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Sunday, January 10, 2016

(4) What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross


With an ordinary trip to IKEA Lucy Wakefield's life goes from boring to thrilling in just a manner of seconds.  Lucy has always wanted a child of her own, but she never could have one.   She and her husband even divorced after she was unable to have children, that is how much of an impact it has had on her life.  So when Lucy sees the beautiful baby girl left unattended in a busy IKEA she means to just straighten the child in her seat, but instead she lifts her out of the basket and before she knows what she is doing Lucy walks out the door with another woman's child.   Stealing another woman's child turned out to be incredibly easy.  An elaborate story gives Lucy credibility and soon her family, friends, and colleagues all believe that Lucy adopted Mia from a teenage mother in Kansas.  Why would the successful ad executive lie?  Meanwhile Marilyn's whole world crumbles with the loss of baby Natalie.  How does a mother survive the loss of her daughter?  What Was Mine  is told in alternating viewpoints and we get to hear the thoughts of everybody from Lucy, Marilyn, and Mia.  But also others who knew all of them from the beginning.  Mia is now twenty-one and starts questioning everything her mother has ever told her.  What will happen if she finds out the truth?  Will she ever be reunited with her family?

Lucy Wakefield has done a horrible thing.  She broke the law, kidnapped a child, and made her her own.  Yet, as a reader, it is really hard to dislike Lucy.  She gives Mia a good life and all of the things a child could possibly want.  On the other hand, Marilyn is a grieving mother desperate to find her daughter even more than twenty years later.  She has never stopped looking.  The person you really hurt for is Mia, the betrayal she felt when she found out the truth was soul-crushing, for even the reader.   That poor baby was just so devastated, it was tragic. As you are reading the alternating viewpoints you can sense that the truth has been revealed, but you don't know what was a result of that revelation.  I was a bit shocked by what Lucy decided to do, it wasn't what I expected.  And I was really surprised by Mia's actions at the very end, but it felt right.  It felt that Mia was going to get the happiness she deserved and there was going to be a "happy" ending for all of them.

Bottom line - What Was Mine is captivating read that centers around three women and one choice that changed them all.  Lots of discussion questions are included at the back of the book and it would absolutely make for a great book club selection.

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