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.
Goodreads Rating: 3.82 stars with over 4,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Romance, World War II
Get the Book: Amazon, Book Depository
Book Challenge: Pop Sugar Book Challenge A book published in 2016, book 8 out of 40
First things first, Happy Mother's days to all the Moms and Moms to be out there! While You Were Mine ended up being an oddly fitting book to read on Mother's day, even if I'm not a mother myself.
I was in need of a short Historical Fiction this weekend, and While You Were Mine fulfilled that desire. Ultimately, I was hooked the second it gave a story to the woman in the photograph "V-J Day in Times Square" by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The iconic photo is one of my favorites, and as a Photography and History lover, I was guaranteed to be hooked.
I thought that Gwen was a strong character. I like that even though she was the godly woman who took in an abandoned child, she also had her flaws. I felt like I got to experience her grow into becoming an actual mother. I feel that Ann Howard Creel did a great job of transitioning her care of Mary from Obligation to Love. I loved Dot, Lisen, and Geoff. Lisen and Geoff seemed like this pseudo aunt and uncle of this broken family. Dot was such a sassy thing, and I was so sad to read about her trouble with Dennis. Alice was utterly vile, which I'm assuming was the intended characteristic. I just wanted Gwen to stop being so nice for a second and give Alice hell. Luckily, Dot was there to help in this area. I wish that John would have been depicted in a more flawed light. I hate when characters come across as too dreamy and perfect. It's not realistic at all. Even in his worst moment in the book, it was hard to hate him because he felt like he was truly doing the right thing.
The biggest downfall of this book is the predictability. At no point and time was I surprised. You knew exactly what was going to happen before it happened. Despite that, I still cried like a baby at the ending. I'm a sap. Unfortunately, because of the predictability, I wasn't completely enamored with it. I was hooked, wanted to read it, but didn't have this need not to put it down. It was a good Sunday read while I avoid doing productive things.