Familia, a Novel by Lauren E. Rico [Book Review]

I am so impressed with Familia! I was unsure what I was getting into as I dove into Lauren E. Rico’s newest novel. But what I found was an emotional narrative that wove together themes of loss, love, and family into the fabric of a gripping mystery. Read a synopsis of the new novel and find out why I gave it five out of five stars.

What if your most basic beliefs about your life were suddenly revealed to be a lie? In this compelling, emotional novel, two young women are brought together by a genealogy test and a haunting question that shakes their understanding of what family is and who they truly are

As the fact checker for a popular magazine, Gabby DiMarco believes in absolute, verifiable Truths—until they throw the facts of her own life into question. The genealogy test she took as research for an article has yielded a baffling result: Gabby has a sister—one who’s been desperately trying to find her. Except, as Gabby’s beloved parents would confirm if they were still alive, that’s impossible.

Isabella Ruiz can still picture the face of her baby sister, who disappeared from the streets of San Juan twenty-five years ago. Isabella, an artist, has fought hard for the stable home and loving marriage she has today—yet the longing to find Marianna has never left. At last, she’s found a match, and Gabby has agreed to come to Puerto Rico.

But Gabby, as defensive and cautious as Isabella is impulsive, offers no happy reunion. She insists there’s been a mistake. And Isabella realizes that even if this woman is her sister, she may not want to be.

With nothing—or perhaps so much—in common, Gabby and Isabella set out to find the truth, though it means risking everything they’ve known for an uncertain future—and a past that harbors yet more surprises… []

In Familia, Gabby embarks on an unexpected journey after a genealogy test reveals the existence of an unknown sister. Gabby hoped to find a long-lost cousin or distant relative to help replace the emptiness created by her parents’ deaths. But the discovery of a long-lost sister was more than she ever wanted. Despite her strong opinion that the test results must be incorrect, Gabby embarks on a trip to Puerto Rico, posing as a journalist tasked with writing a story about a well-known local baby who went missing: Marianna.

Gabby denies any connection to the baby, but Isabella, her potential sister, is convinced that Gabby is, in fact, the missing Marianna. To prove each other wrong, they set out to learn the truth of what happened all those years ago. Is Marianna alive or dead? Could Gabby and Marianna be the same person? As they press forward, Gabby and Isabella uncover a series of revelations that force them to reexamine their past, present, and future.


After 25 years, Isabella thinks she has finally found her missing sister. But DNA is the tip of the iceberg. Free sneak peek on Amazon! #womenfiction #longlistsisters #familiaanovel @BetweenTheChapters

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Lauren E. Rico’s writing talent shines throughout the story. Her skillfully crafted narrative style made it difficult to put the book down, and her characters radiated authenticity, making them as real to me as any individual in the actual world. What piqued my interest from the very beginning was that I was sure I knew Gabby’s identity, but that knowledge didn’t diminish the story. In fact, it turned out to be the least interesting part of the entire plot. The bond between Isabella and Gabby and the understanding of how their stories unfold will keep readers engaged until the very end.

I wholeheartedly recommend Familia to anyone who loves a good story. Do yourself a favor and add this surprising gem to your reading list right away – out on December 26th!

My heartfelt thanks go to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

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