What She Left Behind

What She Left Behind

Large Print - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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 cataloguing 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's 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--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.
Publisher: Thorndike, Maine : Center Point Large Print, 2014.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9781628990652
Branch Call Number: WISEMAN E LP
Characteristics: 495 p. (large print) ; 22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

AL_MARCIA Sep 14, 2017

A compelling story about a woman sent to an insane asylum in 1929 and a teenage girl in foster care in 1996. Their stories are beautifully woven together.

JCLCatherineG Sep 06, 2017

Depressing, intense and grim! If you're in the mood for that kind of book, this one is perfect. This story made me appreciate all the rights and freedoms that I sometimes take for granted.

AL_SHELL Nov 06, 2016

A riveting novel or two spirited characters who's life situations cross over time. These are believable women from two different era's whose lives intersect in an unusual way. A hard one to put down!

Aug 19, 2016


Aug 08, 2016

This was not the most riveting book I've ever read, but it was definitely one of the more emotion stirring books I've read. Sometimes I was so angry I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading. It's just unthinkable that something like that could happen. I like reading two "stories" in parallel. I experienced this the first time with Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True. I find myself so absorbed in the current character's story that I feel disappointed when we switch to the next, but then I have the same feeling when switching again. Parts were a bit predictable but not all of them.

Oct 26, 2015

An absorbing read. Makes you so angry at how the mentally ill and women were treated.

Sep 22, 2015

The story concept was great, but the novel was very light weight. I thought it was a junior or young adult selection after reading a few chapters, due to the lack of sophistication in the writing, and the lack of any in-depth background material. I would have liked to see this story written by someone with more passion.

Sep 02, 2015

My second Ellen Marie Wiseman book. I had just finished "The Plum Tree" which was informative and somber. This book too follows in the same tone.
I like historical fiction and more than likely there is nothing good to be said about being locked up in an asylum during that time period. That Clara's story would impact Izzy's story became obvious early on. But it became tedious for me to read and left me feeling tired and heavy.

I did a simple Google search on the Willard Asylum and immediately came upon lots of images. Some were of suitcases, filled with the patient's belongings. Stuffed in an attic and never returned to them. From there launched this story.

What I learned from this book was how horrific treatment could be for the mentally ill (or in some cases sane people locked away for other reasons). That in itself is sobering. But after reading two of her books, I'm ready for a break. Her style is similar in both books. Interesting but not mesmerizing. Heavy and grim. Even with a "happy ever after" ending, I just finished with a sense of relief I was done.

Jul 17, 2014

I liked this book about two young women separated by decades who learn to survive the circumstances of their lives. This would be an interesting book for a book club.

Jun 14, 2014

Could not put this book down - read it in two days time. Brought forth many emotions - anger, frustration, sympathy, I didn't laugh but certainly had tears. Any book that brings forth emotions from me certainly rates a 5 star rating. Authors other book "the plum tree' was as equally enjoyed. A must read.

View All Comments


Add a Summary

Jul 17, 2014

This is the story of present day Izzy who is living with foster parents after her mother kills her father. It is also the story of Clara whose trunk is left behind at the asylum where she was placed for falling in love with the wrong man and getting pregnant. Both women survive becoming even stronger for their experiences.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at TSCPL

To Top