24 March 2010

Book Review: What's Yours Is Mine by Tess Stimson

Although they are sisters, Grace and Susannah have never really been close. Susannah was always sickly as a child and consequently had the constant attention of their mother much to Grace's chagrin. Grace, however, worked hard and was determined to make her father proud of her. She managed to do so, and is now happily married to Tom, and the pair have everything they could dream of. Everything, that is, except a baby.

Grace resents Susannah for the way she has treated her own 2 children, and the fact she's never been a proper mother to them. Susannah sees the opportunity to get the power back from her wealth and successful sister by giving her the one thing in the world that she wants - a baby. But as they say, you can choose your friends, not your family. What happens when the sisters start to clash again, will Susannah keep the balance of power in her favour or is Grace determined to trump her sister once and for all?

I came across Tess Stimson's work when I first read her superb book The Cradle Snatcher last year. I loved how edgy and dark it was compared to some other chick lit out there, so when I was offered a chance to get a copy of this, I jumped at it and eagerly sat to devour it one evening. The gorgeous pink and black cover is incredibly striking and would definitely make me want to pick a copy up off the shelf, and I think it looks a little different to other covers in the genre too. As with The Cradle Snatcher, some of the themes and ideas in this book are dark but they make for extremely gripping reading, and I just couldn't put it down once I'd started!

The story begins by introducing us to the sisters that are Grace and Susannah. I really liked Grace at first - she is successful, happily married but desperate to be a mother. I feel Stimson captures her despair at not being able to have a child perfectly, and the way this is handled in the book is really good and quite touching in parts. We aren't told much about why the sisters are on such bad terms until quite a way into the book so its a bit of a mystery but I enjoyed this because I was eager to uncover what happened between them to make the situation so bad. Susannah on the other hand is a character I really didn't like but warmed to her throughout the book and by the end, I really did like her character.

The way the relationship and the story between the sisters unfolds is really intriguing and I love the mysterious feel that Stimson manages to keep throughout the novel. Just when you think you have guessed what is coming next, something else suddenly pops up and has the book hurtling in a completely different direction.What I loved a lot about this book was the writing style. Stimson writes from the viewpoints of mainly Grace and Susannah, although there are a couple of other chapters narrated by others too. As well as the alternate narration, the two narrations overlap to show the scenario from both sides and this makes it so interesting because it puts such a different spin on it, and I love this about Stimson's work.

The whole feel of the book is very dark, so don't be fooled by its beautiful pink and black cover! It's definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing, there are some dark scenes in there and theme of surrogacy and adoption isn't what you'd be led to believe, and I loved the twists and turns along the way. I also really loved how my feelings for both Grace and Susannah change so much throughout the book according to what was happening, and this is because of Stimson's fantastic writing. By the end, I felt like I'd been on an emotional roller coaster with these characters and I think it all ended perfectly for how the book had gone.

If you enjoy your chick lit with a bit of an edge, then make sure you get a copy of What's Yours Is Mine by Tess Stimson. I loved the characters, the story that kept hurtling in different directions and the brilliant writing of Stimson which holds the thing together with ease. I really didn't want to stop reading whenever I picked it up because I knew if I put it down I'd be missing out on something exciting, and often I was right! The pink cover is gorgeous, but don't think it's going to be a girlie love story because it certainly isn't - it's much more than that and I adored it. As you can tell, I highly recommend it, and think it's a superb read.

Rating: 5/5


  1. Natalie Phillips3 April 2010 at 16:08

    I read the cradle snatcher and really enjoyed the fact that it was a bit darker so sounds like I should give this one a go too! Will add it to my wish list and let you know what I think!

  2. Loved, Loved this book !!
    Once you start reading you just cannot put it down - A great story and the fact it is a shade on the dark side - not the norm happy go lucky chit lit - it was fab !
    Have now started to read Tess Stimson other books and they too are great - go read this book.