What is this about?: One day, a woman, Isabelle, walks into Stella’s office and by the time she leaves, Stella is convinced she is her kidnapped daughter. What proceeds to happen is an exploration of the effects of this on three women: Stella, Isabelle and Isabelle’s mother, Kersten.
What else is this about?: This will leave you guessing as to who to believe. It plays on a mother’s love for her children, that she should know who her child is above all else.
Where is the line between hope and madness?
Three women: one who believes she has found her long lost daughter, one terrified she’s about to lose her child, and one determined to understand who she truly is.
Stella Widstrand is a psychotherapist, a happily married mother to a thirteen-year-old son. But when a young woman named Isabelle steps into her clinic to begin therapy, Stella’s placid life begins to crumble. She is convinced that Isabelle is her daughter, Alice. The baby that tragically disappeared more than twenty years ago on a beach during a family vacation. Alice is believed to have drowned, but her body was never found. Stella has always believed that Alice is alive, somewhere–but everyone around her worries she’s delusional. Could this be Alice?
Stella will risk everything to answer that question, but in doing so she will set in motion a sequence of events beyond her control, endangering herself and everyone she loves.
Tell Me You’re Mine begins when Stella’s life changes the day Isabelle walks into her office. She becomes convinced her new client is actually her long-presumed-dead daughter, Alice. Twenty years ago Stella got pregnant very young, and gave birth to Alice with her boyfriend. One day, while they were out on a holiday trip, Alice disappeared.
Stella was thought to have done something to Alice, but after an investigation, Alice was presumed dead. Her relationship with Alice’s father, Daniel, broke down and life went on. Stella married, and became a successful therapist, with a 13-year-old son.
Then Isabelle happens. And her mother, Kerstin.
The author does an excellent job of weaving a story around these women that makes you question everything about them. There is an undercurrent of melancholy in the book that emanates from Stella has she so desperately wants Isabelle to be Alice. Her grief is palpable, and while you may question if she is actually losing her mind, readers will never question her grief for her daughter, or her longing. Stella has never believed that Alice was dead, and is established as an unreliable narrator when previously, she thought someone else was Alice.
Isabelle is re-evaluating her life and her relationship with her parents thanks to the revelations after her father’s death. Her mother Kerstin is controlling, or overbearing, and Isabelle needs help to be able to deal with her and how things have changed in her life post her father’s death — that’s why she goes to Stella for help.
Kerstin is afforded a POV in the book too, but mostly towards the end. On the one hand, it kind of heightens the uncertainty of the relationship between Stella and Isabelle, but on the other, I thought it could have used more of her in the beginning.
The author draws three very different women well, fleshing them out in order to make readers wonder about who is telling the truth and who isn’t. About who is in danger, and who is dangerous.