Book Review: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart


Book Title and Author: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart
Publication Date and Publisher: October 16, 2018, by Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Domestic Thriller
Pages: 384 pages
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Date Read:October 19, 2018 (e-arc)

5 Stars


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

You Were Always Mine is another brilliant book by Nicole Baart. She’s definitely an auto-buy author and has quickly become one of my favorite authors!! This is such an edge of your seat, page-turning domestic thriller, but it’s also a story that tackles the complexities and powerful themes of secrets, death, grief, loss, hope, love, adoption (and it’s dark, perverse side) but most of all the power of families of every kind and the unconditional love of a mother. It’s such a multilayered and complex story that I become completely emotionally invested in the story and the characters! 

Baart brings her own experiences and first-hand knowledge as an adoptive mother and adoption advocate and uses it to bring this story of Jessica and Evan Chamberlain, who are separated after 15 years of marriage, have one teenage biological son Max age 13, and one young adopted son, Gabe age 5 to life.  I think that I really connected to this book in a personal way since I have three adopted cousins, one who has been my best friend since almost birth since we are the same age and grew up together, and I’ve have witnessed first-hand their searches, with and without success, for their birth mom or families. I also saw my aunt’s palpable fear that she would be replaced in their heart as their mom if they did find and connect with their biological mom, so I understood quite a bit where Jess’ thoughts were coming from during the book about wanting only a closed adoption. I appreciate the authenticity that Baart gives her book about adoption and love these themes in her psychologically thrilling books!

I’m not going to give away too much of more of the plot here because you really need to read this one for yourself and then you’ll understand just how important this book is, especially with its deep themes and messages. It’s well-written, which it would be because Baart is a smart, prolific writer, perfectly plotted, and the characters are just fantastic–each of them adds something unique and special to the story. I just loved Jess and empathized with her as a mother and the feelings she had that she’d move heaven and earth to defend her children and fight to keep her family together, especially after a shocking death happens that devastates the entire family.

This is a story that will make you cry at times because it is heartwrenching but also keeps you on the edge of your seat as you become a detective with Jess! The ending was a bit shocking, but I did suspect a certain character of being guilty of everything bad happening in the book, and I was right! I hated that I was right because it just shows how good people get messed up with pure evilness for what they think is good reasons. Oh, and the chapters have these seemingly random statistics at the top with a woman’s name and other info that had me so, so confused in the beginning, but by the end, it all fell into place perfectly. So clever and shrewd! Well-played, Nicole Baart!! 

The story is just compelling, emotional, and addictive.  I highly recommend You Were Always Mine, which published on October 16, 2018!! Make sure you grab a copy because you will love this story as much as I did!

~Another fantastic Traveling Sisters’ read! I had so much fun discussing this one and hearing everyone’s thoughts!~

**Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for an ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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18 thoughts on “Book Review: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart

  1. Wonderful review, Steph! So happy you enjoyed this, too, but not surprised! What a book! Would you believe I figured out the statistics early on? I doubted myself throughout and thought it was off the wall, but it ended up being right. Happy week ahead! Thinking of you! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jen! I knew I would love it! She’s such a great author. That’s too funny! I figured out that the pp meant postpartum, and I thought the women had to be birth mom’s once I saw Gabe’s mom up there, but I had no idea what the rest was for until some other things fell into place and then it clicked! Good detective work! 😉 Thank you, you too! Thanks…it will be a week I need those good thoughts! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your review, Stephanie!!! Yes, though I don’t have a ton of personal experience with adoption, that part was so emotional and resonated. Deciding what and when to tell your child, and whether to have a closed or open adoption—well there is simply no right answer and it must be such a hard decision to make!! 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mackenzie! ❤ It really is a hard decision. My aunt just had an awful time, I think it was mostly because she went through 10 yrs of infertility. But her fears were founded in a way-one cousin found her birth mom and has since moved out of state to live close to her and her family and is not as close to my aunt or our family anymore. It devastated my aunt. On the flipside, another cousin is close to her birth mom and includes her in family things, but she considers my aunt her "mom". My aunt and the birth mom have become friends and do things at family gatherings and for the grand kids, so that worked out so well. My 3rd cousin's birth mom wanted no contact, which was sad I thought but who knows why so maybe for the best. It is definitely complex and emotional, and no situation is the same!! ❤


  3. What a wonderful review!!! I really enjoyed Baart’s previous novel, Little Broken Things, so I’m very much looking forward to reading this one, I ordered it and I’m not so patiently waiting for it to arrive. I follow Baart on Instagram and she seems like such an amazing person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janel! This was really excellent! I enjoyed it more than Little Broken Things, which I also loved. I hope it arrives soon…you’ll love it! I do too! She’s great and so nice on Twitter too!

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