Sasha has the perfect birthing plan, but when her baby comes earlier than expected she is given no choice but an emergency caesarean in a hospital that is not of her choosing. However, when she wakes up, her maternal instinct tells her that her baby is not hers, but who is willing to believe her?
Mine is a slow building, psychological thriller that explores the themes of motherhood and psychiatric care. It’s told in 7 days in the present timeline, supplemented with flash-backs and memories from both Sasha and her husband Mark. The book does a great job of drop-feeding you information and changing narrative perspectives in a way that makes you unsure what and who to believe. Has Sasha’s baby been swapped with another or is this just a psychotic snap brought about by post-natal depression?
Having studied psychology for A Level, I had heard of the Rosenhan experiment ‘Sane in Insane Places’ that this book references. Sane volunteers were told to give normal symptoms to psychiatric hospitals, with the addition of hearing voices saying words such as ‘thud’ or ‘empty’. All of the volunteers were admitted into psychiatric hospitals and subsequently found it extremely hard to convince staff they were ‘sane’ - all being sectioned for an average of 19 days and given prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs. This fine line between normal behaviour and insane responses is explored well in Mine and all of the reactions on both sides of the story are realistic and believable in the circumstances created.
I must admit that I am not a person who is particularly comfortable around children, having had none myself or had much interaction with them, however I completely empathised with Sasha as a character throughout. The portrayal of her desperation to have a child and her previous miscarriages were beautifully written.
My only criticism of this book is that it is very slow-moving as 7 days of present day action and flash-backs is strung out over 464 pages. Although the beginning and the end have a good pace, the middle, although full of interesting content does feel hard to power through at times.
Overall Mine is a chilling psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the very last pages, although it can be quite slow in places. I enjoyed it though and thank you to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.