What Was Mine, by Helen Klein Ross

23 Nov
what was mine helen klein ross

FIVE of Five stars

Wow, this is a great book.
The story is the result of one action: a woman who is unable to have children takes a baby who was left alone for a moment, and raises it as her own.

But the story is not about that action. It is about every other person who that action affected. The birth mother, the birth father, the future children of those parents. The kidnapper, the kidnapper’s family, the kidnapped child. That one action did not affect just one person, or even two or three persons.

And the story doesn’t end there, because eventually the act is uncovered and everyone is aware. Does the return of that kidnapped child immediately fix everything? Does it fix the birth family who was without that child for a lifetime? Does the child, loved by one woman all her life, suddenly fit in with her new “real” family? Does she want to? How does the kidnapper’s family react to what she has done? How do the child’s new siblings react to the girl they never knew existed?

We find out the answers with first person accounts from each character. The views of the nanny, the detective, the woman who didn’t realize she was letting a woman escape with a child. The kidnapper’s sister, the siblings, everyone.

As a reader, what do you want to happen to the kidnapper? The reader knows the psychology that led up to the kidnapping – you may not accept it, the action is not “right”, but you can understand what was going on in the woman’s mind. And we see her raise this child as her own, wracked with guilt – or possibly just the fear of getting caught – but we also see her love this child dearly and take good care of her.

Should she be put away in jail forever for the lives she affected? Should she be allowed leniency because of her care, and because her “daughter” still loves her? And if so, how does the birth family handle that? If not, how does the daughter handle that?

There are so many sides to a story such as this, and for the first time you see how it affects everyone involved, not just one side. I just flew through this book, it was mesmerizing reading the thoughts of so many different characters. The ending is somewhat open, and reading on my Kindle I was caught unaware that it was almost over until I hit the “Acknowledgements” page. AACK! But enough of what was happening had been explained that you could imagine the future. You know that no matter the legal result, no one’s life will be unaffected by that result. It is a perfect case of a stone thrown into a clear pond, and all the ripples that come from that one action.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an advanced copy for review. This book is excellent and will do great when it is released.

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