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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

REVIEW: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart @atriabooks @atriamysterybus @NicoleLynnBaart @TLCBookTours

You Were Always Mine
by Nicole Baart

Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and Atria Books for this gifted copy.
An absolutely brilliant book I'd suggest putting on your TBR.

Publisher:  Atria Books
Publish Date: October 16, 2018
384 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Jessica Chamberlain, newly separated and living with her two sons in a small Iowa town, can’t believe that a tragedy in another state could have anything to do with her. But when her phone rings one quiet morning, her world is shattered. As she tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of what went wrong, Jess begins to realize that a tragic death is just the beginning. Soon she is caught in a web of lies and half-truths—and she’s horrified to learn that everything leads back to her seven-year-old adopted son, Gabriel.

Years ago, Gabe’s birth mother requested a closed adoption and Jessica was more than happy to comply. But when her house is broken into and she discovers a clue that suggests her estranged husband was in close contact with Gabe’s biological mother, she vows to uncover the truth at any cost. A harrowing story of tenacious love and heartbreaking betrayal, You Were Always Mine is about the wars we wage to keep the ones we love close, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult.

My Review:

Imagine being separated from the love of your life, trying to make things work in your home as a "single mom" with your two sons, the youngest adopted.  One day you receive a call that your estranged husband is dead and now all thoughts of reconciliation are gone and you're a young widow. On top of THAT, you realize that your husband was in contact with your adopted son's birth mother and kept it from you. Could life get any more complicated?!

"Mariah K.
24, Caucasian, GED
Short blond hair, blue eyes, average height and weight, Soft-spoken but articulate. Little to no family support.
MAN/DEL CS, 35m, 16w"

Most chapters started with a heading similar to the above.  Random statistics that baffled me at every turn. Interspersed in these chapters are letters, email correspondence, journal entries and message board entries - which sounds like a lot more than they actually appeared.  Things move at a slow to moderate pace at first but when it all comes together... uff, I gotta say, readers, I loved it.  

The author does an amazing job of presenting Jessica and her state of mind as she goes through all of this.  Juggling her kids, trying to figure out what's happening around her, avoiding stares of people as she doesn't want people to feel sorry for her or give her the standard, "We're so sorry, we can't imagine what you're going through" and dealing with the struggle of how to deal with this secret that came to light in the aftermath of her husband's death. What can I say - it's been a while since I've felt this emotional for a character and at the end when we see how things culminate... well, I may have gotten a little misty eyed.  Maybe.  **shhh**

I love that the author is also an adoptive mother and you can see how her knowledge and experience seeps into this novel. It bursts with the energy she puts into this from her own heart space of knowing what adoptive mothers go through. 

Baart has turned a genre that has gotten a bit lackluster lately for me and brought it new life.  Part domestic drama/thriller and part mystery, this one really sets a new bar.  I'd recommend putting this on your list and while the pacing may deter some, I'd recommend sticking to it because that ending and how it all comes together is nothing short of genius.


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