Susi Fox: Mine
Published By: Penguin
Buy It: here
What The Blurb Says:
You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, dying to see your child.
But when you are shown the infant, you just know . . .
This baby is not yours.
No one believes you.
They say you’re delusional, confused, dangerous.
But you’re a doctor . . .
Do you trust yourself?
Because you know only one thing – You must find your baby.
What I Say:
Many Thanks to Sam Deacon at Penguin for a review copy of Mine, in exchange for an honest review and for a chance to participate in the Mine Blog Tour.
At the moment, when you go to buy a book, you are faced with a wall of psychological thrillers. Books that promise you have never read anything like it, that you will never work out the twist, that this is the book everyone will be talking about. I have to admit, that sometimes I have felt completely overwhelmed by the choice and come away empty handed.
Mine is a psychological thriller, but I promise you, from one book lover to another, it is a novel you absolutely should read. It plays on every mother’s deepest fear, makes you wary of the authenticity of every character, and the intense claustrophobic atmosphere means you question every chapter as you hurtle towards the conclusion.
Sasha and Mark Moloney have been trying for a child for a long time. They have endured miscarriages and the need to have a child has placed their marriage under immense strain. Her pregnancy is tinged with sadness, as Sasha admits she was considering leaving Mark just before she discovered she was pregnant again. From the start, you sense that Sasha feels somewhat trapped in her marriage, and that the desire for a successful pregnancy is the only strand holding them together.
The narrative switches from past to present, interweaving key points in Sasha and Mark’s life with the unfolding drama in the hospital. I liked this device as it helped build up a real picture of how Sasha and Mark got to this point, and how their lives and experiences made them who they are today. I also thought that this was a subtle way of quietly unnerving the reader, shifting our sympathies back and forth – quite simply because we are never really sure of who really is telling the truth.
When Mark and Sasha go out for a drive, they swerve to avoid hitting a kangaroo and Sasha goes into labour. She is 35 weeks pregnant, and has to have an emergency caesarean, which means she is no longer following her own birth plans, and instead is reliant on the decisions of others around her.
As Sasha comes round after her operation, Mark is not there – and nor is her baby. Disorientated and unconscious during birth, she now has to battle with Ursula (a truly ferocious and unfeeling nurse), to go and see her child in the Special Care Unit. Susi Fox is masterful at conveying Sasha’s bewilderment coupled with the stifling atmosphere of the Hospital wards – where the heating is permanently turned up and the windows are barely open. There is definitely a sense of Sasha being trapped throughout the novel and that every sense is exaggerated as she becomes increasingly isolated.
As she finally sees her son for the first time, she is sure of one thing.
The baby in the crib is not her child.
Sasha tells everyone – and no one believes her. It is every mother’s nightmare, and an interesting theme that runs throughout Mine – that the concerns Sasha have, are refuted by those in authority. Her protestations are interpreted as the ramblings of a woman who must have mental health issues, because her mother did, as oppose to a mother who unwaveringly knows she has the wrong child.
What adds a deeper level to Mine, is that Sasha is also a pathologist, aware of hospital procedures and that this hospital is not blame free. Previous mistakes have been made here, and as she looks on Google, the chilling reality that babies have been mistakenly swapped all over the world makes her believe she has the evidence she needs.
Sasha faces the fight of her life, as Mark still desperately tries to convince her she has given birth to a son, and that he is lying in the crib next to her.
Sasha knows only one person will believe her, and she turns to Bec, the friend she grew up with, the daughter of Lucia, the woman who stepped in to raise Sasha after her own mother apparently disappeared.
We learn that Sasha and Bec’s relationship has become increasingly strained as both struggled to conceive. When Sasha most recently became pregnant, Bec distanced herself, and now Sasha knows she must get through to her to get one person on her side. It is due to Bec’s unwavering belief in Sasha’s intuition, and her advice that in order to find her child, she must play the hospital game, that we see Sasha admitted to the Mother and Baby Psychiatric Unit in the hospital.
In order to prove herself, and leave the Unit, she has to convince anyone who matters that they are right and she is wrong. Sasha has to be the perfect patient to discover the truth, and find out what has really happened to the baby she gave birth to. Of course, as any book lover knows, I am not going to tell you what happens – you need to read Mine!
Mine is a stunning novel, delving into the highly emotional issues of birth, motherhood, and the age old question of when it comes to our own children, who is really the expert? It is not an easy read at times, and as it moves towards its conclusion, the scenes are often intense and shocking, but this only served to increase the unfolding drama and tension.
Why? Because Susi Fox really makes you care about what happens to Sasha and her child. You understand the frustration and panic that she feels, the fact that she is fighting with every bone in her body for her child, and that processes and procedures mean more than the instinct she has. I also felt that Mark, who should have been a pillar of strength and the one person she can rely on, lets her down in every single way.
I thought that the other characters such as Ursula, Bec and Brigitte were perfect in their pitch and not a single scene was wasted. It was interesting to see that even when people are placed in an non-judgemental environment which is meant to be one of healing and recovery, we are all plagued by the notion that we have to keep up the facade of proving how perfect we are, be it as a professional, partner or mother. To admit defeat, to ask for help is seen as a sign of weakness and a sense that we have failed.
Mine is a fast paced, clever and thoughtful examination of the lengths that we will go to for our children. It is brilliantly written, perfect in its execution and I finished it in two days.
Susi Fox has written a psychological thriller that shakes you to your core and doesn’t let you forget it. I was still thinking about Mine long after I finished it, and I know you will be too.
I loved it.
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