While You Were Mine

Written by Ann Howard Creel
Review by Amy Watkin

It’s the end of World War II and nurse Gwen Mullen is enjoying the V-J Day celebrations on the streets of New York City, even stopping for an unexpected kiss from a stranger that would become a famous photograph. But, when Gwen arrives home, she finds that the life she’d carved out for herself during the war is threatened. Gwen’s roommate, Alice, had left her tiny baby with Gwen and now, a year later, after Gwen has grown to love the baby as her own, Alice’s husband returns for his child. Lieutenant John McKee was in a POW camp and must now learn what it means to be a father, as Gwen learns when to let go of what she cares about most, and how to hold on to what she cannot live without.

Creel writes with detail and sensitivity that make the characters and 1940s New York City shine through some truly heartbreaking moments. The book is not a suspense thriller, but I honestly had no idea how it would end and wasn’t even sure what I wished would happen. I was rooting for all of the characters and didn’t know how to reconcile my thoughts when characters’ wishes were at odds with each other. I hung on every word and loved the ride.