What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

fpoWhat Was Mine. Finished 1-31-16, 4,25/5 stars, fiction, 336 pages, pub.2016

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.  from Goodreads

Having your baby kidnapped is right up there with the top parent nightmares.  Any parent can tell you the first moment that they lost sight of their child for a few moments and the panic that crawled through their body.  For new mother Marilyn that moment changed her life and the life of her four month old daughter, Natalie.  While Lucy didn’t go out that morning looking to kidnap a baby, she was unhinged enough in her overwhelming desire for a baby that the opportunity was too much for her to resist.  As she kept telling herself that it was just for a few minutes, or a ride, or the night, she had to know that she was never giving baby Mia back.

The book was told in alternating chapters mainly by the three main characters, Lucy, Marilyn and Mia,  but it was the shorter chapters told by the bit players and supporting cast that really rounded out the story and moved it forward.  The current and ex-husbands, Aunt Cheryl, Nanny Wendy, the security guard at IKEA, etc. were expertly woven into the fabric of the story.  You know from the beginning that eventually Mia will find out the truth about her mother(s), but it was told in such an easy to read way that it was a riveting page-turner that had me promising myself “just one more chapter” more than once!

I think the addicting short chapters that made this hard to put down also led to some parts that felt glossed over or not addressed. There were several parts where I wanted more story, no place more than the end, which felt incomplete to me. But that being said, I loved the book and think it would make a FANTASTIC book club selection.

I want to thank She Reads and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to read.  She Reads is an excellent group and if you aren’t reading their blog then you are missing out!