WHILE YOU WERE MINE
The end of WWII should have brought joy to Gwen Mullen. But on that day, her worst fear is realized. As celebrating crowds gather in Times Square, a soldier appears on her doorstep to claim the baby abandoned to Gwen by the child’s distraught mother one year earlier. Suddenly Gwen is on the verge of losing Mary, whom she has raised and dearly loves.
John wants to be a dedicated father to Mary and take her away from the city, but he needs help. With no legal claim to Mary, Gwen begins to teach him how to care for the daughter he’s never known. What started as a contentious relationship, however, turns into something more, and before she can find her place in the post-war world, Gwen must learn that life and love mean taking chances.
While You Were Mine paints a vivid portrait of 1940s New York and tells an enchanting tale of the nature of love and trust.
A great book club pick!
A love story set against the backdrop of World War II New York City
Questions for Discussion
1. War is a thread woven throughout this novel. How does it affect the characters' lives and influence their decisions with regard to love and marriage?
2. When John and Gwen first meet, they appear to be on opposing sides of a heartfelt dilemma. How were they able to overcome this and trust each other?
3. Alice is painted as a complex, troubled woman. Did you experience any sympathy for her? If so, why?
4. Dennis, too, is portrayed as a complicated and damaged man. Did you experience any sympathy for him? If so, why?
5. Why are Gwen and Dot able to become such close friends over a short period of time? How are they alike and unlike?
6. John and Gwen fall in love in part because of their mutual love for Mary. Did you find this element of the story plausible?
7. The novel brings into question the idea of true motherhood. Gwen is the constant maternal presence in Mary's life for over a year. How would you describe the true essence of motherhood?
8. In the beginning, Dot is painted as a strong and independent woman. What factors do you think played parts in her sudden and uncharacteristic decisions after she meets Dennis?
9. Forgiveness is another theme woven into this novel. Is Gwen right to forgive John in the end? What do you think you would've done in the same situation?
10. What did you learn from this novel about World War II and its effects on the home front?