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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Review - Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin

Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin was one of those books that turned out to be every bit as beautiful on the inside as the gorgeous cover was on the outside. What can only be described as a truly sensational debut novel, it’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was quite as powerful and emotional as this one. There’s no doubt in my mind that the story told within Before You Were Mine is one that will stay with me for a long time yet to come. 

At the young age of fourteen Eli gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who upon being born was quickly taken from Eli’s arms and put up for adoption with Eli getting little say in the matter. With a family that’s ashamed of her and a community that doesn’t try to hide its disappointment, Eli lives a lonely existence until she marries Tommy at the age of seventeen. As thirty years go by in which Eli tries desperately hard to rebuild her life and enjoy her marriage to Tommy, she is never quite able to forget about her daughter. So when, one day, she bumps into a woman who she’s certain is her daughter in a grocery store, Eli can’t wait to tell Tommy all about it but he’s not convinced. As things then start to spiral out of control, just what will the outcome be? 

Having got through so much on her own at such a young age, one thing that can most definitely be said about Eli is that she was an incredibly strong character who I had a great deal of respect for from the start. As the novel progressed and I became heavily involved with Eli’s story I found my heart breaking for her on more than one occasion and couldn’t quite believe the horrific way in which she was treated by her own family, including her parents. I desperately wanted Eli to find both the peace and happiness that she so desperately deserved and took comfort in the fact that she had someone as kind and supportive as Tommy by her side. Tommy and Eli were certainly two wonderfully created characters who both worked perfectly together and helped to make this novel as fabulous as it was.  

Whilst it took me a little while to get to grips with the way in which the characters spoke throughout Before You Were Mine, I have to say that I thought Before You Were Mine was superbly written. As a book that dealt with so many themes in an incredibly sensitive manner, Em Muslin really manages to draw the reader into the heart of the story and created something that was truly unforgettable.  

With a fabulous lead character who you can’t help but care about, Before You Were Mine was a novel that not only pulled at my heartstrings but was also captivating and breathtaking. Told from a new voice in women’s fiction, I found this to be a highly accomplished debut novel that has left me feeling very certain that this is just the start of a fabulous writing career for Em. I’ll certainly be looking forward to her next book!