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Publisher's Summary

Simply told but deeply affecting, in the best-selling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore - and gets away with it for 21 years.

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: She takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It's a secret she manages to keep for over two decades - from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy's now-grown daughter, Mia, discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia's birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and of the life-shattering effects of a single irrevocable moment.

©2016 Helen Klein Ross (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    447
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Switching alliances

I constantly flipped on who I disliked/sympathized with. Both Lucy and Marilyn are very annoying at different times, the author does a good job of showing the grey area between right and wrong. Mia's initial reaction and ultimate decision are realistic. The whole discovery of Lucy by Marilyn was the only part that seemed a bit contrived, but in general the story was fascinating.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful development

Wonderful story rich in layers and background. I was surprised at the abrupt end. Maybe I was just too engrossed in the story!

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This Story Sickens and Intrigues...

What did you like best about What Was Mine? What did you like least?

I guess if an author has the ability to provoke such feelings of hate and anger towards a fictional character, then they’ve written a good book. Lucy made me angrier than I’ve been in quite some time! She was arrogant, selfish, self-absorbed, cruel, psychotic, revolting, ridiculous, ludicrous, dramatic, (can I say dramatic twice?) and well, downright idiotic at times. I found myself wanting to strangle a fictional character!She had such a ridiculous thought process…she thought she could breast feed a baby even though she’d not given birth, not even been pregnant! When the story broke in the media, she was appalled when she wasn’t praised at how well she’d raised the child she kidnapped! She felt that “expensive schools, private tutors, bedtime stories, a full time nanny, trips to the beach, trips to Disney” would surely make up for the fact that she’d kidnapped a four month old! Because of her actions, the lives of so many were altered/ruined. It’s like she did NOT get the fact that what she did was beyond wrong!

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Seeing how what Lucy did and the affect it had on everyone was the most AND least interesting aspect of this book.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not sure, maybe my increased loathing of Lucy. Unlike other reviewers, I NEVER felt sorry for her. She ruined the lives of too many people.

Do you think What Was Mine needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I do think it needs a follow-up! The way nothing was resolved was infuriating!

Any additional comments?

I know from the reviews, that people saw Marilyn, the birth mother as annoying. I got irritated with her at times, but then I’d stop and think about what all she’d been through and how that would forever alter a person and their personality. I felt for her, her heart was broken, her daughter stolen, and she bared the burden for that. The fact that she was able to put one foot in front of another and get through each day was amazing.The fact that her marriage failed was not surprising. What WAS surprising was the reaction of the birth father when he'd found out his daughter had been found.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read

Any additional comments?

Really enjoyed this book, strayed from my normal suspense thrillers and glad I did. Ended was abrupt and left me wanting more! Would recommend to other readers. This is my first book with multiple narrators and it made the listening experience way more enjoyable!

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I hated Lucy and I couldn't help it!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it was such an interesting story and I know there was a true story that was very similar to it. The feelings of each character is what kept me interested. The way the real mother handled her pain and even how she forgave once she found the truth. Also, the daughter's feelings were very interesting to me. I still hate Lucy and I hate how she justified what she did. I think she is a sociopath and she could never justify enough for what she did.

What did you like best about this story?

I honestly did not like what this book was about because it was so painful to imagine but I wanted to find out how it got resolved and so I continued to listen. The narrators were excellent.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Each narrator performed wonderfully. I love each of these narrators, Love Julia Whelan and Cassandra Campbell.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

She lived a lie and loved the enemy.

Any additional comments?

I hate Lucy, I hate her and she can never no matter how hard the author tries get me to feel sorry for her. She is a sociopath who is selfish and I do not think Mia should have given her a second chance. Once Mia has her first child, she will finally "get it".

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What Was Mine: nuanced and compelling

This book is captivating, nuanced and compelling. Beautifully written, it engages the reader instantly. The structure introduces all the participants in a very organic way as the story develops. As the story progresses we learn and begin to understand the characters and their motives, and in the end, understanding the humanity and vulnerabilities of all of them. The audiobook was superb, the actors used an understated approach brought all the characters to life. –Monica Bay

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Mother's Worst Nightmare!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is a must read for all parents.

What other book might you compare What Was Mine to and why?

What Was Mine reminded me so much of the book The Face on The Milk Carton because both stories revolved around a kidnapping and the little girl from both books share similar stories of love, confusion, mistrust and learning acceptance of their "other families" and ultimately forgiveness.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration of this story literally brought it to life. When you read books on paper, you can't hear emotions out loud and sometimes you miss them. I was so impressed with the performances of all the narrators. I fell in love with each character and understood them more from their unique tones and what the narrators brought to the characters. I felt like these characters were real, because their emotions SOUNDED real.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Lucy moved me the most because she wanted what most women want in life and she did the unthinkable to get what she wanted!



During their senior year of college in 1975, Lucy and Warren get pregnant and decided to go through with an abortion but upon changing her mind, Lucy miscarried.

Later, Warren and Lucy tried to have a baby the conventional way. They pursued parenthood through making love all the time. Being goal oriented people, the goal of having a child became the only thing that mattered to Lucy while Warren seemed to be interested in a childless life. Lucy would do whatever it took to become a mother. Scheduling sex, sending Tom to collection banks and going to fertility clinics where she would endure embryo selection, harvesting eggs and painful injections.

"I'll never forget the first time I had to give her a shot", said Warren when describing having to do fertility shots to Lucy.

One day Warren came home from work and saw their old office converted into a nursery without him knowing. This clearly upset him and made him feel like he wasn't enough for Lucy. She was enough for him, but her desperate and intense desire to fill the empty space in her arms, was too much for him. They separated a year later, and Tom eventually remarried. Lucy however, remained single and continued on her path towards becoming a mother.

One day Lucy decided she needed candles, and she innocently found herself strolling the aisles at Ikea and as fate would have it, she discovered a baby girl sitting alone, as if abandoned in a cart, slumped in a plastic infant carrier attached to the cart.


"It was as if the cart was a spaceship that had landed, bringing her to me." -Lucy
"If she had cried, I would have taken her back into the store, but she didn't."-Lucy

Any additional comments?


What would you do if you found your new and only baby missing when you turned away to make a phone call? This is every parent's worst nightmare. Marilyn and Tom Featherstone had a beautiful baby girl named Natalie that they only got to know and love for 4 months before the fateful August day at an Ikea where she was kidnapped while Marilyn took a phone call.

"I walked away from my baby."-Marilyn

I listened to this nonstop for the entire 8+ hours. This was such a captivating story. I felt immediately connected to the story as a mother myself, and it grasped me and didn't let go. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. So many emotions were evoked. Anger, confusion, happiness.. and many tears.

There were times when I would pause and find myself feeling very sad for Marilyn for losing her first baby to kidnapping, and at the same time hating Lucy for being the kidnapper. Then oddly enough, there were even more times when I found myself loving Lucy and appreciating that although she made a terrible choice to take Natalie and raise her (as her "adopted" daughter) whom she renamed Mia, I felt like she was sincere and very loving. Throughout the story, you could tell just how amazing she was as a mother. Protective, loving, supportive, encouraging.. and hardworking. The way Lucy justified her actions in hindsight, I constantly empathized with her grief and her regret.

Mia is the one who I struggled to identify with the most. I guess that should be expected. Her reactions were on point. How would I feel had I learned that my mother had kidnapped me as a child and I didn't know about it for 21 years?


I will say this, without giving the ending away.. I was satisfied with the outcome. I tried not to have expectations of the ending, but I couldn't help but find myself extremely anxious to get to the end. I had lots of tears.



This is a fantastic story and I hope everybody who reads it finds themselves bursting with emotions like I did.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not quite mediocre

I thought this book sounded like it had a lot of promise. The premise is exciting and has a lot of potential. Sounds good, right?
WRONG!
The book is written from the perspective of several different key players in the drama of a kidnapping. Unfortunately, all of these characters are extremely one-dimensional and, in my opinion, totally boring. There are so many missed opportunities in this book to really examine the depth of the relationships between these characters, the depth of who they are as individuals, and the impact of the events on their lives. There was a bit of that, but it seemed rushed and superficial. They become annoying and predictable caricatures. Ultimately, this book is poorly written, tedious, and boring.
Most of the narrators are adequate. However, the voice of the narrator for the character of Lucy was incredibly whiny and annoying.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tammy
  • GREEN BAY, WI, United States
  • 01-23-16

thought provoking!

I thought it was well written, a good storyline. Something that could happen in real life....it gives hope for parents that have had a child stolen from them.I liked the narrators.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

What is ours?

What I appreciated most about this book is the way the story is told. It was like watching a documentary and live action at the same time. The different voices of the story lend depth to the characters and move the story along at a nice pace. What I didn't find as alluring was the last quarter, which seemed rushed and then ended abruptly. Also, I felt there was an undercurrent of judgement about today's busy moms. The haunting question this book leaves me with is when, if ever, are our children truly ours.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful