A Family of Strangersby Emilie Richards (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by MIRA on June 25, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Family Drama, Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Could a lifetime of memories…be a lifetime of lies?
All her life, Ryan Gracey watched her perfect older sister from afar. Knowing she could never top Wendy’s achievements, she didn’t even try. Instead Ryan forged her own path while her family barely seemed to notice.
Now Wendy shares two little girls with her perfect husband, while Ryan mourns the man she lost after a nearly fatal mistake in judgment. The sisters’ choices have taken them in different directions, which is why Ryan is stunned when Wendy calls, begging for her help. There’s been a murder—and Wendy believes she’ll be wrongfully accused.
While Wendy lies low, Ryan moves back to their hometown to care for the nieces she hardly knows. The sleuthing skills she’s refined as a true-crime podcaster quickly rise to the surface as she digs for answers with the help of an unexpected ally. Yet the trail of clues Wendy’s left behind leads to nothing but questions. Blood may be thicker than water, but what does Ryan owe a sister who becomes more and more a stranger with every revelation?
Is Wendy, who always seemed so perfect, just a perfect liar—or worse?
Diving in with another new-to-me author and my go-to genre, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Emilie Richards’ novel A Family of Strangers. Featuring family drama on the backdrop of a mystery, with a nice Florida setting to give everything a vacation destination feel where you’d think nothing bad would ever happen.
Ryan Rose Gracey is journalist who is now a producer and host of a popular true crime podcast which covers cold cases. Her much older sister Wendy has always been an example of what Ryan will never be: perfect, golden haired, popular, in demand. But when Wendy calls Ryan out of the blue, asking Ryan to drive four hours across Florida to care for her two young daughters while she’s away, Ryan knows that something is wrong. Wendy would never ask something like this of her eighteen years younger sister, but since their mother is busy taking care of their father who is recuperating from heart surgery, Ryan figures that Wendy has no one else to turn to since her husband is on his submarine at sea on active duty.
The longer Wendy stays away from her family and the family real estate business, the more suspicious Ryan grows. And when Wendy wants Ryan to dig into someone that could have committed murder and framed Wendy for it, Ryan is shocked by what she uncovers: about Wendy, about their family, about herself. Secrets can only be kept for so long until they explode.
Ryan was a really likable character. Being so much younger than her sister Wendy, she’d always felt like her parents were too tired to do much in the parenting department. It was like they’d given all they could to Wendy, so there was nothing left for Ryan. When Ryan was met with something that would destroy a normal person, she soldiered on, even though she knew that she was destroying her chances with someone else. But she got over her fear and reconnected with ex-boyfriend Mateo Santiago, no longer a K9 police officer but now a dog trainer. I really enjoyed their budding relationship, and their chemistry was very real.
I give A Family of Strangers a four out of five. I found this book to be intriguing, nicely plotted with well-fleshed out characters. The pacing flowed well throughout, but it did bog down a little bit in spots. Mostly focusing on family drama and what happens when a family chooses to avoid dealing with problems by ignoring that they exist in the first place, the mystery of what happened to Ryan’s sister took a back seat for a lot of the book–and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I really enjoyed Ryan’s relationship with her nieces, especially as she built a relationship with the two young girls who weren’t as connected with their mom as they could have been. There were several plot twists that I didn’t see coming since I was just so caught up in the story, and I loved that I was surprised. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes family dramas and mysteries.
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About Emilie Richards
Emilie Richards’s many novels feature complex characterizations and in-depth explorations of social issues. Both are a result of her training and experience as a family counselor, which contribute to her fascination with relationships of all kinds. Emilie and her husband enjoy dividing their time between the Florida Gulf Coast and Chautauqua County, New York. She is currently working on her next novel for MIRA Books.
Connect with Emilie Richards
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Emilie Richard’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for A FAMILY OF STRANGERS:
Tuesday, June 18th: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Thursday, June 20th: @readwithjamie
Friday, June 21st: @novelgossip
Saturday, June 22nd: @jessicamap
Sunday, June 23rd: @readingbetweenthe_wines
Monday, June 24th: @tbretc
Friday, June 28th: @sweethoneyandbrei
Monday, June 17th: The Baking Bookworm
Tuesday, June 18th: @girlsinbooks
Wednesday, June 19th: Girl Who Reads
Wednesday, June 19th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, June 20th: Helen’s Book Blog
Monday, June 24th: @my_book_journey
Tuesday, June 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, June 26th: Write Read Life
Thursday, June 27th: Book by Book
Thursday, June 27th: @crystals_library
Friday, June 28th: Run Wright
Tuesday, July 2nd: Treestand Book Reviews
Wednesday, July 3rd: @beauty_andthebook
Friday, July 5th: Booked on a Feeling
Friday, July 5th: @angelareadsbooks
Monday, July 8th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Tuesday, July 9th: Lori’s Reading Corner – spotlight
Wednesday, July 10th: @cassies_books_reviews
Thursday, July 11th: Books and Bindings
Monday, July 15th: @one_more_paige
Tuesday, July 16th: @sarahandherbookshelves
Wednesday, July 17th: The Lit Bitch