Mine – Clare Empson

‘Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’

On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new-born son Samuel.

But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.

When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again…

About the Author:

Clare Empson is a journalist with a background in national newspapers and has worked as a small business editor, finance correspondent and fashion at the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express. Clare freelances for The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Tatler amongst others. She currently works as editor/founder of experiential lifestyle website www.countrycalling.co.uk. Him is her debut novel. Her second novel Mine is an exploration of the fraught relationship between a birth mother and her adopted son set against a backdrop of a passionate love affair in the 70s.

My Review:

Mine is Clare Empson’s second book and is categorised as a psychological thriller, but in my opinion, this is so much more than the bog-standard psych thrillers.  This book is a combination of domestic noir, emotional family drama and a deep and powerful story line.

Twenty-seven year old Luke has recently become a father.  He has a loving girlfriend, a career in an industry he’s passionate about and on the surface everything is wonderful.  However, Luke was adopted and has never felt like he fits in anywhere and being a new father gives Luke the courage and confidence he needs to search for his birth parents.

When Luke meets his birth mother Alice he unwittingly steers both of their lives onto a path of pain and guilt, blame and feelings of abandonment.  Both mother and newly acquainted son are overcome with strong feelings and harsh reminders of their past.  Alice has no alternative but to face up to her past and grief.  She narrates her story through chapters based in the past.  The tale of her and Luke’s father is utterly heartbreaking and so emotionally powerful that as times I had to wipe away a tear (or two).

Each of Luke’s chapters start with a passage from a book called Who Am I? The Adoptee’s Hidden Trauma which gives the reader a greater insight into the mind and mental health of the child seeking their birth parent.  Following Luke’s very personal journey was deeply moving and thought-provoking.

I was absolutely captivated by Luke and Alice’s story and devoured each page and chapter.  Flicking back and forth from the past and the present, the author manages to bring these main characters to life and give them so much depth and vulnerability.

I would definitely recommend this book and it also goes straight into my Top Ten books of 2020.

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