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What She Left Behind Paperback – December 31, 2013
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"She's done it again. At this time last year, Ms. Wiseman's first novel The Plum Tree was released. It was excellent and received deservedly wonderful reviews. It is rare that a writer's follow up work is as good as their first. Such a rarity has been accomplished with What She Left Behind.
What She Left Behind screams with authenticity, depth, and understanding of human behavior and what can and has, been done to others to maintain control and image for some, while negating and hiding the lives of others."--NY Journal of Books
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Top Customer Reviews
This book bounces between the 1930's and the 1990's with parallel story lines that have you convinced early on that you have this story all figured out. I'll save you the time and energy- you're wrong, you don't have it figured out. This story is suspenseful, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at the same time, but what it is not is predictable.
Izzy and Clara are the two central characters around which a story of mental illness, loss, love, and redemption is formed. Wiseman takes us between the 30's and the 90's seamlessly and has a gift for suspense- I was left hanging at the end of many chapters and found myself scrambling to get through to find out what happened.
Neither Izzy's nor Clara's stories are exactly what they seem, and the ending held some surprises. I loved that we got to know both characters (and some other wonderful secondary characters who shine in later chapters more than in earlier chapters- but I won't give away spoilers here!), because I feel that made the ending that much more rewarding.
A wonderful sophomore effort - I can't wait until it arrives on my Kindle on December 31 so I can read it all over again! Please check this one out- you won't be disappointed.
My 88 YO mom likes romantic/suspenseful historical fiction but this wouldn't even make her cut.
The Willard State Asylum for the insane, now closed, stands near Izzy’s new foster home. It will soon be demolished, and when Izzy’s foster parents are tapped to document the patients’ lives from what they left behind – suitcases, photographs, and diaries – they ask Izzy to help. The diary of Clara Cartwright, an eighteen-year old girl committed by her parents in 1930, for little more than willfulness, provides Izzy with a heartrending window into her own mother’s struggles, and ultimately transforms the girl’s life.
Ellen Marie Wiseman has followed her best-selling debut novel, The Plum Tree, with another amazing tale of human resilience, What She Left Behind. Ms. Wiseman brings both her characters and the Willard psychiatric hospital to vivid life, sometimes uncomfortably so, and both Izzy and Ms. Wisemans’ readers come to question the nature of mental illness. Lest anyone think that the committal of Clara Cartwright for defying her parents is unbelievable, my grandmother-in-law was locked up in a mental institution in the 1930s merely for defying her husband. Horrific, but she survived, and her ordeal provided me with hope for Clara as well. I highly recommend What She Left Behind, and wonder what treat Ellen Wiseman has in store for us next!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the style this was written in and that there were sub plots to the plot. Not a 'deep' book, but enjoyable nonetheless.Published 20 hours ago by actravels
I enjoyed this book it was a book you had to keep reading and not put it down.Published 4 days ago by melanie m cole
This was a wonderful read about the unjustices that women suffered through. Mental health issues are serous. Read morePublished 6 days ago by lillyflower
I love all books written by EMW but this may be my favorite! Clara and Izzy felt real and I couldn't put the book down for wondering what was happening to them ! Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
I liked the premise of this book and was interested at the beginning, but the appeal lessened the more I read. Read morePublished 6 days ago by GEPorter