She’s Mine, by A.A. Chaudhuri

Eight stars

Having read and enjoyed other books by A.A. Chaudhuri, I was eager to get my hands on this one. Usually full of great twists throughout the narrative, Chaudhuri impresses readers with the style of writing that develops thrills from the opening pages. This book proved to be a little different from the others and I could not feel the same connection developing, though I know many will flock to it, as it is told in a unique and captivating fashion.

Christine Donovan took a call that ought to have been ignored twenty years ago. While she turned away to speak, her daughter, Heidi went missing at the playground. Distraught and unsure what do do, Christine spiralled out of control. Heidi has not been seen since, though her memory lingers for Christine.

Christine and her husband, Greg, have two other children, which might be a silver lining in all of this. However, the guilt and responsibility weigh on Christine, so much so that she’s sought therapeutic help to work through the emotions of the event. Tied into it all is the secret of the phone call that had Christine turn away from Heidi, which could be devastating, should anyone else find out who was on the other end of the line.

As Christine tries to rebuild her life and make inroads with her new therapist, a note appears to offer a piece of news that will turn everyone on its head. Heidi is not dead and has been growing up with another family all this time. Who could have taken her and kept it under wraps for this long? What will Heidi feel when she comes face to face with her mother after all this time? Behind it all is a handful of truths that no one could have expected to come flooding out, as well as a chance for Christine to come to terms with everything that’s happened over the past two decades. A.A. Chaudhuri does well to keep the reader engaged and provides a few ‘aha’ moments to keep them on their toes.

I enjoy a thriller where things are less than linear, forcing the reader to pay close attention in order to follow what’s taking place. A.A. Chaudhuri does just that in this piece, addressing a number of issues across the backdrop of a long period of time. Her writing style is strong and the ideas appear to flow with ease, creating an entertaining outcome that many will enjoy. While not as stunning ad some of her past work, I did enjoy this move away from what I have come to expect.

THe story centres around Christine Donovan and all she has had to overcome, but there were many whose lives have been impacted by the kidnapping. Chaudhuri offers up numerous perspectives in the piece, enriching the reader’s experience with a number of moments whereby there is both backstory and development. Christine’s struggles, Heidi’s coming to terms with what has happened, and even the new family who raised a toddler. The emotional strains of all three of these perspectives arise in the story and keep the reader wondering how they will mesh together. Chaudhuri does well to paint her characters in such a light that it makes sense and impacts the reader quite effectively throughout the reading experience.

A strong story cannot rely simply on a few ingredients for success. Rather, there has to see something to captivate the reader from the get-go and sustain that impact throughout the experience. A.A. Chaudhuri does that well and keeps the reader guessing what is to come through a narrative that packs quite the punch. As mentioned above, there are some formidable characters that add depth and flavour to the piece, as well as plot twists that keep the reader guessing. Told through a number of perspectives, the piece offers up angled storytelling that gives a fuller and more exciting reading experience for everyone involved, which is something I truly admired. I’ll keep my eyes open for more by the author, which is sure to be a treat for me in the moving years.

Kudos, Madam Chaudhuri, on another successful piece of writing. I am eager to delve deeper into more of your work, as they are published.