Cover Image: When We Were Sisters

When We Were Sisters

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A women's contemporary fiction When We Were Sisters is the story of Jayne and Charlotte who are sisters but separated due to circumstances not created by them. Set in North Carolina its a novel about sisterhood, trying to heal from the wounds of the past and moving forward again. 
Though the ending is predictable this book makes a wonderful read. Its endearing and emotional to read the way these sisters struggled to stay connected throughout their life but still are separated. And when they finally start connecting you will become their cheer squad. The only thing I would have liked more was Charlotte's point of view in her words. I really enjoyed this book.
Was this review helpful?
A very heartwarming story. I hoped for the sisters to find their way back  to each other at the oceanside house left to them by their grandmother. A very typical summer beach read, but again very heartwarming and the characters very likeable.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Jayne and Charlotte are left a beach house in the estate of their late Grandmother. Years earlier the girls parents have gone through a messy divorced and the girls are separated, Jayne moved to Ireland with her Mum and Charlotte remains in States. Both girls have obviously abandonment issues because of this and instead of being close siblings, hardly know how to speak to each other. Their Grandmother has a plan to get them back together renovating her old beach house where the girls have some amazing memories and has left them a scavenger hunt to remind them of their times together and the bond that can't be broken.

Whilst this book is very emotional in places it still manages to somehow be a lovely summer read, as the Sisters try to work through their own personal issues that have come around because of the separation, they try to re-build that bond they shared when they were small. Jayne moves into the beach house with Charlotte and her family whilst they try to do the renovations and the Sisters try to reconnect.

It is the first book I have read by the author but hopefully it won't be the last. I really enjoyed the writing style and the colourful characters. The book is written from Jaynes POV, and moves through different time periods from the present back to when the girls were young. It also shares aspects from both girls childhoods when there were together and how their lives were after they have been separated. It is a truly awful circumstance and I can't imagine every being separated from my Sister. Even thought I might have relished it in my teenage years....
Was this review helpful?
Jayne and Charlotte are two sisters that have lived separate lives for longer than they can remember. After being separated as young kids by their parents, their anger and resentment towards the situation soon became stronger than their bond and tore them apart. One day they find out their grandmother left them a house after she passes away, but the caveat of them keeping the house is that they must spend the summer working to restore it together. Can they find a way to get over the past and be in each others' lives again as they work to restore the house, can they restore their relationship as well?

This was such an enjoyable summer read for me. I found myself quickly drawn into the story as it began to unravel and couldn't wait to see how it would play out! As the story progressed, I began to go back and forth with each sister. First, taking Jayne's side and blaming Charlotte. Then, taking Charlotte's side and blaming Jayne. Back and forth. I couldn't decide! But I loved the unexpected ending and can't wait to read more from the author!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for my review and honest opinions.
Was this review helpful?
When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen was a lovely read and I was gripped by the very first few pages. 
Two sisters who haven’t spoken for twenty years. One summer to bring a family back together. "I couldn't even think of not talking to my sisters for less than a few days! But twenty years! wow!!!!

Jayne Winters hasn’t seen her sister Charlotte for twenty years ever since their last childhood holiday at their grandmother’s in North Carolina beach house. They were separated after that summer by their parents in a bitter divorce, Charlotte has never forgiven Jayne, every time she thinks back, she can never forgive her for what happened and not fighting for them to stay together. 
Jane discovers that their grandmother has died and she has left the beach house to her and her sister. Their grandmother's last wish was for them to renovate it together, it feels like a miracle: and one last chance to win her sister back. It takes a while but slowly they start to talk to each other, lots of great memories start to come back of their childhood together and they were so close.....
The 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 become close again?

Wow this is a really good book and it made me think - what if that happened to me and my 3 sisters! Is all falling out? Could we find it in our hearts to forgive each other and become friends and close sisters again?
Shudder I would hate that to happen! 

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
'When we were sisters' by Cynthia Ellingsen is an emotional but gripping story about two sisters who were separated at their young age by their parents. It not only is thought provoking and interesting, it also raises a lot of questions in our mind about parenting, children's hearts and their expectations

Jayne Winters and Charlotte are two sisters who discover that they have been named as the beneficiary of their Grandmother's will of her oceanside estate in North Carolina but with a very novel condition. They have been estranged for many years except for one summer in their childhood when they had spent the summer with their granny.  
The condition in the will gives them an opportunity to connect, get to know each other and also reminisce of the past. Old wounds are also touched. Would the once estranged sisters be able to find love again, will they be able to reconcile the mistakes of their parents and whats the surprise that I didnt expect to find. 

The story is written very beautifully, goes back and forth between past and present. It is narrated from the OV of Jayne and I as a reader did take sides as the story progressed but at the end I was much wiser that it is never good to take sides in emotional matters related to children and heart. It made me think, ponder about my childhood, my parenting of my children and so much more. It will be difficult to put the story down. The story also takes us to the scenic beach town with a parallel story of romance and friendship. The sisters journey of rediscovering each other, their past and the present to step into a future unknown along with the grandmother's surprise gifts all makes it a very enjoyable read. 

If you love emotional stories then do pick this one up. I loved it. 
I thank the author, The publisher Bookouture and Netgalley for approving my request to review and providing with an eARC. The opinions expressed are all mine.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read this Arc.
Two sisters, Charlotte and Jayne were separated when they were young, Jayne moving to Ireland with her mother while Charlotte stayed in the USA with her father. They haven't seen or been in contact with each other for twenty years. But their grandmother has left them her house with the condition they renovate it together. Read on to find out how that goes!!! A bittersweet read and I loved it.
Was this review helpful?
The story of two sisters separated when their parents divorced with one living in Ireland and the other in the US, the pain of separation and the selfishness of parents meant that they completely lost touch with bitterness on both sides.  So when their grandmother leaves them a stunning beachfront house on the proviso that they restore it together can old hurts and jealousies be overcome and bring the sisters back together.

A lovely warm story that captivates you from the beginning, it soon becomes clear that there is a lot of hurt on both sides but that the hurt stems from love and the fear of rejection. It is lovely to see the family secrets unfold and the flashbacks to when they were happy together. Perfect beach read
Was this review helpful?
Having a sister myself, I just adored this sweet sister story. Two sisters separated for many years are reunited to restore their mutual grandma's home that they have both inherited. I had ideas of how I wanted this book to end, but the real ending is so much better than I could have imagined. Do yourself a favor and get swept away into this heart-warming family tale for the ages. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book! But, then again, I could resonate with the essential theme of two sisters being separated and coming together again. I hadn’t been in one of my sister’s lives for thirteen years. I believe the author did a good job of capturing all the emotions at play and wreaking havoc. 

In this book, the two sisters were separated by well-meaning parents but that doesn’t mean that it was necessarily the smartest decision in the long run. Fast forward twenty-five years and the two of them inherit their grandmother’s house. Part of the stipulation in the will is that the sisters work to restore the old, beautiful, oceanside home together. The one sister is married, and this added another dynamic as her family—her husband and two sons were around. The single sister gets to meet her brother-in-law and nephews for the first time.

This was a gripping page-turner, and I highly recommend from the layered characters to the gorgeous backdrop in a small ocean town next to the water. Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley, and the author for the advanced reading copy.
Was this review helpful?
An emotionally satisfying tale about love, loyalty, family ties and the bonds that break, Cynthia Ellingsen’s When We Were Sisters is a poignant, tender and astute tale that will tug at the heartstrings.

Jayne Winters hasn’t seen her sister Charlotte since that fateful summer at their grandmother’s North Carolina beach house after their parents’ acrimonious divorce had split their family up for good and caused irreparable damage. Charlotte has never been able to forgive her sister for not fighting for the two of them to stay together, so she isn’t exactly jumping for joy when she discovers that their grandmother has left the beach house to her and her sister and that her dearest wish was for the two of them to renovate it together.

The atmosphere is tense at the beach house with the two of them barely speaking to one another. But could this be the chance for them to heal from old wounds and repair their fractured relationship? As memories of idyllic summers come rushing back, the sisters begin to get closer and find themselves ever so slowly start vanquishing old ghosts and unshackling themselves from the past. But just when Jayne begins to feel that she finally has her sister back after all this time, the rug is well and truly pulled out from under her feet when she discovers that her sister has kept an earth-shattering secret from her for years.

Will Jayne be able to forgive Charlotte? Can the two of them finally be sisters again? Or are some wounds simply far too big to ever heal?

An absorbing, heart-wrenching and uplifting tale, When We Were Sisters is a moving family drama about forgiveness, letting go of the past and learning to trust again sure to strike a chord with readers everywhere. As always, Cynthia Ellingsen writes with great warmth and sensitivity and effortlessly plumbs the depth of the human heart with deftness, panache and style.

A thought-provoking read that will make readers laugh and cry, When We Were Sisters is the story of two siblings who love each other very much who find themselves realizing what’s really important in life in the most startling and unexpected of ways.

Hopeful and heartwarming, Cynthia Ellingsen’s When We Were Sisters is a novel women’s fiction fans are going to thoroughly enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen was a good read.  It contained a good storyline, unexpected happenings, interesting people and sisters struggling to connect.  I found myself liking both sisters and understood their dilemma.

Jayne and Charlotte were sisters, however they were only allowed a very short time living together, before their parents separated.  They had one perfect summer when they were children visiting their grandmother  at the ocean.  That one perfect summer meant the world to their grandmother.  After her death, she left the beach house to the sisters along with the money to fix the old house before keeping it or selling it.  

The gift of time was not taken well by both sisters.  They both had so many walls built up to push each other away.  Charlotte was organized and could plan out the steps.  Jayne was so nice trying to make a connection with Charlotte’s family, only to be rebuffed again and again.  Their grandmother left some boxes that were discovered  as they renovated the house. Each box was meant to help the sisters connect.  However Charlotte had a secret that almost destroyed everything.  

Secrets are never good.  People get hurt.  It is hard to keep making up over and over again. Families are hard work.  Being sisters when so much is between them is hard work. When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen was a good read.
Was this review helpful?
For my copy of this book for which this is my honest review.

An unexpected legacy, with a detailed request from their Gran
Has sisters Jayne and Charlotte deciding whether to follow her plan.
If they work to renovate her old beach house together
It will belong to them forever and ever.

Sounds great, but of course there’s a catch for these dears
They haven’t met or spoken for twenty years!
Can they break down the barriers that kept them apart
Will doing so heal or break both their hearts?

This is a story of Grandmother who
Wants to reunite her grand-daughters, too.
She’s specified the order in which things should be fixed
And ensured that order cannot be mixed.

There’s hidden messages that the sisters discover,
Boxes of photos, great memories to recover.
But will this work bring them love or pain
Can anything bring them together again?

Such an emotional read full of family history,
With Gran working to help solve the mystery
Of why the sisters were kept apart for so long
Hoping to reunite them where they belong.
Was this review helpful?
BLOG TOUR REVIEW 

Review for 'When We Were Sisters' by Cynthia Ellingsen. 

Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Cynthia Ellingsen, Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous 

Publication date 11th August 2021.

This is the first book I have read by this author. 

I was originally drawn to this book by its beautiful cover and intriguing sounding synopsis and title. The synopsis stated that 'Fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe will love this'.  I am a huge fan of Mary Ellen Taylor so am looking forward to seeing if this lives up to this statement. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Bookouture. I have yet to read a book published by Bookouture  that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book).

This novel consists of a prologue and 25 chapters. The chapters are short to medium in length so possible to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case!

This book is based in North Carolina, USA 🇺🇸. 

This book is written in first person perspective and the protagonist is Jayne Winters. The benefits of books written in first person perspective are as long as they are well written it makes you feel that you are being spoken to by the protagonist and it can create more of a bond between yourselves and them. If there are several protagonists you also get to see more of what is going on.

It is set over/includes multiple time lines. When books show what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present I find it really helps the reader (if it is well done) understand why things are happening and what has lead to the present activities and decisions. It also shows the bigger picture. 

What an absolutely beautiful read. Well done Cynthia!!! I'm looking forward to more of your books!!! 

This book was very well written with vivid descriptions that sets the scene around you so you can hear the waves and feel the sand on your feet. The cover and synopsis suit the book perfectly. 

This book was such a lovely, easy and heartwarming read. It tells the story of 2 sisters who were seperate and whose gran trys to bring them back together from the grave so to say. I really enjoyed the storyline and watch Charlotte and Jane's relationship change and develop throughout the different stages. I also enjoyed Charlotte's time at the cafe and getting to know the other characters around the village. The storyline is filled with love, loss, heartbreak, some surprises, a few smiles and laughters and family. There were a few moments of suspense and tension and also some with laughter, love and warmth. There was just the right amount of each emotion. It was very easy to read and I became completely absorbed in the storyline. I think the ending was absolutely perfect although I am intrigued to know if Jayne sets out on her new venture, maybe in the sequel?? Hint, hint Cynthia, there needs to be a sequel!!! 

I loved meeting Jayne and her determination to keep going whilst being pushed away by Charlotte and the stress she was getting from the creditors. Logan was so sweet and I absolutely adored his personality and how he was such an amazing father. Charlotte really annoyed me sometimes with her petty attitude and it was constantly Jayne making all the effort, I did start warming to her after about half way through. Ken was a really nice and friendly guy and I thought it was lovely how he welcomes Jayne with open arms and I enjoyed "meeting" Josh and Evan too along with Lauren. Each character had their own unique personality and was realistic. I would love to see how they all get on. 

Congratulations Cynthia on a fantastic novel and I cannot wait to read your next book. It would be fabulous to read more about Jayne and her family 😉. Welcome to my favourite author list!!! 

Overall an absolutely gorgeous, page turning, heart warming novel that is perfect to read on the beach or curled up in bed. 

Genres covered in this book include Romance Novel, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction and Contemporary Romance amongst others. 


I would recommend this book to the fans of the above as well as fans of Mary Ellen Taylor and anyone looking for a heartwarming Novel. 


281 pages.

This book is just £1.99 to purchase on kindle via Amazon which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!! 

Rated 5 /5 (I LOVED it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook. 

Feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow me on my website or Facebook for more reviews 

#WhenWeWereSisters #Bookouture #CynthiaEllingsen #NetGalley #BookReview #BlogTour #BooksOnTour
@CynthiaEllingsen @Bookouture @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86 

https://kcmw86.wixsite.com/bookworm86

https://m.facebook.com/Bookworm1986/?ref=bookmarks
  
https://m.facebook.com/Bookwork86/?__tn__=%2As-R
Was this review helpful?
I always find books about sister relationships so interesting as I don't have one. This book was a unique take on the sisterhood bond that was broken because their parents chose to raise them apart. The forced proximity and home renovation spin was refreshing as well because I love romances with that storyline. The story had me hooked from the beginning and I had to finish within 24 hours. I had all of the emotions going through their heartbreaking separation and reunion. 

The reason why this is a 4 instead of a 5 for me is because the basis of the separation was a little unbelievable to me. I don't think a parent would ever separate their children no matter what. Putting that aside, I think the emotions the sisters felt and their resentment towards the parent that didn't raise them was believable and made for a great read. 

The family drama combined with the beautiful beach house and town made this a great read and I will definitely be checking out other books by this author and will be recommending this one to others!
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book.

The two sisters are written very well and the story flows smoothly.

From the first page it hooked me and the relationship between the two sisters when they meet again is very emotional.

I was hooked and will gladly read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I've just finished When We Were Sister's and all I can say is WOW!!! I was mesmerised.  Yes, I did shed some tears but that's because the story and the characters were so believable that I was engrossed in it, and felt I was part of the story........ Beautiful
Was this review helpful?
A concept that has been used before, but I will read it every time!  An elderly relative lives a home to the kids in their life and has them renovate to hopefully bring them together and repair a house and their relationship at the same time.  Jayne and Charlotte were separated as young girls as their parents relationship dissolved and really raised as single children until their grandmother brought them together one summer, but this summer ended and so did their connection until their grandmother brought them home again.

I loved how this book knew what it was and they referenced Parent Trap because although they aren't twins, their story definitely had the feeling of the separated at birth and raised in two very different lifestyles from California to Ireland.  These girls both blamed the other parent for the upbringing they missed out on and it took both of these girls coming together to both heal from all of the hurt.  

I loved this one like I have loved the others where a family gets restored and there is hope for the future that they will set a different path for future generations.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley, Cynthia Ellingsen and Bookouture for the ARC of When We Were Sisters. This is my personal review. 
Jayne and Charlotte are sisters who had not seen each other for years.  Not being together for years was about to change when they inherited a beach house from their grandmother. There was a catch to either keeping it or selling it- first they had to remodel the home and had to live in it together while they did it.
The story has so many ups and downs and twists and turns it kept me wondering if they could accomplish what they needed to do and along the way reconnect as sisters at the same time.
I loved that their grandmother had put hidden notes around the house that they would find as they did the work.
As the story unfolds, I got so attached to the sisters I wanted everything to turn our for them so they would be a family again.
Was this review helpful?