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Amazon synopsis: “Everything she loved could so easily be lost.
The end of World War II should have brought joy to Gwen Mullen. But on V-J Day, her worst fear is realized. As celebrating crowds gather in Times Square, a soldier appears on her doorstep to claim Mary, the baby abandoned to Gwen one year earlier. Suddenly Gwen is on the verge of losing the child she has nurtured and loves dearly.
With no legal claim to Mary, Gwen begins to teach Lieutenant John McKee how to care for his child, knowing that he will ultimately take Mary away. What starts as a contentious relationship, however, turns into something more, and Gwen must open her heart to learn that love means taking chances.
While You Were Mine paints a vivid portrait of 1940s New York and tells an enchanting tale of the nature of love and trust.”
Length and medium: 301 pages, Kindle ebook
Published by Lake Union Publishing (April 1, 2016)
It’s been a few months since Kirby and I connected our Amazon accounts with Amazon Household. Before that, I feared I wouldn’t be able to still get my one free book a month through the Amazon First Reads program.
In my panic, I had Kirby sign into the Kindle Fire he got me so I could use his account to get new books. Apparently, when you register a Kindle to a Prime account, you get five free books. While You Were Mine is one of the books I picked based completely on genre and book cover (it’s really hard not to judge a book by its cover, but good advice when talking about people).
I’m always happy when a book surprises me and this one completely blew me out of the water. I did not expect to love this book so much. When I finish reading a book on my phone or Kindle, it usually asks me to review it right away and I don’t usually feel too interested in writing a review that second. I have to think it over and try to remember what I liked and disliked. Strangely, it didn’t pop up when I finished this book and I was so mad because I had so many wonderful thoughts.
Kirby got so tired of me talking about this book while I was reading it, I had to turn my enthusiasm to a coworker and explained the entire book to her. Spoilers and all because as much as I want her to read it, I know she won’t get to it soon enough if ever. I finished the book just before my shift and just felt like I was stuck in a book hangover until I could unload all of my feelings on someone.
Let me start with Gwen who is phenomenal, incredible, so strong, and amazing I strive to be this great in my daily life. She is a saint and should be treated as such! Gwen is just this regular woman, escaping her farm life as a nurse in New York City during WWII. She is thrown into motherhood after her roommate, Alice, takes off, leaving her six weeks old daughter with Gwen.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Why doesn’t she just drop the kid off at the fire station and live life? This is where the beauty of the writing comes in. Ann Howard Creel really helps to paint the picture of the time period and explains that there are children abandoned in the city every day. Gwen didn’t want this baby to suffer and she couldn’t make sure it would be probably taken care of if not by her.
This is how Gwen finds herself raising a baby that isn’t hers when the war ends and Alice’s husband comes looking for her. When John can’t find his wife, he’s determined to have his baby but doesn’t want to cause undue stress. Gwen and John end up on these sweet dates with the baby, trying to get baby Mary accustomed to her father to make the transition less painful.
The cast is amazing and the plot twists are half expected but also unexpected if that makes sense. I was truly enticed to read every free moment I got. I liked that the author took the time to really paint the scenes and explain Gwen’s thought process. Even when I didn’t agree with Gwen, I understood how she made her decision.
I’d recommend this book to any romance fans. I think I also loved this book because of the time period. There is just something about WWII that I love. I have to find more novels about this time period and hopefully I stumble across more like this.
If you’re interested, get the book here.
Do you have any favorite books about WWII? Or what’s your favorite oddly specific subgenre of books?