What She Left BehindEllen Marie Wiseman

What She Left Behind

4 star

Total 249 Ratings

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman Book Summary

Half a million copies sold!
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.
“Screams with authenticity, depth, and understanding.”
—The New York Journal of Books
“A real page turner…will appeal to all readers of fiction.”
—The Historical Novels Review
“Amazing…A great read!”
—The San Francisco Book Review
“Will both haunt and inspire you… a moving, and at times chilling story that totally endears you to her characters.”
“A great coming-of-age story.”
—School Library Journal

What She Left Behind (Ellen Marie Wiseman) Book Reviews

Heartbreakingly good storyThis is a very unusual novel that is told in dual storylines; one modern and one from many years ago, both focusing on women who are struggling to find lives of their own when they were dealt a crappy hand in life. The story is beautiful, yet tragic. Given the fact that this story does surround patients in a mental institution it is also sad and heartbreaking. There were times I could picture the suitcases of those who were committed but never had an opportunity to leave. I would have loved to have put the parents in the institution as they were obviously the ones who needed mental adjustments. It’s unbelievable how easy it was to have someone committed to an institution. No doubt the context will disturb some individuals and I cannot say that I was not horrified at times so bear this in mind if you select the book. It’s a really great story though and I loved it. I definitely recommend..Score: 5/5

Great ! Don't pass this one up!Couldn't put this book down, it's been a long time since I've been so wrapped up in a story. Although it had two main characters the others blended in perfectly and we're just as interesting . It was unimaginable what was done to Clare and Bruno at Willard Asylum. Thanks to Izzy who's own life was in turmoil with her Mother in prison ect,and her foster parents who went to the old, depleted Hospital to find items that told of its history ,Izzy finds herself immersed in Clare's life..Score: 3/5

AmazingThis such a really good book. I used to absolutely hate reading but after reading this book I love reading. GREAT JOB!!!!.Score: 5/5

Love this book!2nd time I’ve read it . Such a great read!.Score: 5/5

What She Left BehindI found this book hard to read but finished it because the story itself was intriguing. Very hard to read an entire book of such horrendous treatment and really mean characters. Page after page of brutal acts and depraved people..Score: 3/5

Well Written, very engrossing...I highly recommend it, although not for the beach vacation.....Score: 5/5

Yes!I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure at first, so I downloaded the sample and now I'm glad I did..Score: 4/5

Love the author, really dislike the bookI was so bored by this novel which is a huge disappointment cause I’ve read all of her other books and loved them. I didn’t even finish this cause I just didn’t care.Score: 2/5

What She Left BehindA well written and intriguing page turner. So many did suffer in asylums because of others' wanting to rid themselves of embarrassing situations and family. So sad that this story is too close to the mark!!.Score: 5/5

What she left behindI loved this book!! It's one of the few I couldn't put down and didn't want to end. I have experienced mental illness and it is truly the most misunderstood disease there is, even in today's world. It is a very sad disease and I thank God everyday for the medications that are available to us. It takes a very long time to find the right "formula" but, in my case, I have had 6 very good years. Years ago, I would have been institutionalized, no doubt In my mind. So, I can certainly sympathize with Clara..Score: 5/5

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