When We Were Sisters
By Beth Miller
Published by Random House UK, Ebury Publishing (15 January 2015)
'I never think of Laura as my step-sister, but that's what she is.'
Once they were the best of friends, inseparable as only teenage girls can be.
That is until Miffy's Jewish father runs off with Laura's Catholic mother and both of their families imploded - as well as Laura's intense relationship with Miffy's brother…
Twenty years on, they're all about to meet again…ever think of Laura as my step-sister, but that's what she is.'
I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley.
This is a story of how extra-marital affairs and divorce can break up families and leave children's lives in tatters. When We Were Sisters follows the paths of two girls in North West London in 1979, as they turn into teenagers. The girls' lives change when two of their parents run off together to make a new life in Norfolk. When the women meet again as adults, over two decades on (in 2003), they (and their families) begin to address the past.
The story of When We Were Sisters is complicated by the fact that one family is Jewish and the other is Catholic. I took an instant dislike to Laura, as she was very disrespectful of her step-family's religious observance and was intent on causing mischief, although her character did improve slightly towards the end of the book. I enjoyed the references to Edgware, where I grew up in the 1970/80s. However, I felt that the way some of the more observant Jewish characters were portrayed was a bit unrealistic.
Overall, however, this was an enjoyable, quick and easy read.