In this stunning new novel, the acclaimed author of THE PLUM TREE merges the past and present into a haunting story about the nature of love and loyalty鈥攁nd the lengths we will go to protect those who need us most.
Ten years ago, Izzy Stone鈥檚 mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother鈥檚 apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at a local museum, have enlisted Izzy鈥檚 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.
Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara鈥檚 father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care鈥攁nd Clara is committed to the public asylum.
Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara鈥檚 story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother鈥檚 violent act? Piecing together Clara鈥檚 fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices鈥攚ith shocking and unexpected results.
Illuminating and provocative, WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND is a masterful novel about the yearning to belong鈥攁nd the mysteries that can belie even the most ordinary life.