Category Archives: A Family of Strangers

Review: A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards

Title: A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 496 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


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 lead to nothing but questions. Blood may be thicker than water, but what does Ryan owe a sister who, with every revelation, becomes more and more a stranger?

Is Wendy, who always seemed so perfect, just a perfect liar—or worse?


A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards is an engrossing family-centric novel that is quite suspenseful.

Ryan Gracey is the host of a successful cold case crime podcast and lives a few hours away from her family. The youngest in the family, she is not overly close to her much older sister Wendy Cartwright who is married with two young daughters, eight year old Holly and six year old Noelle. When Wendy phones her out of the blue, Ryan is expecting an update on their father who has recently undergone heart surgery. Instead, Wendy weaves a far-fetched tale of a murder in which she proclaims her innocence along with her fear the Sheriff will name her the chief suspect. She then requests Ryan’s help in locating someone whom she believes will exonerate her.  Wendy also asks her sister to take care of her daughters because she is planning to disappear until her name is cleared. Although unsure whether to believe Wendy’s story, Ryan nonetheless agrees to return home and stay with her nieces until her sister’s return.  With the help of her best friend, Sophie, who also works on the podcast, Ryan begins investigating her sister’s story. Will they uncover the identity of the victim? And will she locate the person whom Wendy insists will clear her of murder?

Ryan loves her nieces but she has not spent much time with them.  She is a little troubled by their behavior but she is determined to make her time with them as fun and happy as possible. Little by little, Noelle comes out of her shell, but Holly is closed off and she initially resists Ryan’s efforts to engage with her.  The closer Ryan gets to her nieces, the more certain she is that something is very wrong in Wendy’s household. She is determine to uncover the mysteries surrounding her sister, but is she fully prepared for what she is about to learn about Wendy and their family?

Ryan also reconnects with former K-9 police officer Mateo “Teo” Santiago. Their brief romance years earlier continues to haunt her and their fraught history leaves her very reluctant to talk to him. Finally deciding to take charge of this somewhat disturbing part of her life, Ryan is very surprised by Teo’s reaction. Is there any chance she and Teo can overcome their painful past?

A Family of Strangers is a multi-layered novel that features a compelling mystery, many secrets and a heartwarming romance. The characters are richly drawn with enviable strengths and relatable flaws. Despite her mixed emotions about returning home, Ryan puts her nieces’ needs ahead of her own and she is surprised by her emotional reaction to the young girls. She is also drawn into the mystery surrounding Wendy but will she allow her family loyalty blind her to the truth? With plenty of intriguing twists and unexpected turns, Emilie Richards brings this absorbing mystery to a realistic conclusion that is also quite satisfying.  I highly recommend this marvelous novel.

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Filed under A Family of Strangers, Contemporary, Emilie Richards, Mira, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense