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'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 '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...


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'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 '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...

30 review for Mine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Luke had been adopted shortly after his birth. But he has now traced his birth mother, Alice. Luke, his partner Hannah and their son, Samuel are now meeting up with Alice and his birth father, Rick on a regular basis. Alice starts minding Samuel when Hannah returns to work. But Luke is jealous. His mother is having a relationship with his son, forming a bond that Luke never had. The first half of this book sets the scene. I didn't think it was a psychological thriller but it was a good read just Luke had been adopted shortly after his birth. But he has now traced his birth mother, Alice. Luke, his partner Hannah and their son, Samuel are now meeting up with Alice and his birth father, Rick on a regular basis. Alice starts minding Samuel when Hannah returns to work. But Luke is jealous. His mother is having a relationship with his son, forming a bond that Luke never had. The first half of this book sets the scene. I didn't think it was a psychological thriller but it was a good read just thr same. There's quite a few unexpected twists that will keep your interest. The story is written in two timelines getting the story of before and after Luke's birth. This is an emotional and moving read. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I would like to thank NetGalley, Orion Publishing Group and the author Clare Empson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dash fan

    4☆ Highly Compelling, Enthralling and Poignant, A Must Read! Mine is a highly compelling story about family, jealousy, bonding, adoption, guilt, relationships, it's gripping and at times a rollercoaster of emotions Alice gave up her Son Luke for adoption. Luke has always wanted to find his birth parents and to find out answers. So he seeks out Alice. So when Alice and Luke meet he now has a family, a Wife Hannah and a son called Samuel. As they get to know each other, after all these years, Alice off 4☆ Highly Compelling, Enthralling and Poignant, A Must Read! Mine is a highly compelling story about family, jealousy, bonding, adoption, guilt, relationships, it's gripping and at times a rollercoaster of emotions Alice gave up her Son Luke for adoption. Luke has always wanted to find his birth parents and to find out answers. So he seeks out Alice. So when Alice and Luke meet he now has a family, a Wife Hannah and a son called Samuel. As they get to know each other, after all these years, Alice offers to look after young Samuel. Alice loves Samuel as a grandparent would, but in seeing this bond Luke craved and missed out on, sparks up a touch of jealousy and he begins to wonder if letting Alice care for Samuel is such a good idea after all! I loved learning about Alice's story and why she came to the painful decision to give Luke up for adoption. Then there was Luke's story, the impact of being adopted, finding Alice and how it would/is effecting his relationship with his adopted parents, the impact it has on his own relationship with his mother and his family and son. I thoroughly enjoyed reading MINE, it was completely enthralling, there is so many layers to this book. It has a psychological feel, yet it's poignant, and cleverly plotted. It's very much a character driven story set between two time lines, which I loved as it gave the plot so much depth. If you love your Family Thrillers to be so much more than a thriller, that take you on a rollercoaster of emotions then I highly recommend this fantastic book! Thank you to Compulsive Readers Tours and Orion Publishers for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily My Review is also on my Blog Website :- https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/2020/0...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Luke had been adopted shortly after his birth. But he has now traced his birth mother, Alice. Luke, his partner Hannah and their son, Samuel are now meeting up with Alice and his birth father, Rick on a regular basis. Alice starts minding Samuel when Hannah returns to work. But Luke is jealous. His mother is having a relationship with his son, forming a bond that Luke never had. The first half of their book sets the scene. I didn't think it was a psychological thriller but it was a good read jus Luke had been adopted shortly after his birth. But he has now traced his birth mother, Alice. Luke, his partner Hannah and their son, Samuel are now meeting up with Alice and his birth father, Rick on a regular basis. Alice starts minding Samuel when Hannah returns to work. But Luke is jealous. His mother is having a relationship with his son, forming a bond that Luke never had. The first half of their book sets the scene. I didn't think it was a psychological thriller but it was a good read just the same. Theres quite a few unexpected twists that will keep your interest. Thenstory is written in two timeline getringbthe story if before and after Luke's birth. This is an emotional and moving read. I throughly enjoyed this story. I would like to thank NetGalley, Orion Publishing Group and the author Clare Empson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Fenton

    Review to follow as part of the blogtour - but this book goes straight into my Top Ten Books of 2020.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This books is classed as a psychological thriller, but it really is so much more than that. This goes way deeper that not only pulled at my heart strings but nearly broke them. The story flicks between Alice in the past and Luke in present day. In the past we get to know Alice better and the build up to the circumstances surrounding giving her son up for adoption. In present day, we meet Luke and his partner Hannah, with their young Samuel, comng to terms with having Alice in their lives. Having n This books is classed as a psychological thriller, but it really is so much more than that. This goes way deeper that not only pulled at my heart strings but nearly broke them. The story flicks between Alice in the past and Luke in present day. In the past we get to know Alice better and the build up to the circumstances surrounding giving her son up for adoption. In present day, we meet Luke and his partner Hannah, with their young Samuel, comng to terms with having Alice in their lives. Having not been adopted myself, it’s hard to know how it would feel to know that your parents gave you away. Through Luke, we get to see how knowing your adopted can at times put pressure on the relationship with the adopted parents as well as the upheaval to everyone involved in having a blood parent, coming back into your life. Tensions and emotions run high throughout this story. Parts were emotional, heartbreaking, sad, worrying, it really did have me go through an array of emotions. Seeing the bond form between Alice and her grandson was lovely yet had me feeling wary all at the same time. Mine is a gentle, yet compelling story that consumed me wholly. Whilst there are some surprises up the sleeve of this book, I think the main attraction for me were the relationships within this story. The ending had me sobbing like a new born. I was so affected by Alice and Luke and hats off to the author for writing such a haunting read as it will take me sometime, if ever, that I forget about the characters and events that happen within these pages. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and NatGalley and Orion for a readers copy of the book. Opinions are all my own and not biased in anyway.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie Lacey

    Wow! This is an absolutely brilliant book and one that I’ll be telling all my friends about. Luke meets up with his biological mother, Alice, and instantly forms a connection with her. His wife also loves her so when they discuss who will look after their baby when Hannah goes back to work, Alice jumps at the chance. She is the perfect choice as Samuel loves her too and all seems to go well. Luke’s adoptive mother is more traditional and they’ve drifted apart lately so he struggles with telling Wow! This is an absolutely brilliant book and one that I’ll be telling all my friends about. Luke meets up with his biological mother, Alice, and instantly forms a connection with her. His wife also loves her so when they discuss who will look after their baby when Hannah goes back to work, Alice jumps at the chance. She is the perfect choice as Samuel loves her too and all seems to go well. Luke’s adoptive mother is more traditional and they’ve drifted apart lately so he struggles with telling her that he’s made contact with Alice. As Luke wants to get to know more about Alice, she seems to want to spend less time with him but more and more time with the baby. Luke begins to worry but Hannah can’t see the problem until Luke makes a shocking discovery. I’ll leave it there, as I don’t want to spoil this fantastic story as there is so much more to it. I loved this book and my heart is still racing from that ending. Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    I was a huge fan of this author’s first book so I was very excited to read more from her. Mine is another intense, powerful read which I have continued to think about long after I have finished reading. I’ve often wondered how traumatic and life changing giving up a child must be for everyone involved. It’s a decision that must haunt you for years and something you often think about. I therefore had a lot of sympathy for both Luke and Alice for the situation they find themselves in with all the r I was a huge fan of this author’s first book so I was very excited to read more from her. Mine is another intense, powerful read which I have continued to think about long after I have finished reading. I’ve often wondered how traumatic and life changing giving up a child must be for everyone involved. It’s a decision that must haunt you for years and something you often think about. I therefore had a lot of sympathy for both Luke and Alice for the situation they find themselves in with all the raw emotion that they were both feeling. As emotional as Luke and Alice’s meeting is, things soon becomes quite frightening as Alice forms a strong attachment to Luke little girl. Alarm bells started ringing and I found myself feeling quite uneasy as to how things were going. There’s a strong sense of foreboding hanging over the whole book as the reader gets the sense early on that something bad is going to happen but has no idea what and when. I found myself trying to read faster to find out what it was going to be. The thing that most stood out for me in this book was how connected I felt to the characters. Despite everything that happens I felt very close to them and felt I understood why they were acting the way they were. It’s definitely a heartbreaking read at times due to the subject matter but I think it would make a great read for anyone who likes psychological thrillers as it is very gripping. Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Orion for my copy of this book via Netgalley.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lel Budge

    This is a psychological thriller with an emotional edge. Luke had been adopted when very young and he now has a family of his own. He has a young son, Samuel with his partner Hannah. He is newly reunited with his birth mother, Alice who helps take care of Samuel so Hannah can go back to work. Told in two distinct times lines, Alice’s from the past and Luke’s in the present and set in the world of art and music. Without spoiling the plot, this is a beautifully written story with a slowly building ten This is a psychological thriller with an emotional edge. Luke had been adopted when very young and he now has a family of his own. He has a young son, Samuel with his partner Hannah. He is newly reunited with his birth mother, Alice who helps take care of Samuel so Hannah can go back to work. Told in two distinct times lines, Alice’s from the past and Luke’s in the present and set in the world of art and music. Without spoiling the plot, this is a beautifully written story with a slowly building tension, a family drama with a twist that’s gripping as you watch someone fall apart. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Mine for free. This is my honest, unbiased review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    I think that there is a need in all of us to know about our parents and their parents before them. It gives us stability. This was brought home even more to Luke when he and his girlfriend Hannah have a son themselves. Luke had been adopted as a baby and always felt out of sorts with it. Now knowing how strong his own feelings were for his son he needed to find out how his own mother could have given him up. Luke now 28 years old finds his beautiful 47-year-old mother Alice and a sort of relation I think that there is a need in all of us to know about our parents and their parents before them. It gives us stability. This was brought home even more to Luke when he and his girlfriend Hannah have a son themselves. Luke had been adopted as a baby and always felt out of sorts with it. Now knowing how strong his own feelings were for his son he needed to find out how his own mother could have given him up. Luke now 28 years old finds his beautiful 47-year-old mother Alice and a sort of relationship begins to develop between her and Luke, Hannah and baby Samuel. The connection between Alice and Samuel is instant so when Hannah has to return to work it is Alice that takes on the role of carer. Luke also meets his father but there are more secrets and lies to uncover yet. The story bounces between Alice's story of her home life to having her baby and the constant churning and changing feelings that Luke is experiencing. There are so many underlining stories that just made me read the last quarter of the book with pure dread. This is an absolute belting story that covers so many issues. Something happened in the book that I knew would be a game-changer and it put tension into every single page that came after it. This story will simply rip you apart and stay with you. I won't ever forget. I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Louise Beech

    Oh wow. How to describe my response to this one? First, it is so much more than a psychological thriller and I loved this. I'm always hungry for something extra special with my crime-y books, and this was it. It was beautiful, haunting, emotional, and totally addictive. An exploration of love and family, but still a total page-turner. Clare Empson is one to watch!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    Clare Empson hit the ground running with her bestselling debut, 'Him', and now she is back, once again, to give readers sleepless nights, as they ponder what they have just read, and eagerly turn page after page to find out what happens next. This story is beautifully balanced-on the one hand, is the adopted Luke, birth name Charlie, a grown man and father, who has never quite moved on from the disconnect he feels as an adopted child. His new role in being a partner to Hannah and father to Samuel Clare Empson hit the ground running with her bestselling debut, 'Him', and now she is back, once again, to give readers sleepless nights, as they ponder what they have just read, and eagerly turn page after page to find out what happens next. This story is beautifully balanced-on the one hand, is the adopted Luke, birth name Charlie, a grown man and father, who has never quite moved on from the disconnect he feels as an adopted child. His new role in being a partner to Hannah and father to Samuel, has meant a massive upheaval in his emotions and his need to create a secure bedrock for his son . Part of this has him searching for his birth mother, a fact he keeps secret from his adoptive mother. Luke's tale is alternated between the 'Then' of his birth mother Alice, an art school student with dreams and ambitions at a time when you could act upon them, hired to create album art for an upcoming band. It is supposed that Luke's father is famous artist Richard -or Rick- but as Alice's story unravels, you become less certain of the facts as they have been told to Luke, and begin to feel the ground beneath you wobble, as it does for Luke. The genius of this book is in it's quiet, almost simplistic story telling nature, it is so cleverly constructed that you don't even realise how much it has sucked you into these people's lives until you have to get up and turn out a light, feed yourself or the pets because you have been reading all day and suddenly it's nighttime. The complex nature of parenthood, the notion that children 'belong' to you and are beholden to you to make successes of their lives, is explored through all the intertwining relationships. There is Alice, with her cold mother and alcoholic father. Jacob, the talented musician and his violent grandfather. Luke with his adoptive parents, sent off to boarding school. Christina, Luke's adoptive mother and the child she was unable to have versus the one that society deemed her fit to raise. And in the midst of this emotional whirlpool is not only the mystery surrounding Luke's paternity, there is the relationship between Alice and Samuel. With Hannah going back to work, she seems the obvious solution to their child care needs;after all, Samuel loves her and they can all get to know each other better as time passes. What no one has accounted for, however, is the unwelcome guest at the table-jealousy. Is Luke Charlie if he lets his birth mother become a mother to him as a grown up? Where does his sense of identity lie? How does that change his relationship to his own son and adopted mother? Without an undercurrent of character development, each of these people would have felt like tropes, but Clare writes so well from the point of view of both male, and female, characters, that you feel you are getting an insight into a very real set of people. With your heart in your mouth , you are completely engrossed in what happens, a very human, very real story with no obvious good vs bad characters and a complex situation which does not gloss over how challenging it is to be a parent. The affirmation of love in contrast to the disdain, or outright hatred that some of these adults exhibit towards their progeny is so well realised. A thriller,yes, a mystery and a character study, this book suspends your belief and takes you outside of yourself as you let Clare's characters in. She treats all of them with a sense of realness that belies the 'this is the villain', 'this is the good guy' writing which could so easily create stereotypes of maternal/paternal abandonment. Clever, moving and just so engagin, I thoroughly recommend this 5 star read. And a bit of a lie down after finishing to catch your breath, And then go and buy 'Him' because really, Clare is a rising star of fiction writing and you are going to want to add her to your list of favourite writers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Robertson

    I adore Clare Empsons writing! She manages to convey such strong emotions within her characters that they rise up from the pages as though performing in front of her readers. Mine was always going to be an emotional read due to the subject matter but it was handled with a sensitivity that stopped it from becoming overly sentimental as the author created her heart rending storyline. Luke has known he was adopted since the age of 8 but the birth of his own son has made him more curious about the wo I adore Clare Empsons writing! She manages to convey such strong emotions within her characters that they rise up from the pages as though performing in front of her readers. Mine was always going to be an emotional read due to the subject matter but it was handled with a sensitivity that stopped it from becoming overly sentimental as the author created her heart rending storyline. Luke has known he was adopted since the age of 8 but the birth of his own son has made him more curious about the woman who gave birth to him. He meets the fascinating and stunningly beautiful Alice and quickly falls under her spell. When he and Hannah, mother of his son Samuel, need an au pair then who better but Alice to look after him and become an integral part of their new family. But when we become aware of Luke’s conception and the events leading up to his adoption, the readers quickly becomes aware that Alice isn’t telling Luke everything and his son is caught up in the middle of a very emotional reunion that may not have the outcome they were all hoping for. I liked how the narrative brought the themes of motherhood to the forefront of the relationships here and each chapter began with quotes about adoption and the pitfalls of meeting adopted parents as adults. This then filtered down into the relationship Luke has with his birth mother as their relationship follows down some unexpected paths. The reasons become clear as we follow Alice during her days at art college and her introduction to Luke’s father. This isn’t so much a psychological thriller but more of an intriguing and emotional family drama with an affecting storyline looking at the impact of adoption on the mental health of all those it touches. Clare Empson handles her characters with an empathetic and non judgmental hand letting their backgrounds unravel as we see how the past has made them the people that they have become in the present. It’s a heartbreaking journey for them. Mine has a soul searching and touching narrative that never dips into the mawkish, syrupy side of this tragic story. It’s affecting without being affected and handles the cards dealt to all of its players to perfection. Highly recommended by me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Smith

    I was a huge fan of Clare Empson's first book, Him. It was one of my top reads of last year. I couldn't wait to read Mine but I did wonder, having read the synopsis, whether it would have the same impact for me personally that Him did. I didn't need to wonder, I should have just trusted in Empson's abilities. I absolutely loved Mine! The book begins with Luke, 27, and his birth mother, Alice, meeting for the first time. Luke, like many adopted children, has always felt out of step with his adopte I was a huge fan of Clare Empson's first book, Him. It was one of my top reads of last year. I couldn't wait to read Mine but I did wonder, having read the synopsis, whether it would have the same impact for me personally that Him did. I didn't need to wonder, I should have just trusted in Empson's abilities. I absolutely loved Mine! The book begins with Luke, 27, and his birth mother, Alice, meeting for the first time. Luke, like many adopted children, has always felt out of step with his adopted family. He gets on well with Alice and so does his wife, Hannah, so they decide to ask her to look after their baby, Samuel, when Hannah goes back to work. It seems like a good idea but despite their genetic closeness, Luke doesn’t really know anything about Alice. I think the synopsis made me think this was going to be a psychological thriller, and there are certainly lots of psychological aspects to it, but it's so much more. It gets right to the heart of emotions and difficult reunions. The story is told in alternating chapters. We hear from Luke in 2000 but we also see Alice in 1972 and we find out what led her to give him up for adoption. It's when it's all put together in context that the pieces really slot together. What made Him special for me was the beautifully written love affair contained within the pages and that's the major reason I didn't know if Mine would affect me in the same way. However, I was thrilled to find that Empson has again written the affecting story of intense love, heartbreak and loss that I was hoping for. Reader, I cried. The books that stay with me make me cry. Mine will definitely stay with me. Clare Empson is most definitely an author who I will read without knowing anything about the story. She's so intuitive, and is able to take a dark story and deliver it with feeling. I was utterly gripped by Mine from beginning to end.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lel Budge

    This is a psychological thriller with an emotional edge. Luke had been adopted when very young and he now has a family of his own. He has a young son, Samuel with his partner Hannah. He is newly reunited with his birth mother, Alice who helps take care of Samuel so Hannah can go back to work. Told in two distinct times lines, Alice’s from the past and Luke’s in the present and set in the world of art and music. Without spoiling the plot, this is a beautifully written story with a slowly building ten This is a psychological thriller with an emotional edge. Luke had been adopted when very young and he now has a family of his own. He has a young son, Samuel with his partner Hannah. He is newly reunited with his birth mother, Alice who helps take care of Samuel so Hannah can go back to work. Told in two distinct times lines, Alice’s from the past and Luke’s in the present and set in the world of art and music. Without spoiling the plot, this is a beautifully written story with a slowly building tension, a family drama with a twist that’s gripping as you watch someone fall apart. Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Luke was adopted when he was a child. So, twenty-seven years later when he has a child of his own baby Samuel. He thinks of his birth mother and goes out to find her in secret from his adoptive mother, as he once told her he wouldn’t search for her. When they meet, things go well and at first, they make a connection. So well in fact that when Luke’s girlfriend Hannah decides to go back to work. Alice Luke’s mother offers to look after baby Samuel three days a week. The story also turns to Alice’s Luke was adopted when he was a child. So, twenty-seven years later when he has a child of his own baby Samuel. He thinks of his birth mother and goes out to find her in secret from his adoptive mother, as he once told her he wouldn’t search for her. When they meet, things go well and at first, they make a connection. So well in fact that when Luke’s girlfriend Hannah decides to go back to work. Alice Luke’s mother offers to look after baby Samuel three days a week. The story also turns to Alice’s POV. What her life was like as an artist and how she met Luke’s father. But when Alice looks after Samuel Luke realizes that Alice’s attention goes to Samuel more than Luke, as if Alice is replacing Samuel as the son she lost. Wow this is a great gripping thriller somehow a bit different to others I have read. A story of adoption, not everyone has a happy ending when they meet their birth mother, Love and death. I also liked the way the author wrote this seeing in each other’s point of view so we can see the different sides of what one thinks.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karen Cole

    Having a baby is frequently cited as a life-changing experience by many parents but for Luke the instant love he feels for his son, Samuel is bittersweet as he was adopted and though he had a privileged upbringing, he has always felt like an outsider. However, he has managed to trace his birth mother, Alice and Mine opens with their first tentative meeting. The narrative switches between Luke's storyline and his desperate need to connect with the woman who gave birth to him but then gave him away Having a baby is frequently cited as a life-changing experience by many parents but for Luke the instant love he feels for his son, Samuel is bittersweet as he was adopted and though he had a privileged upbringing, he has always felt like an outsider. However, he has managed to trace his birth mother, Alice and Mine opens with their first tentative meeting. The narrative switches between Luke's storyline and his desperate need to connect with the woman who gave birth to him but then gave him away and Alice's experiences twenty-seven years previously which eventually come to explain why she reached the decision to let her baby son go. Although there is a creeping sense of dread in both storylines, Mine isn't so much a psychological thriller as a beautifully observed, empathetic domestic drama which doesn't seek to assign blame but instead sensitively explores the need to feel wanted and to belong to somebody. Many of us will have seen television programmes where an adopted child is reunited with one or both of their birth parents but other than a brief update, we don't always discover how these strangers who are so closely related manage to negotiate their new relationships with each another. It's not uncommon for people to claim they feel an instant bond with a long-lost parent or child and that's reflected here with Luke and Alice experiencing an intense connection with one another. Luke's girlfriend, Hannah immediately clicks with Alice too and when they are introduced to Rick, the successful artist who Luke has learned is his father, there is a natural warmth between them all that suggests Luke will finally experience the feeling of belonging he believes has always been missing from his life. In contrast, his relationship with his adoptive mother seems strained and awkward and though she offers to help with Samuel, it seems that she is unable to respect their parenting decisions and instead looks to assert her own beliefs on child-rearing on them. In 1972, the nineteen-year-old Alice is in her first term at Slade but doubts whether she deserves her place as one of only twelve students accepted on the fine arts degree. Fortunately she has Rick to bolster her confidence and throughout the course of the novel, I loved the beautiful depiction of the friendship between the pair which epitomises the value of platonic love. However, it's her relationship with Jake which I found to be the most compelling part of the book; as a rock star who has already tasted success and looks set for stardom, his interest in the much younger Alice could have felt predatory but the passionate love affair that develops between them is actually deeply touching. As the story progresses and we learn more about their formative years, it isn't surprising that the pair should be so drawn to one another but even when things seem to be almost perfect there is always a sense of uneasy foreboding because we know that eventually Alice will reach the point where she becomes unable to keep her son. There's a heartrending poignancy to these chapters and it's here that the truth as to why the modern day Alice behaves as she does, is finally revealed. The relationship between Alice and Luke is absolutely fascinating; both are immensely believable, flawed characters who are driven by their pasts to take increasingly desperate action to protect those they love. Although there are times when they are evidently in the wrong, it's impossible not to feel deep sympathy for their anguish - Clare Empson so perfectly captures the unbearable pain of love and loss here. The sense of time is rendered superbly too, especially in the parts of the book set in the seventies where the the attitudes of the time - particularly regarding sexual liberation and homosexuality - are examined, and the music and fashion of the era is used to great effect. Mine is one of those books that got under my skin, I genuinely cared about these vulnerable, very real characters and although I expected the tears, the intensity of the emotions evoked in the latter part of the novel still caught me by surprise. There's hope here too, however, with the recognition that love and families come in all forms. Engrossing, sensitive and heartbreaking writing such as this deserves every plaudit coming its way and Mine should be an enormous success. I highly recommend it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Mitchell

    This is the story of Luke and his birth mother Alice who are reunited twenty eight years after Alice gave her baby up for adoption. At first Luke is rapt by his mother - the beautiful 47-year-old Alice, once an artist with a promising future now relegated to painting portraits of pets. Alice steps in to care for Luke’s baby son, Samuel, so that Luke’s partner Hannah can go back to work as an arts correspondent on a broadsheet. But instead of bringing Alice and Luke closer, this child care arrang This is the story of Luke and his birth mother Alice who are reunited twenty eight years after Alice gave her baby up for adoption. At first Luke is rapt by his mother - the beautiful 47-year-old Alice, once an artist with a promising future now relegated to painting portraits of pets. Alice steps in to care for Luke’s baby son, Samuel, so that Luke’s partner Hannah can go back to work as an arts correspondent on a broadsheet. But instead of bringing Alice and Luke closer, this child care arrangement pushes them apart. This is no ordinary novel. What elevates it - to, frankly one of the best books I have read in a long time - is that it is a feast for the senses. Told in two time frames, the past is steeped in the world of the Slade, the paints and the artists' projects as well as the lives of a band called the Disciples, and the charismatic lead singer Jake who is all velvet bell bottoms and long scarves. As Jake and Alice fall deeply in love, we are treated to nights under the stars on the beach, to Chianti in five-litre flagons in Italy, to the paintings and frescoes of Florence - and so much wonderful food. Always Empson lets you see, taste and smell the surroundings of this luxurious novel. The present is equally as charged as A&R man Luke endeavours to sign a new band as well as navigating us around his local haunts in Clapham. And then Alice introduces him to the man on his birth certificate, Richard Fields, the legendary artist whose work hangs in famous galleries such as MOMA in New York and the Pompidou, and we get to experience this glamorous world too. Here, character is everything. There are no plot twists that stretch the imagination to breaking point and yet the tension just builds and builds. It is a long time since I have enjoyed a novel quite as much as this one. I couldn’t get enough of it and started to walk around the house reading, as well as eating my breakfast while peering at the pages. The writing is lyrical, natural - it flows without getting in the way. And although this novel digs deep into pain, particularly that experienced by adoptees, there is so much beauty here. MINE has all the proportions of a Maggie O’Farrell novel, although it has to be said Clare Empson has a style all of her own. Be warned: this novel will take over your life while you are reading it. A beguiling, all-consuming read which I simply adored.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zoé-lee O'farrell

    Well, it’s a fact she did it again! Clare has broken me again! This is the second book I’ve read by her and Him was my book of the year last year, so when I picked this up I thought I knew what to expect! I was wrong. I knew she would write a story where she had snappy chapters to keep me reading because I had to know what the frick would happen. I knew she would write a story where we saw what happened in the past to shape the future and then write the present day to see the fallout. I knew she wo Well, it’s a fact she did it again! Clare has broken me again! This is the second book I’ve read by her and Him was my book of the year last year, so when I picked this up I thought I knew what to expect! I was wrong. I knew she would write a story where she had snappy chapters to keep me reading because I had to know what the frick would happen. I knew she would write a story where we saw what happened in the past to shape the future and then write the present day to see the fallout. I knew she would write a story where love would be so encompassing and passionate but also destructive. What I didn’t expect were the number of tears there would be, I still knew there would be some. When we reach the catastrophic events in the past, I was shocked, my world had been rocked because even though you knew something like that would happen you still didn’t expect it to actually happen. Again, Clare has broken me. How a few sentences in a book can destroy you is unreal. You become protective of the people that are involved and you want to change the author’s words to make it all right in the world again. Problem is, as we know, we can’t. We have to somehow accept the events and we have to deal with it just like the characters. Man! How do we do that! Alice is damaged due to what happened in her past, in the 70s, and Luke, he is damaged due to this past. It is euphoric when we see them meet for the first time, and there is so much hope. A hope that things can finally be different. As in Him, Mine is pivotal around love and destruction and it pulls you in from the opening pages. I couldn’t let go of Alice and Luke’s journey. Even though this is not a short book, I felt everything was rushed. It was just over too quickly, I mean I just devoured this book and now I am feeling so annoyed with myself that I didn’t savour the book more. I am so bloody gutted it’s over! I just know that anything Clare writes I will be reading, it’s like a compulsion I had to read the story written. Mine tackles a subject of adoption and the impacts on everyone’s lives that it can have. It is incredibly emotive and it is one that will stay with me. My only complaint is that it is over way too quickly! I do not know what else to say, it will definitely be in my list at the end of the year.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shalini

    Wow. Another book which quite a different read for me. A son Luke getting on touch with his birth mother Alice. Told in two timelines, the prose showed me Luke's emotions at meeting his mother and Alice vs reasons for giving him away. Everything was not as it appeared. The author cleverly added some twists along the way. I was slowly pulled into the story as the dynamics were revealed. My first book by this author, I was completely immersed in the characters' lives by the time it ended. A fun read Wow. Another book which quite a different read for me. A son Luke getting on touch with his birth mother Alice. Told in two timelines, the prose showed me Luke's emotions at meeting his mother and Alice vs reasons for giving him away. Everything was not as it appeared. The author cleverly added some twists along the way. I was slowly pulled into the story as the dynamics were revealed. My first book by this author, I was completely immersed in the characters' lives by the time it ended. A fun read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    peggy

    After reading her first book HIM a really good five star read I was really hoping for more of the same. This book had me hooked from the first page. A quick synopsis young girl gets pregnant and gives her baby up for adoption. Fast forward twenty years and mother and son meet and life will never be the same again for either of them. I was sat on the edge of my seat watching this young man watching him unravel. In places my heart was in my mouth. Atmospheric, chilling and definitely a MUST READ. After reading her first book HIM a really good five star read I was really hoping for more of the same. This book had me hooked from the first page. A quick synopsis young girl gets pregnant and gives her baby up for adoption. Fast forward twenty years and mother and son meet and life will never be the same again for either of them. I was sat on the edge of my seat watching this young man watching him unravel. In places my heart was in my mouth. Atmospheric, chilling and definitely a MUST READ. Almost five stars. Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and Netgalley for the ARC.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Walker Editorial

    This book was not was I was expecting, I thought I had an idea of what the plot was going to be after reading the blurb but I was totally wrong and so glad to be! The poignancy of the adoption storyline was so powerful and I found it really moving as well as suspenseful and compelling. The dual storyline added extra depth. Clare Empson is getting better with every new book so I'm looking forward to the next one! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-copy in exchange for an honest review This book was not was I was expecting, I thought I had an idea of what the plot was going to be after reading the blurb but I was totally wrong and so glad to be! The poignancy of the adoption storyline was so powerful and I found it really moving as well as suspenseful and compelling. The dual storyline added extra depth. Clare Empson is getting better with every new book so I'm looking forward to the next one! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emma Shaw

    I was not prepared for the avalanche of emotions that I would feel while reading this book. Ms Empson broke me with this absorbing story of motherhood, family and true love. Told over dual timelines the story begins with 27-year-old Luke meeting his birth mother, Alice, for the first time. We then follow as they get to know each other and as Alice meets Luke's girlfriend Hannah and baby son Samuel, and Luke meets his father Rick. Their reunion goes so well that when Hannah returns to work after I was not prepared for the avalanche of emotions that I would feel while reading this book. Ms Empson broke me with this absorbing story of motherhood, family and true love. Told over dual timelines the story begins with 27-year-old Luke meeting his birth mother, Alice, for the first time. We then follow as they get to know each other and as Alice meets Luke's girlfriend Hannah and baby son Samuel, and Luke meets his father Rick. Their reunion goes so well that when Hannah returns to work after her maternity leave, Alice is the one to look after Samuel. But as Alice gets closer to the family, and Samuel in particular, Luke begins to question how well they know her. Can they really trust her with their baby? Or is Luke being paranoid because he feels he's being pushed out by his mother all over again? I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started this book, but it certainly wasn't something so emotional. The story is steadily paced with flashbacks to Alice finding her true love, becoming pregnant and giving up the baby she wanted to raise running parallel to the story of the two of them reconnecting twenty-seven years later. I liked the author’s decision to only have Alice's point of view in the flashbacks as it added to the sense of mystery and put us in the same boat as Luke with wondering what happened when he was a baby and what her intentions are now. It also added to the sense of foreboding that is present throughout the book, though you are never quite sure what it will mean and where the story will take you. The characters slowly reveal themselves in the same way people do when getting to know each other. You could tell the author had researched the emotional impact of adoption on everyone involved and she brings that to each character expertly. The author has a way of reaching into your heart and soul so you feel everything they do: elation, trepidation and optimism when Luke and Alice meet and become part of each other's lives, the passion and intensity of Alice and Jacob falling in love, and Luke's heartache and confusion as his feelings for his birth mother become more complex. Both narrators were likeable, relatable and sympathetic. I was rooting for them individually and as mother and son, hoping for a happy ending after the heartache they’ve both suffered. Mine is an engrossing, poignant, hopeful and heartbreaking story. This is the first time I’ve read anything by this author and I will be buying her first book so I can read more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    The Coycaterpillar Reads

    Mine deals with sensitive issues and really breathes life into the saying that your past is never really in your past.  We are all a result of our upbringings.  Memories.  The laughter.  Endless tears.  It is all an echo that rings in the lost memories of our childhood.  It is useless to try and outrun the fears that revisiting the past can open back up.  You can lace up those trainers and try to get ahead of it, but it’s going to catch up with you eventually.  Mine is the story of Luke and his w Mine deals with sensitive issues and really breathes life into the saying that your past is never really in your past.  We are all a result of our upbringings.  Memories.  The laughter.  Endless tears.  It is all an echo that rings in the lost memories of our childhood.  It is useless to try and outrun the fears that revisiting the past can open back up.  You can lace up those trainers and try to get ahead of it, but it’s going to catch up with you eventually.  Mine is the story of Luke and his wife, Hannah.  Together they have a son, Samuel.  The novel examines the reawakening that occurs in Luke.  The birth of his son has brought old scars back into the Frey.  His past ghosts now inhabit his consciousness.  He believed that he had moved on but now he is wrecked with thoughts about his birth mother.  Every shadow and corner brings him back full circle – wondering about where he came from.  It makes you wonder about the other side of the coin – how does the parent, especially the mother, move on from such an action?  He meets his mother, Alice, now aged 47.  A very attractive woman by all means who gave Luke up when he was only a few weeks old.  She was an aspiring artist and now paints portraits of pets.  Was it really worth it?  Luke doesn’t gain much of a reason for why he was given up for adoption.  Mine certainly has a raw undercurrent of a melancholy tune.  It is sadness for years lost.  For an emptiness.  The writing was magnetic.  I was pulled towards it from the very first page.  It was addictive and squeezed at my heart, especially as a mother.  I don’t think I would have every fully moved on from that.  Alice was a deeply frustrating character for me.  She was given the opportunity that doesn’t always come knocking for birth parents.  He she has her baby boy back in front of her and she doesn’t grasp on to him with both hands.  He represents a new life.  A renewed future.  A second chance.  Instead he is greeted with this cold, standoffish persona.  She never lets him in and I just want to grab her and shake her, make her realise just what an opportunity she has.  As the story progresses we are afforded the details of why and you slowly come around to the idea that yes maybe she had her reasons, maybe even sympathise with her.  The story moves forward with Hannah returning to work.  Try as they might, they cannot find a suitable Au Pair to look after their son.  After seeing Alice bond with Samuel, it is suggested that this could be a perfect solution.  Luke watches and becomes jealous of the relationship between his son and his mother.  Can he really trust her with his son?  Just how much does he know about her?  It is clear to the eye that his issues with abandonment run very deep, he is unsettled but just can’t shake off the feeling.  Mine is successfully layered this novel with the coldness and fear of what abandonment can result in.  Clare Empson has created a menacing atmosphere with darkly compelling characters that take up space in your head. 

  24. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    One word…Wow! What an emotional story Mine was, I say emotional but actually it was an emotional roller-coaster. The synopsis tells you the basics you need to know about this story and to be honest I am not going to really expand on that. The story is essentially two stories that are intertwined in a Now and Then format. The Now part of the story of Luke and how he finally gets to meet Alice, his birth mother, and how their relationship builds. The second story is about Alice and her journey throu One word…Wow! What an emotional story Mine was, I say emotional but actually it was an emotional roller-coaster. The synopsis tells you the basics you need to know about this story and to be honest I am not going to really expand on that. The story is essentially two stories that are intertwined in a Now and Then format. The Now part of the story of Luke and how he finally gets to meet Alice, his birth mother, and how their relationship builds. The second story is about Alice and her journey through Art school, life and to the point of giving her son up for adoption. There are obviously others in the story, Hannah is Luke’s partner and together they have Samuel, there is Luke’s mother as well. In the past there are those important to Alice, such as renowned artist Rick. During this slower paced story the there are various aspects that the author has dealt with and I think has done very well. There is an obvious impact of reconnecting with a birth parent, expectations, questions, guilt are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact is felt for all that are part of the family and in someways careful managing is needed. The emotion aspect of the story was gradually built up, from the initial nervousness of a first meeting to Alice becoming part of the family. While the story does have a psychological thriller feel to it, it is more about family relationships, and it has a more dramatic second half. A fabulous read that had some surprises, and though I did have a nervous feeling I wasn’t quite expecting the way the author played her story line out. A cracking read for readers who like a book that has a slower build-up, that is as much about family life and relationships as it is the psychological thriller. It is one I would definitely recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kerry https://likeherdingcatsblog.wordpress.com Robinson

    I don't have triggers and book themes that I avoid but this one hit home for me as an adopter.     It is a mild psychological/family thriller but the relationships and issues that are woven throughout are extremely well written and almost a plot within itself.  Each character was explored in depth and brought out some intense emotions in me as I was reading.      The novel is told from the perspectives of Luke and of Alice (his biological mother). They are narrated across a dual timeline of the pr I don't have triggers and book themes that I avoid but this one hit home for me as an adopter.     It is a mild psychological/family thriller but the relationships and issues that are woven throughout are extremely well written and almost a plot within itself.  Each character was explored in depth and brought out some intense emotions in me as I was reading.      The novel is told from the perspectives of Luke and of Alice (his biological mother). They are narrated across a dual timeline of the present, and Alice's student days.  Learning about Alice as a younger person and her reasons for giving up Luke were done tenderly and with respect.  Luke grows up with adoptive parents but always having unanswered questions and feeling like he has missed out, he is thrilled to meet his birth mother, Alice.  As Alice forms a strong and loving bond with Luke's son Samuel, it stirs a lot of dormant feeling in Luke.  Jealousy, loss, grief? They are all there inside and the raw emotions are integrated into the characters well.  There is an element of thriller in this novel, mainly driven by the incredibly well written character's rather than events.  The tension builds throughout and there are a few little surprised in there too.  For me though, the emotional aspect of this book was something I was unprepared for but truly loved.   This is my first novel by Clare Empson and it will not be my last.  Highly recommended. 

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    Clare Empson’s second novel drew me in immediately and didn’t let go. Luke, adopted as a baby - and spurred on by the birth of his own son - meets his birth mother, Alice, for the first time. The meeting goes well, but the damage wrought by their early separation runs deeper than anyone could suspect. Luke, Hannah and baby Samuel are a lovely little family and I really didn’t want things to go wrong for them, but they were obviously going to, or there wouldn’t be a story. We move between Luke’s nar Clare Empson’s second novel drew me in immediately and didn’t let go. Luke, adopted as a baby - and spurred on by the birth of his own son - meets his birth mother, Alice, for the first time. The meeting goes well, but the damage wrought by their early separation runs deeper than anyone could suspect. Luke, Hannah and baby Samuel are a lovely little family and I really didn’t want things to go wrong for them, but they were obviously going to, or there wouldn’t be a story. We move between Luke’s narrative in the “present” (actually 2000) and Alice’s past life as an art student at the Slade in the ‘70s, when she meets and falls in love with Jacob, a beautiful but damaged young musician who draws comparisons to both Bowie and Jagger. Both Alice and Jake have survived traumatic childhoods and their bond is immediate and heartfelt. It’s more an exploration of loss and grief, and the lasting impacts of adoption on both birth parent and child. A very well written, thought provoking story which is genuinely gripping.

  27. 4 out of 5

    D.

    This is a disturbing, gripping, interesting, scarily written book that touches on the effects of adoption, and families reuniting and a whole mess of other baggage that was woven intricately into everything that was going on. A heartstopping book that I recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fiction Addition Angela

    I can’t imagine myself in the main characters Luke’s shoes. He was adopted when he was a child and when he gets into his late twenties he cannot stop thinking of his birth mother and goes to find her in secret, he doesn’t want to hurt the woman who adopted him. As a new father himself and in a solid relationship with Hannah, Luke isn’t prepared for what happens. After meeting his mother - Alice he is keen to build a relationship with her and Alice suggests that she looks after her baby grandson i I can’t imagine myself in the main characters Luke’s shoes. He was adopted when he was a child and when he gets into his late twenties he cannot stop thinking of his birth mother and goes to find her in secret, he doesn’t want to hurt the woman who adopted him. As a new father himself and in a solid relationship with Hannah, Luke isn’t prepared for what happens. After meeting his mother - Alice he is keen to build a relationship with her and Alice suggests that she looks after her baby grandson instead of hiring a nanny. When Alice bonds with his son Sam he struggles with jealousy and begins to follow her in secret and he begins to question if he can trust his mother. This is a slow paced story, lots and lots of character building which I love in a book, but not much action. I wouldn’t describe it as a thriller - although there are some twists and tumbles but it has an edge that keeps you gripped. The novel uncovers the pain adoptees must go through and is thought provoking. Clare Empsom has wrote a lovely rounded tale of how relationships in families are formed, how they can be loving, destructive, damaging and sometimes dark. Told across two different time zones the past is all about young Alice the artist and Jake her boyfriend who is a rockstar - both artists creating their way in life. The present - Luke has been searching within himself all his life for his mother and when he finds her she is only really interested in his son Samuel. Alice introduces him to his father the famous artist whose works hang in famous galleries. But soon enough we discover that there’s more to the past than meets the eye. A lovely read an exploration of mother - son relationships and how emotions run deep and literally leap of the pages. I will be following Clare Empson closely in the future. Thank you for the ARC Netgalley.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alyssia Cooke

    This is billed as a thriller mystery and yet, I didn't really think it had many elements of either in honesty. Instead what I found here was a slowly paced family drama that interweaves the present and the past in order to build up a very character and relationship centred novel. Some of this was undoubtedly done very well and Empson draws together multiple threads of complex family relationships. She is particularly adept at capturing the tensions and struggles of trying to balance an adoptive This is billed as a thriller mystery and yet, I didn't really think it had many elements of either in honesty. Instead what I found here was a slowly paced family drama that interweaves the present and the past in order to build up a very character and relationship centred novel. Some of this was undoubtedly done very well and Empson draws together multiple threads of complex family relationships. She is particularly adept at capturing the tensions and struggles of trying to balance an adoptive family and a biological one. My issue is that so much of the novel is spent on drawing these relationships that actually nothing much happens until the last few pages... even paragraphs of the book. I found the explorations of Alice's life before Luke's birth interesting enough but again, it is close to the end of the novel before they really add anything to the novel and there seemed to be a huge amount of filler that I just didn't care about. I'd realise they were going on about art or music again and switch off, skimming paragraphs until we got somewhere more interesting again. Luke's narrative held less of this for me, although there were still moments. I suspect the reasons that I found the present narrative with Luke more captivating are twofold; firstly, the complex relationships caught me and secondly, I didn't know where it was going. I had guessed all of the 'twists' from Alice's storyline very early on - and I don't normally get plot twists, so it says that the level of predictability was higher than average. I felt that there was a real understanding of the challenges of adoption though and this was clear in the present day narrative however. Luke's relationships with both his parents are complex and his underlying sense of abandonment show in various aspects of his personality and behaviour. His own new fatherhood is an excellent example of this and he is clearly terrified of his own son feeling any of the same fears. So it's a bit of a mixed bag here. There are some really heartfelt moments and some touching truisms. The reflections on the nature of relationships and family are honest and real. Her views on mental health are distinctly black and white though, with an all or nothing approach to breakdowns. So whilst the very real dangers of serious mental health illnesses are depicted well, the slow decline and borderline are not. I just found the historical aspects overtook the more pressing modern day challenges. And the ending was so very blunt and truncated that it lost the real power it should have had. That said, I'll be looking for more of this authors work. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a free ARC of this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    my bookworm life

    I ordered this one after reading the authors previous book 'Him' , which i did really enjoy, it wasn't the fastest paced book i've ever read but it was gripping and had an ending that broke my heart a little. So i was expecting more along the same lines here, from the premise it sounded interesting so i thought i'd give it a go. Similar to that previous book, it has a lot of backstory building, which is fine but with this book i found it to be quite dull!, just for me personally i didn't care th I ordered this one after reading the authors previous book 'Him' , which i did really enjoy, it wasn't the fastest paced book i've ever read but it was gripping and had an ending that broke my heart a little. So i was expecting more along the same lines here, from the premise it sounded interesting so i thought i'd give it a go. Similar to that previous book, it has a lot of backstory building, which is fine but with this book i found it to be quite dull!, just for me personally i didn't care that much about the characters so therefore i didn't care about what had happened to them previously. I found that having so much heavy focus on the characters birth mother, and her past, which just wasn't exciting for me at all and seemed to repeat itself far too much for my liking, i then became fed up and bored by the overall story. The biggest thing that annoyed me here was how much focus was on building up that story, the tension was trying to build up , but that failed for me, so it's ticking along,,,,still ticking along,,,,and then suddently, right near the end there is a twist, a traumatic event that happens, that affects all the characters, but it is literally just encased in one single line! , so you wait all that time and in a flash, blink and you'll miss it, it's over. That really annoyed me, i was hoping for a much more satisfying ending and reveal, with previous book 'Him' the pay off is much much better! and the twist really got me, and i loved it! it was really emotional and just done brilliantly, but with this one....not so much. Also what i do find weird, with this and with previous book, is the cover! , the cover to me screams thriller, the black cover with that pop of bold colourful text and a simple image, that's got thriller all over it, and the premise plus the tagline on the front, still seems thriller! (especially with 'Him'!) , so i think that's really misleading, these are more just Dramas than anything, typical of what you would see on an ITV1 tv show. I do like the writing, but for me it's just the content that lets it down. Sadly i won't rush to buy the next book by this author, especially as this one was very pricey for a paperback (£14.99!).

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