Be Mine by Laura Kasischke

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Be Mine by Laura Kasischke

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Sherry, suburban soccer mom to a now grown up son feels something in her life is missing, and when an anonymous love note is left in her pigeon hole, she embarks on a deadly mission to uncover the writer's identity.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: June 2007
Publisher: Pan Books
ISBN: 978-0330449281

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On Valentine's Day, Sherry receives a mysterious note from an anonymous admirer. Be Mine it says. Nothing more, just that offer (or threat?): Be Mine. Not used to such attentions, Sherry shrugs it off, and even takes it home to show her husband, where they laugh over what sorry soul might have sent it. But, when Valentine's Day is over, and the notes continue, the couple get more intrigued and become entrapped in a game of Guess Who, trying to establish the identity of the notes' writer. And, with her husband's confusing approval, Sherry starts to pursue the person who they think is the culprit.

There are lots of books out there about admirers, love notes, unrequited love - it's something that sells because it's something people like to read about. But, this book takes that story and adds a thrilling and at times down-right dangerous edge. Sherry, for example, is not a young woman, used to admirers. She is middle aged and living in middle America, two things which don't conjure up too many thoughts of illicit affairs in my mind. She isn't a receptionist or a secretary or a hairdresser either - she's a respected college professor. She has a son, Chad, who is now himself away at college, and has been happily married to Jon for 20 years. In between running the family home, she cares for her elderly father who is becoming increasingly unwell. When you think of people embarking on affairs, either physically or just mentally, the word "secret" tends to spring to mind, but again, that is not the case here. From the first note, Jon is as much involved in what is going on as Sherry is, and that adds a dynamic, sometimes dark spin to the whole thing.

At first I though the story was going to be so predictable it would make me cringe. Everything seemed to be pointing to a certain person being the author of those notes - there were a couple of characters who initially seemed to be there just so one of them could be the culprit and the other a red herring, but as the story progresses, there are twists you could just not imagine, turns you could never predict, and an ending which is shocking yet delicious.

I love books like this. It is beautifully written, with so many threads to it it feels like a tapestry, especially when you note how the unraveling of one leads to the tugging on another. The interwoven, overlapping nature of all Sherry's relationships - with her husband, her son, her students, her colleagues, her neighbours, herself - is complex but not unbearably so, and not in a way that makes the story impossible to follow. I like the way all aspects of the book are balanced, so instead of being an erotic novel, or a mystery book, or some chick lit piece, it manages to be all of these things. The language used and is enough to make me urge you to read the book before watching the film which is no doubt already on its way. This book reminded me of The Abortionist's Daughter which I would also highly recommend, and it's interesting to me that neither that nor this were the respective US authors' first novels, just the first to get wide publicity in the UK.

Ultimately, this is a book about fantasies, and what happens when a fantasy becomes a reality, and though nothing may beat your own personal fantasies, reading about someone else's can come a close second.

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan, the publishers, for sending this to The Bookbag.

The Girls and My Sister's Keeper might also appeal if this book sounds good to you.

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Buy Be Mine by Laura Kasischke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Be Mine by Laura Kasischke at


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Magda said:

The people who designed the cover must be really good, because it looked bit menacing to me even though nothing in the tag line or title made that suggestion!