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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Mine by Claire Empson

Mine by Clare Empson.
Publishing in paperback on 19th March 2020 from Orion.
Read March 2020.

A & R man, Luke has always felt like a bit of an outsider, which he puts down to finding out when he was a child that he was adopted.

Although, on the surface of it, he seems to have to ideal life - a job he loves and a girlfriend, Hannah, he adores - the arrival of their new baby son, Samuel, has made Luke realise that he really needs to find out something about his roots. Maybe his life will then be truly complete?

When Luke finally meets his birth mother, Alice, he is overjoyed to feel an instant connection with her. She seems to fit into Luke and Hannah's life so beautifully - and Samuel loves her too.

So, when Hannah goes back to work, Alice seems like the ideal person to look after Samuel, especially since it will help her get over the grief of losing Luke all those years ago. But although things start off well, Luke soon feels that he is losing his connection with Alice, as she becomes more and more obsessed with Samuel.

Something is definitely not right with Alice and the way she relates to Luke's child, but can Luke get to the bottom of what is going wrong before it is too late?


Mine is a cracking story from start to finish - and so much more than your usual psychological thriller!

The chapters alternate between the points of view of  Alice from the past, and Luke from the present, so it cuts deliciously back and forth between the heady 1970s and the events which follow when Luke is reunited with his birth mother. Through this, we discover that the past is not quite as Alice has portrayed to the grown up Luke, that she is hiding something from him, and the suspense begins to ramp up.

I really liked that the chapters from Luke's side of the story are preceded by quotes from a expert about adoptive children, as each one gives us a little prophetic snippet about where the story is heading. At each stage we get a view into how Luke sees his developing relationship with Alice and why he begins to feel unhappy about where things are going. The similarities between Luke and his real father are also pretty interesting and give a real "nature over nurture" feel to the story.

The thriller element is strong with this one, and will have you perching on the edge of your seat as Luke starts to have suspicions about Alice's motives and behaviour. But being able to understand why Alice's sanity starts to fracture as events progress gives an unusual depth to the story that is quite special - although it doesn't make it any less chilling - and the glimpse into Alice's rock and roll/artistic youth is very evocative.

This a very emotional tale and really rather sad, but is an absolutely gripping read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am now off to investigate Clare Empson's debut novel Him, which was published last year - she is definitely an author I will have my eye on from now on.

Mine is published in paperback on 19th March 2020, and is available to pre-order from your favourite book retailer now, or via this link: Amazon

Thank you to Clare Empson and Orion for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review, and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

From the cover of the book:

'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

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. 

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