What She Left Behind

What She Left Behind

Book - 2014
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"...merges the past and present into a haunting story about the nature of love and loyalty--and the lengths we will go to protect those who need us most"--Inside flap of front cover.
Publisher: New York : Kensington Books, [2014]
ISBN: 9780758278456
Branch Call Number: PS3623.I833 W43 2014
Characteristics: viii, 328 p. ; 22 cm


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May 16, 2018

I enjoyed this book very much. It caught and easily kept my attention right from the get-go. Interesting information by author following story, informing reader that although this story was fictional, there was much of it including the insane asylum that was accurate. Story was based on several factual stories and books regarding the treatment of "insane" individuals. Very enlightening and encouraged me to go further and read actual accounts of those deemed falsely insane and placed, often for lifetime in cruel, abusive institutions. Bonus bookclub discussion questions included.

ArapahoeMarcia Sep 14, 2017

A compelling story about a woman sent to an insane asylum in 1929 and a teenage girl in foster care in 1996. Their stories are beautifully woven together.

JCLCatherineG Sep 06, 2017

Depressing, intense and grim! If you're in the mood for that kind of book, this one is perfect. This story made me appreciate all the rights and freedoms that I sometimes take for granted.

ArapahoeShell Nov 06, 2016

A riveting novel or two spirited characters who's life situations cross over time. These are believable women from two different era's whose lives intersect in an unusual way. A hard one to put down!

Aug 19, 2016


Aug 08, 2016

This was not the most riveting book I've ever read, but it was definitely one of the more emotion stirring books I've read. Sometimes I was so angry I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading. It's just unthinkable that something like that could happen. I like reading two "stories" in parallel. I experienced this the first time with Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True. I find myself so absorbed in the current character's story that I feel disappointed when we switch to the next, but then I have the same feeling when switching again. Parts were a bit predictable but not all of them.

Oct 26, 2015

An absorbing read. Makes you so angry at how the mentally ill and women were treated.

Sep 22, 2015

The story concept was great, but the novel was very light weight. I thought it was a junior or young adult selection after reading a few chapters, due to the lack of sophistication in the writing, and the lack of any in-depth background material. I would have liked to see this story written by someone with more passion.

Sep 02, 2015

My second Ellen Marie Wiseman book. I had just finished "The Plum Tree" which was informative and somber. This book too follows in the same tone.
I like historical fiction and more than likely there is nothing good to be said about being locked up in an asylum during that time period. That Clara's story would impact Izzy's story became obvious early on. But it became tedious for me to read and left me feeling tired and heavy.

I did a simple Google search on the Willard Asylum and immediately came upon lots of images. Some were of suitcases, filled with the patient's belongings. Stuffed in an attic and never returned to them. From there launched this story.

What I learned from this book was how horrific treatment could be for the mentally ill (or in some cases sane people locked away for other reasons). That in itself is sobering. But after reading two of her books, I'm ready for a break. Her style is similar in both books. Interesting but not mesmerizing. Heavy and grim. Even with a "happy ever after" ending, I just finished with a sense of relief I was done.

Jul 17, 2014

I liked this book about two young women separated by decades who learn to survive the circumstances of their lives. This would be an interesting book for a book club.

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Jul 17, 2014

This is the story of present day Izzy who is living with foster parents after her mother kills her father. It is also the story of Clara whose trunk is left behind at the asylum where she was placed for falling in love with the wrong man and getting pregnant. Both women survive becoming even stronger for their experiences.


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