What She Left Behind – by Ellen Marie Wiseman – independent book review – Historical Fiction (United States)

This novel contains two stories, one slightly more compelling to me than the other. Nevertheless, I awarded five stars on Goodreads.whatsheleftbehind
The more suspenseful story is Clara’s, a 20 something woman in the 1930s, who defies her wealthy and powerful father and pays the price throughout her lifetime. Her saga is intriguing from page one and only gets more so.
The other narrative concerns a 17 year old girl, living in the first decent foster home she’s had, and starting a new high school as a senior. But Izzy has more to deal with than simple bullying from the “mean girls.” She also has dark family and personal secrets that she doesn’t fully understand. Among them the fact that her real mother is in prison for killing her father. Izzy’s story gets more complex and more interesting as the book progresses.

How these two stories weave together, with all secrets eventually revealed, touches on some powerful and dark issues along the way. Like the power of mother love, the powerlessness of many women in the mid-twentieth century, and the horrendous medical treatment available in state mental institutions.

Ellen Marie Wiseman

Not a read for the fainthearted, but very satisfying at the end.

More about Author Ellen Marie Wiseman, one of my favorites.
You might be interested in my reviews of three of her other novels:


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