Rea Frey’s latest novel hits the ground running so fast, it almost launched out of my hands. The first page doesn’t just hook you, it reaches out, grabs you by the collar, and pulls you into a desperate woman’s trek up a perilous mountainside in the dark. Because You’re Mine made my palms clammy and my heart pound—buckle up friends, this one is a wild ride.
Everyone has a secret. One woman struggles to reveal something intimate with a friend, but it’s the type of secret that alters lives and changes the course of friendships forever. Another woman has built her new life on secrets, and while it’s a good life, she is dealing with many challenges. These women love each other. They need each other. But eventually, one will destroy the other. The fun, of course, is trying to untangle the knots and figure out who is the villain and who is the victim.
Grace is an independent woman who has finally hit her stride. She’s the type of character that should have her own theme song, something she could swing her curves to as she struts down the street. After a difficult divorce from an immature husband, she has found a modicum of success as a single mom with a career and a strong support system of nurturing friends. Grace cares deeply for her friend Lee, who is less fortunate than herself and takes on a great deal of responsibility for the woman and her family. Lee’s son, Mason, holds a special place in Grace’s heart and she’d do anything for the sake of his happiness. With the best intentions, Grace asks her friend Noah to homeschool Mason. Noah proves to be the perfect fit, and while everything seems to be falling into place, the reality is that everything is about to fall apart.
Lee is recovering from more than just alcoholism—she’s recovering from a traumatic start in life. As a single mother, with a gifted son, she hustles every day to make their life work. All you working mothers out there will feel sympathy pain for sweet, troubled Lee. I cheered her on as she battled personal demons, struggled to manage her son’s tantrums, and navigated the pitfalls of running a salon out of her home. She leans on Grace for help, along with Noah, her son’s teacher. However, Lee is not at all what she seems to be…but neither is anyone.
Noah, like the other characters, wrestles with a past. He’s a wonderful teacher with a talent for reaching children with sensory issues like Lee’s son, Mason. Grace, an old friend, introduced him to Lee in the hopes that Mason would receive the best education possible. Noah quickly becomes attached to both Lee and Mason and does his best to help the child thrive. He is handsome. He is compassionate. But is he too good to be true?
Who’s writing in the journal? Cryptic journal entries tease the reader throughout the story, so much so, that I found myself in a constant state of whodunit madness. This is the sort of book that drives a person to stress eat potato chips in bed—good linens be damned! Frey crafted this story to keep her readers on the edge of their seats and turning the pages at lightning speed (or was that just me?). In the later chapters of the book, I took great pause after each journal entry to see if I could sort out the underlying mysteries and figure out where the story was going, but to no avail. The only way to figure out the complexities of Because You’re Mine is to take the story in and let it gradually unfold as you march your way to the shocking end.
If thrillers with a slow, steady burn are your thing, then get ready for one smoldering tale. Because You’re Mine will keep you guessing right up until the last page. With an immediate hook and a wonderfully paced story that reveals just enough to keep you both intrigued and desperate for more, this is the perfect book to transition from the dog days of summer into the cooler, more mysterious days of fall.