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
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read:October 19, 2018 (e-arc)
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.
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.**