This book is one of our Shereads.org books of winter, given to me generously in exchange for an honest review. Each time the seasonal book picks are shared, we select the books we would like to read and review for the site. It is almost always a tough choice because I want to read all of them. I chose What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross because the synopsis was intriguing. We hear the heart-wrenching stories of missing or kidnapped children on the news way too often but the news often gives us only a one-sided view of the story. Although I knew this would be an emotional read, I also thought it would be interesting to see how the author gave voices to all those involved, from when the event initially occurred until the conclusion over twenty years later.
Within the first few pages, as the baby is being taken, I found myself on the edge of my seat, full of apprehension as the event unfolded on the pages in front of me. I was completely able, as a mom myself, to put myself in the position of the slightly frazzled mother, Marilyn, who just stepped away from her baby for a brief moment, but also to empathize with Lucy, a woman who desperately wanted to be a mother but couldn't, who sees this baby alone in a shopping cart in the middle of IKEA and makes an reckless, irrational decision that affects the lives of everyone involved, forever.
What did I like about the story? Quite a lot actually. In fact, I loved it! It was fast-paced, keeping me deeply absorbed throughout, it was realistically portrayed, completely believable, and I could feel the emotions of the characters to the point of tears on several occasions. The alternating points of view really worked for this book and although Lucy, Mia, and Marilyn were the main three perspectives, other characters with opinions on the event were also represented, even if it was only for a short, two page chapter. I felt that, although these smaller snippets were only minor characters, their insights gave me a more well-rounded experience of the reactions and emotions of everyone touched by what happened.
I did a lot of thinking during this story. If any of us were in the situation, what would we do? What decisions would we make compared to the decisions of the characters presented to us? I thought a lot about the themes of love, loss, family, and especially about forgiveness and whether punishment is always the right path. So many factors came into play as we approached the end of the book and not everyone ends up having the same opinions about resolution. We are left with a few questions and a lot to think about.
Overall, I felt that the book wrapped up nicely and ended in the perfect spot, where I, as a reader, was left satisfied, and having another favorite author that I will be following. This was an emotional story but also one that, in my opinion, you should immediately put on your TBR list for 2016. It is definitely a story that you don't want to miss.