Books, Books, Books with Sue Giustino

FAMILIA by Lauren Rico

In addition to being one of the top Classical music broadcasters in the country, Long Island native, Lauren Rico decided to try her hand at writing novels. Jumping right in with the romance series, The Whiskey Sisters, in 2015. They are light enjoyable reads, with fun well-developed -and a few quite quirky- characters based on a family of sisters in Mayhem, Minnesota.  Many antics and love interests ensue as the girls work together to run their deceased father’s Irish Pub, while also trying to keep it out of foreclosure.  Next, creatively centering around the world of classical music is the salty, spicy Reverie trilogy, followed by a few adult romances: Solo and Counterpoint. She’s even ventured into Forbidden Fantasies with the TEMP/sub series.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading along as Lauren’s journey evolved through various types of Women’s Fiction. As Ms. Rico continues her pursuit of creative writing excellence, the depth of her storytelling voice has emerged with clarity. Having read her latest work FAMILIA, to be officially released on December 25th, I believe that she has found her true voice as a writer.

Familia follows Gabby DiMarco, a fact checker for a popular magazine, and her unexpected journey to San Juan after the results of a genealogy test shows that she has a sister she never knew about. Isabella Ruiz, an artist in San Juan, has been searching for her baby sister who disappeared twenty-five years earlier.  Could they be the long-lost sisters?

Although both are dealing with uncertainties, risks, and skepticism, Gabby and Isabella set out together in search of the truth. Weaving their stories with elements of mystery, suspense, and empathy, Rico captivates and engages the reader through the emotions of the characters, flawlessly navigating us through their journey.

Lauren Rico is the recipient of awards from First Coast Romance Writers, Birmingham Romance Writers and NJ Romance Writers, her previous 11 novels were published independently or through the hybrid company, Entangled.

With many high praises coming in pre-release, FAMILIA, published by Kensington, is sure to be a hit.

 Praise for Familia

Familia has it all: An old crime,unsuspecting victims, a genetic mystery that will explode a family, the enormous tenderness of desperate parents. By page 30, I would have walked on coals to finish reading this story.” —Jacquelyn MitchardNew York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

Familia is an absolute delight. I couldn’t stop turning the pages—I needed to know what the both the past and the future held for these sisters and how they would put together the pieces of the events that separated them to make their family whole again.” —KJ Dell’AntoniaNew York Times Bestselling Author of The Chicken Sisters (A Reese’s Book Club Pick)

“A moving story about the bonds of sisterhood and unraveling the mysteries of your past. I truly enjoyed going on this journey with Isabella and Gabby. A wonderful debut!” —Annette Chavez Macias, bestselling author of Big Chicas Don’t Cry

“An irresistible blend of family drama and mystery, ideal for fans of Julia Alvarez and Diane Chamberlain.” –Booklist

“A masterfully woven tale of mystery, reconciliation, and familial love.” —Abby JimenezNew York Times bestselling author

“Familia is a compelling and emotional narrative that explores a past wrapped in secrets, the bonds of sisterhood, and what it means to be family. With twists that unfold in every chapter, Lauren E. Rico crafts a compulsive story with engaging characters that hooked me from the start. Gabby and Isabella will stay with you long after you finish the last page. This is a must read! —Kerry LonsdaleWall Street JournalWashington Post & Amazon Charts Bestselling Author

“Rico dazzles with a surprising story of the pleasures and pitfalls of amateur genealogy. Rico perfectly portrays the possible sisters’ fraught relationship through a series of surprising twists and turns. This skillful tale enchants.” Publishers Weekly 

“Rico’s novel is a love letter to her heritage. Her descriptions of the island’s neighborhoods (especially street art), traditions (fairy-tale quinceañeras), and iconic dishes enable an immersive experience as the would-be sisters follow elusive leads and bypass previous dead ends. Rico cleverly balances a diverse supporting cast, both unreliable and persuasive. Even as Rico highlights connections by blood, she repeatedly reminds readers, ‘It’s not about who we share our DNA with so much as who we share our heart with.’” —Shelf Awareness

Familia is a heartwarming story with autobiographical memories of the author’s childhood visits to a tiny fishing village on the southwest coast, a place where neighbors became extended family.” —WSHU’s Baum on Books 

“A page-turning story of family lost and found, wrapped in the tangled threads of an engaging mystery, and sprinkled with just a bit of Sazón, I loved everything about this modern yet timeless book.” —Ann Dávila Cardinal, author of The Storyteller’s Death (And International Latino Book Awards Winning Author)