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.
Immediately after reading the first chapter, readers will bond with Lucy. Her story is one that many women who are desperately trying to conceive will relate to. Trying unsuccessfully for years, like so many other marriages Lucy and her husband grow apart and eventually separate.
While Lucy goes through the motions of her day-to-day life, her yearning for a baby continues to grow and take control over her very being. With an ache in her heart that never seems to subside, she enters an IKEA store one day and walks out with a baby that she raises as her own.
What’s crazy is that as horrific a crime committed by Lucy, readers will still empathize with her actions. Helen Klein Ross managed to unfold this story so that it was easy to feel the heart break of all people involved. Told in alternating POV’s, this heart wrenching story will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
The shocking plot twists had my heart racing and turning pages furiously. What happens to Mia after 21 years of being raised by a woman who claimed to be her mother but turns out to be a child abductor. Where does she go from there? How can she possibly come to terms with what her self proclaimed mother did? Can you get those years back? Is there retribution to be paid?
This book was not the typical thriller genre. Although you will most likely be perched at the edge of your seat while reading it, many readers will feel the heart aching loss of all characters involved.
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Helen Klein Ross is a poet and novelist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and in The Iowa Review where it won the 2014 Iowa Review award in poetry.
Her new novel The Latecomers, published by Little, Brown, is the story of an Irish immigrant, an ancestral home in New England and the dark secrets hidden in its walls for generations. Interweaving timelines span 1899 to present day.
Her second novel What Was Mine (Simon & Schuster, 2016) tells the story of a girl who discovers that she wasn’t adopted, she was kidnapped. It was chosen by People magazine as a Best New Book of 2016.
Her first novel, Making It: A Novel of Madison Avenue (Simon & Schuster, 2013) was the first e-book with a digital epilogue which links to online content where readers can explore material created by each character: makingitafterwords.tumblr.com
Helen is the creator and editor of The Traveler’s Vade Mecum (Red Hen Press, 2016), an anthology of new poems titled by old telegrams found in an 1853 book she discovered on Twitter. Over 70 contributing poets include Frank Bidart and Billy Collins.
Helen graduated from Cornell University and received an MFA from The New School. In her former life as a writer/creative director at global ad agencies in NYC and San Francisco, she created the award winning blog Adbroad.com and acclaimed Twitter handle @BettyDraper. Helen lives with her husband in New York and Lakeville, Connecticut.