Sometimes hope has a way of changing everything…
Just hours after giving birth, Eli Bell is forced to give up her newborn baby daughter for adoption. Devastated, she tries desperately to rebuild her shattered life.
Then, over thirty years later, Eli catches sight of her daughter. And she knows that she must do everything to find a way back into her life. Even if it means lying…
While her husband Tommy must grow to accept his own part in the events of her early life, he can only try to save her before her obsession with the young woman ruins them both.
Don’t miss the breathtaking debut Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin! Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Anne Tyler, Joyce Carol Oates.
What does TWG think?
99.9% of the time I don’t read blurbs – but for this book, I did. My interest in this storyline was piqued straight away. Why did Eli give her baby up for adoption? What has been happening in Eli’s life between giving the baby up, and an alleged sighting of her grown-up daughter?
At the age of fourteen, Eli Bell had no say in whether her baby was put up for adoption – none whatsoever. Ever since that day, Eli’s life hasn’t been the same. Her family look at her like she has three heads. Her mother acts like she would catch something if she were to look Eli in the eye. What a way to live!
In the weeks after that alleged sighting, Eli didn’t seem to want to rest until she saw her daughter again. Unfortunately, this meant that her relationship with her husband, Tommy, was put under immense strain.
I’m a bit undecided on where my feelings lay with ‘Before You Were Mine’, as I found it quite difficult to follow. So much was happening throughout the novel, yet it wasn’t clear enough to full understand. I felt like I kept missing bits! Having said that, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Em Muslin’s book since I finished it. All I wanted to do was get Eli’s character in front of me and probe her about the situation, but obviously I can’t. I could keep up with the bare bones of the storyline, but I wanted to be able to enjoy it fully, and I feel like I couldn’t due to the inconsistent flow.
On an emotional level, and as a mother, ‘Before You Were Mine’ attacked my ovaries, attempting to make me broody. It did, I was pretty overcome with emotion due to fourteen year old Eli’s situation. Definitely a tough few chapters to swallow, even though they were powerfully written.
Even though I couldn’t quite get into the flow, I cannot fault Em Muslin on her powerful portrayal of a mother’s love. The author, in my eyes, wrote those parts with such poise and dignity, whilst still keeping it real. Yes I found it emotional, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t my favourite part due to how the author has delivered such heart-breaking scenes.
I have a hunch that ‘Before You Were Mine’ could be seen as a ‘marmite’ novel; you either love it or you hate it. BUT, whilst I didn’t hate it (nowhere near) or fall in love with it, ‘Before You Were Mine’ still made its mark on my mind and in my heart. On that point alone, Em Muslin’s debut novel has done its job.
Flow? What Flow?
About the author.
Em muslin has worked in the film and television industry for over 20 years. She first fell in love with reading and writing after experiencing Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. She hasn’t stopped devouring books ever since.
She loves words that capture an experience or emotion in a singular form: her current favourite, describing herself, isnemophilist.
Em’s writing career has included developing a script for a stage musical with Tina Turner, and writing a bitter-sweet comedy screenplay, Last Chance Saloon.
Em’s writing focuses on the texture of domestic life, relationships, family and the pressures of social convention. Her characters are often fighting to become the hero of their own story, searching for hope, despite the adversities that life inevitably brings.
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