What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Monday, February 2, 2015

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
I love historical fiction novels, and I especially like it when there's two narrators from two different eras and the story bounces back and forth. One is set in 1929 and the other in modern day. I have to say that I enjoyed reading this book. It was one of those really-easy-to-love novels, because of the author's effortless simplicity in her writing. It just sounds like a good story teller telling you a bedtime story. 

I did have a few complaints with this one though, as I felt like even though both narrators and their stories were interesting enough, I wasn't as immersed in the modern day setting. I didn't care for the character as much. I thought her story line felt empty, and quite cliche. All I wanted was to go back to reading the story set in 1929. 
I also overall failed to see the true connection between them. It could have been a great story with or without the other, and when I read a book with two narrators, I want to be able to see why there's two important characters. I want to be able to connect with both, but I didn't here. 

Despite that, I have to mention that the book's greatest strength, in my opinion, is in the author. Ellen Marie Wiseman knows how to write perfectly emotional scenes! The overall feelings and actions portrayed in the book are real, raw, and extremely believable. It was definitely emotionally gripping.

Overall, I think it's one of those stories that raise a lot of questions you otherwise may not have had before, prior to picking up this book. It was especially interesting how the author used the topic of mental illness - specifically on how it was viewed and how it was taken care of in the past, how different it is now today, and how much more we could grow in the future.
Now don't mind me as I'm off to research more about the history of insane asylums and the Willard Suitcase Exhibit, which you should too, thanks to this book.

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  1. I love these dual narrative books too, but I haven't read one in ages. Elle Newmark's The Sandalwood Tree is one of my favourites :)