My daughter, Kelli, has been a busy reader lately. She asked if I would like her to write up a little something about her latest book and I said, YES!! The book is What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman.
“I read another book, What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman–I’m kind of stuck on her lately.
As most of her books do, this one also started off telling the tale of two girls. Each interested (eventually) in a boy, but meeting barriers. It told their stories and it seemed as though the ending of her book would follow the storyline that most of her books seemed to have (think hallmark movies), but this one surprised me and didn’t. There were many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and continued to keep my interest. Just as soon as I thought the author included a little bit of “fluff” to move the story along, the “fluff” turned into the meat and potatoes!
I’ve come to find that my favorite genre of books is historical fiction. One thing that I’ve always been fascinated with is forced sterilization. As someone who has struggled with infertility, I have longed for children when I didn’t have any. I cannot imagine the hell of someone taking that privilege away, especially given some of the circumstances in this book. And the details of it will come back in the end to absolutely astonish you.
I love the topics that Ellen Marie Wiseman chooses to include in her books as so many of them are topics that I have been interested in or intrigued by for a long time.
Here is what Amazon had to say:
The breakout novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector, What She Left Behind weaves together riveting stories of past and present, exploring the strength of women in two different times as they face adversity in two very different ways. Go inside the horrifying walls of a 1920s New York asylum as a wrongly imprisoned woman fights for what is most important to her—and meet the young woman confronting the pain and mystery of her own family’s mental illness two generations later.
Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.
Young flapper and suffragette Clara Cartwright is caught between her overbearing parents and her desire to be a modern woman. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, instead finding love with an Italian Immigrant, Clara’s father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash of 1929, he can no longer afford her care—and Clara is committed to the public asylum.
Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara’s story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother’s violent act? Piecing together Clara’s fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices—with shocking and unexpected results.
Amazon readers give the book 4.2 stars. Kelli said she thought it was a better than that.
If you’re interested you can find the book HERE.