When You Were Mine by Kate Hewitt

Blog tour: 19 to 21 October 2020


‘Dylan …’ I croak, but my little boy doesn’t even look at me. ‘Dylan!’ My voice is louder now, and my gaze stays locked with my son’s as the car pulls away from the curb and drives away, taking my very life with her.

Single mother Beth loves her seven-year-old son Dylan with all her heart. He’s her world. So when a terrible series of events lead Dylan to be taken into foster care, she is determined to do whatever she can to get him back.

Mother of two, Ally has always dreamed of fostering – it feels like her chance to give back when she has been so lucky in life. But when Dylan joins their family, Ally finds herself struggling to balance his needs with those of her own children and husband – something Beth can’t help but witness when she visits.

Beth wants nothing more than to find a way to bring her beloved child home. But when she also sees Dylan bonding with Ally, she has to ask herself – where is the right home for Dylan? She wants to believe it is with her … But does a mother always know what’s best for her child?

A beautiful, powerful and ultimately hopeful story of the heartbreaking power of a mother’s love, for fans of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

My review

With their children soon to fly the nest – Emma, 18, is headed to college and Josh, 16, is a junior in high school – Ally, 46, and Nick Fielding decide to look into fostering. They attend a 10-week course and, before they know, it have been allocated a child called Dylan.

Beth McBride is a single mum to seven-year-old Dylan. She has no family support, few friends and Dylan’s dad no longer sees him. Her son is selectively mute and has behavioural and anxiety issues. Beth loves Dylan desperately but their relationship is rather intense, obsessive and unhealthy and she’s terrified of him having tantrums and screaming in public. He often has meltdowns if he’s in an unfamiliar place so Beth restricts what they do and keeps to certain routines and places like the library, parks and the supermarket. He hasn’t attended preschool or kindergarten and doesn’t go to school either.

One particularly trying day, Dylan has a screaming episode in a shop over sweets and Beth shouts at him and grabs his arm. Someone phones the hotline for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF), whose radar the family have been on since Dylan was two when his father, Marco, called them and asked for a ‘voluntary relinquishment’ of his son. Susan from DCF speaks to Beth about what has been happening over the past five years and decides that she needs help and Beth reluctantly agrees to give up her son for a fostering placement for three months.

When Ally and Nick take on Dylan’s care, life is going well for the family with Emma about to start at Harvard and Josh doing well at high school, especially at sports. They own a beautiful house and have good jobs – Nick is a financial analyst for a large insurance company and Ally works as a part-time bookkeeper. Before long, cracks start to appear and soon their perfect life is anything but. Looking after Dylan is challenging and hard work, and most of his care seems to fall to Ally, but it seems easy compared to the other problems that the family face.

Having some time away from her son is really distressing for Beth but gives her the chance to evaluate her relationship with Dylan and others. They’ve had an isolated existence, which hasn’t been healthy for either of them. Beth has sacrificed her own life, relationships and friendships to look after Dylan and something needed to give because it’s no existence for either mother or son.

The story is told in alternating chapters, from the viewpoints of Beth and Ally, and we really get to know both women and their innermost thoughts and feelings. I felt for Beth and later Ally as her own life imploded. They’re both trying to do their best but, for differing reasons, things don’t work out and the women are struggling to hold their lives together. They’ve been put on opposing sides as carers of Dylan and neither of them is sure how to react around the other – you can feel their tension and unease, and Beth’s hostility and hurt.

Beth wants her son back but feels completely disengaged from Dylan and like she’s not good enough to take care of him. Ally is worried about her own family and is shocked how things have deteriorated over a matter of months.

Overall, I really enjoyed When You Were Mine – it’s an emotional and heart-wrenching read and the story develops well, with some surprising revelations. It’s engaging and sensitively written and I really cared about all the characters, especially Beth and Ally. I was rooting for them both to have a happy ending but wasn’t sure if that would be possible for either. It’s a gripping and thought-provoking novel and I was keen to find out how it was all going to be resolved.

This is the first book of the author’s that I’ve read but I’ve got a few of her others on my Kindle and will definitely be checking them out soon.

Buy the book

When You Were Mine by Kate Hewitt can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, and as an eBook from KoboiBooks and Google.

About the author

Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.

Twitter: @author_kate
Facebook: @KateHewittAuthor
Instagram: @katehewitt1
Website: http://kate-hewitt.com

Blog tour

Thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bookouture for my digital copy of When You Were Mine and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s