genuine care to the characters and to the foster system. It is also a story of love, family, pain, heartbreak, and healing. It is very thought provoking. This is a five-star review for me because I’m still processing the book weeks later and the impact it has had on me.

I received an advance copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review, but I enjoyed this book so much I bought the eBook the day it was available.

BONUS:  Emilie’s blog has an abundance of extras on creating When We Were Sisters. Emilie has provided an inside look into creating the cover, behind the scenes cover shoot, shares character autobiographies of Robin, Kris, and Cecilia, and created a playlist of songs that represents the story and she explains why. Go to her website to view these special bonuses. http://emilierichards.com/2016/05/sisters-robin-speaks/


“When We Were Sisters is the story of two foster sisters, Robin and Cecilia, reaching back into their past as they film a documentary on the foster care system.

As children in foster care, Cecilia and Robin vowed they would be the sisters each had never had. Now superstar singer-songwriter Cecilia lives life on the edge, but when Robin is nearly killed in an accident, Cecilia drops everything to be with her.

Robin set aside her career as a successful photojournalist to create the loving family she always yearned for. But gazing through a wide-angle lens at both past and future, she sees that her marriage is disintegrating. Her attorney husband is rarely home. She and the children need Kris’s love and attention, but does Kris need them?

When Cecilia asks Robin to be the still photographer for a documentary on foster care, Robin agrees, even though Kris will be forced to take charge for the months she’s away. She gambles that he’ll prove to them both that their children—and their marriage—are a priority in his life.

Cecilia herself needs more than time with her sister. A lifetime of lies has finally caught up with her. She wants a chance to tell the real story of their childhood and free herself from the nightmares that still haunt her.

As the documentary unfolds, memories will be tested and the meaning of family redefined, but the love two young girls forged into bonds of sisterhood will help them move forward as the women they were always meant to be.”


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