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You Were Always Mine: A Novel
The acclaimed authors of the “emotional literary roller coaster” (The Washington Post) and Good Morning America book club pick We Are Not Like Them return with this moving and provocative novel about a Black woman who finds an abandoned white baby, sending her on a collision course with her past, her family, and a birth mother who doesn’t want to be found.
Cinnamon Haynes has fought hard for a life she never thought was possible—a good man by her side, a steady job as a career counselor at a local community college, and a cozy house in a quaint little beach town. It may not look like much, but it’s more than she ever dreamed of or what her difficult childhood promised. Her life’s mantra is to be good, quiet, grateful. Until something shifts and Cinnamon is suddenly haunted by a terrifying question: “Is this all there is?”
Daisy Dunlap has had her own share of problems in her nineteen years on earth—she also has her own big dreams for a life that’s barely begun. Her hopes for her future are threatened when she gets unexpectedly pregnant. Desperate, broke, and alone, she hides this development from everyone close to her and then makes a drastic decision with devastating consequences.
Daisy isn’t the only one with something to hide. When Cinnamon finds an abandoned baby in a park and takes the blonde-haired, blue-eyed newborn into her home, the ripple effects of this decision risk exposing the truth about Cinnamon’s own past, which she’s gone to great pains to portray as idyllic to everyone…even herself.
As Cinnamon struggles to contain old demons, navigate the fault lines that erupt in her marriage, and deal with the shocking judgments from friends and strangers alike about why a woman like her has a baby like this, her one goal is to do right by the child she grows more attached to with each passing day. It’s the exact same conviction that drives Daisy as she tries to outrun her heartache and reckon with her choices.
These two women, unlikely friends and kindred spirits must face down their secrets and trauma and unite for the sake of the baby they both love in their own unique way when Daisy’s grandparents, who would rather die than see one of their own raised by a Black woman, threaten to take custody.
Once again, these authors bring their “empathetic, riveting, and authentic” (Laura Dave, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling to an unforgettable novel that revolves around provocative and timely questions about race, class, and motherhood. Is being a mother a right, an obligation, or a privilege? Who gets to be a mother? And to whom? And what are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of marriage, friendship, and our dreams?
About the Author
Christine Pride is a writer, editor, and longtime publishing veteran. She’s held editorial posts at many different trade imprints, including Doubleday, Broadway, Crown, Hyperion, and Simon & Schuster. As an editor, Christine has published a range of books, with a special emphasis on inspirational stories and memoirs, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. As a freelance editorial consultant, she does select editing and proposal/content development, as well as teaching and coaching, and pens a regular column—“Race Matters”—for Cup of Jo. She lives in New York City.
Jo Piazza is a bestselling author, podcast creator, and award-winning journalist. She is the national and international bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels and nonfiction books including We Are Not Like Them, Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, The Knockoff, and How to Be Married. Her work has been published in ten languages in twelve countries and four of her books have been optioned for film and television. A former editor, columnist, and travel writer with Yahoo, Current TV, and the Daily News (New York), her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York magazine, Glamour, Elle, Time, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast, and Slate. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in economics and communication, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a master’s in religious studies from New York University.
"The work of Jo Piazza and Christine Pride sits squarely at the tender intersection of race, class, and ethics—wrapped in beautiful prose and a killer plot that keeps you turning the pages. Before you begin You Were Always Mine, ask yourself why you often see white foster parents with Black kids...but rarely the other way around. What makes a family? Who has the right to raise a child? Does race matter more than love or security? And perhaps most important of all—why don't we feel comfortable asking these questions? This novel will spark one of many conversations America should be having." —JODI PICOULT, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mad Honey
"I picked up this book on a Sunday morning and could do nothing else until I finished it that evening. Tender, provocative, thoughtful—I was invested in this story from the very first page." —KATE BAER, New York Times bestselling author of I Hope This Finds You Well
“A touching, deeply thoughtful meditation on motherhood, race, chosen family and the many forms of love that make up the lives of women. Cinnamon’s love for her adopted daughter and her willingness to challenge age-old structures of power in order to provide the love she so desperately craved in her own childhood is a reminder that in attempting to rescue others, we are sometimes able to save ourselves.” —ASHA LEMMIE, New York Times bestselling author of Fifty Words for Rain
"Like their first joint venture, We Are Not Like Them (2021), the authors' latest is both a nuanced portrait of female kinship and a wider look at American society. It reads like your favorite show, offering entertaining escapism and satisfying cultural criticism all at once." —Booklist (starred review)
"Pride and Piazza ask hard questions about race and what it means to be a mother." —Kirkus