What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Published by: Kensington
Genre(s): Fiction, Mental Illness
Buy it: Amazon
Wow, this was good.
What She Left Behind tells the story of two different women living in two different time periods. Clara is a teenager in the 1920’s who comes from a very prestigious family – her father being part owner of one of the largest banks in Manhattan. When Clara refuses to marry the man her parents had arranged for her to marry, and instead insists they approve of her relationship with Bruno, an Italian immigrant whom she is in love with, her father has her taken away to an insane assylum where she is held against her will, despite insisting over and over that she is completely sane.
Izzy is a teenager in 1995. She was put into foster care at a young age after her mother fatally shot her father in his sleep. Her mother is put in a mental institution but eventually moved to prison after her doctor declares that she is sane. Izzy is convinced her mother is mentally ill, despite what her doctor says, because what sane person kills their husband? Now, Izzy is living with her foster parents, Peg and Harry. They are working on a project at the same mental institution Clara was kept at, which is how Izzy comes across all of Clara’s belongings including her journal. She is immediately drawn towards Clara and her story and thinks that reading her journal will help her understand how a mentally ill person’s mind works, therefore helping to explain her own mother’s mentality and actions that led to her randomly killing her husband.
This story had me hooked from the first page. I read it in less than 36 hours. This is the kind of story that will have you turning each page wanting to know what happens next. I had such a hard time putting it down! I was skeptical at first because I hadn’t heard much about it and the Goodreads rating isn’t too great (I have no idea why!), but I’m so glad I read it because I loved it! There were some parts that made me SO angry and sad for the characters. There are some brutal scenes that will make you want to throw the book across the room. But overall, a highly enjoyable and addicting read and I would definitely recommend it!