I’m so hugely excited to wish a happy publication day to WHAT WAS MINE by Helen Klein Ross. The second of a two-book deal, this is a project I had the honor and pleasure of seeing grow from a mere paragraph into the gorgeous, gripping novel that hits bookstores today—after such a gestation period, wishing this baby a happy “book birthday” feels entirely appropriate.
The story, in fact, begins with a baby, snatched from an IKEA and kept from her birth mother for 21 years. But the novel that starts with a tragedy doesn’t continue as one: Mia lives a life of comfort, privilege, and love in Manhattan with her “sociological mom” Lucy. We see how a kidnapping ripples through the lives of Mia, Lucy, her birth mother Marilyn, and beyond, including the nanny who called in sick the day it happened, the ex-husband who couldn’t conceive a child with Lucy despite desperate efforts, and the caretaker who left her own child behind in China in search of better fortune in America, and ended up raising Mia along with Lucy. A crime pulled off in relative ease in pre-Internet days is uncovered in the age of Facebook, and as that technology changes, so too do our allegiances, in a daring examination of what it means to be a mother.
Watch the book trailer here:
What Was Mine is an emotionally grounded read … By giving readers the chance to examine what may be unforgivable, Ross brings an entirely new twist to the usual abduction story. Fans of Gillian Flynn and Maria Semple will enjoy the intensely introspective What Was Mine.”—Booklist
A compelling and moving story that asks many questions about family, love, and justice … Moving at a hard-to-put-down, breathless pace, this is suspenseful fiction at its best.”—Library Journal (Starred Review)
Helen Klein Ross has written a truly brilliant book. I’m obsessed by the change this book made in my thinking of what is, and what is not, forgivable.”—Abigail Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of A Three Dog Life
A suspenseful, moving look at twisted maternal love and the limits of forgiveness.”—People magazine (Best New Books Pick)
“Helen Klein Ross—like Amity Gaige with Schroder, or Emma Donoghue with Room—takes a shocking premise and uses it to illuminate our human condition. A writer of compelling lucidity and vivid precision, she has compassion for all her characters.”—Claire Messud, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman Upstairs
In a tale ripe with opportunities for drama, Helen Klein Ross never puts a foot wrong. She lets the story tell itself, and in so doing heightens both suspense and emotional impact. Readers will be moved to understanding, but never to judgmentalism. A stellar performance, and highly recommended.”—Ann Arensberg, National Book Award winner
Ross crafts a surprisingly sensitive meditation on the definitions of family and motherhood around a ripped-from-the-tabloids story … Ross deftly creates genuinely sympathetic characters and emotionally resonant prose around what could have felt sensationalistic.”—Publishers Weekly