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What She Lost Paperback – 26 Jan 2017
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About the Author
Susan Elliot Wright grew up in Lewisham in south-east London. Before becoming a full-time writer, she did a number of different jobs, including civil servant, cleaner, dishwasher, journalist, and chef. She has an MA in writing from Sheffield Hallam University, where she is now an associate lecturer, and she lives in Sheffield with her husband. She is the author of The Things We Never Said and the Secrets We Left Behind. To find out more, visit her website: http:/www.susanelliotwright.co or follow her on Twitter @sewelliot.
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This book is about Eleanor who has an unconventional, bohemian life living on a community farm on the North Yorkshire coast. She has a troubled relationship with her mother Marjorie. Recently Marjorie has been trying to tell her something important but frustratingly keeps forgetting what it is as Alzheimer’s is slowly stealing her memories.
The story is told in present day and in the past, going back to 1967. The reader gradually uncovers the secrets that fester at the heart of their relationship, secrets kept by both Eleanor and Marjorie and how they have shaped the lives of mother and daughter. The author is adept at capturing moments that illustrate their difficult relationship and I felt sad for both of them. This is quite a dark read, with themes of mental illness, disability and loss. It is haunting at times and I was riveted by the last 20 pages or so, which were gripping. Again I was reminded of Maggie O’Farrell who also writes so well about issues affecting women, particularly in the 60s and 70s. This is an intense, emotional but brilliantly written story.
Exploring themes like grief, guilt, rejection, secrecy and mental illness, Marjorie and Eleanor’s story is an emotional rollercoaster. The narrative is revealed through three different timelines, which are effortlessly woven together to gradually paint a picture of the tragedy that has defined their personalities and their lives. Both women command compassion: the mother who’s failed her child but cannot breach the wall she’s erected between them; and the daughter so paralyzed by guilt and rejection she cannot find a way to connect.
I must admit the story took a while to draw me in, but it picked up about half way through, aided by some unexpected twists. I do enjoy a novel that explores the complexities of female relationships, and this certainly gives some serious pause for thought. The ending, which I couldn’t have guessed in a month of Sundays, left a lump in my throat.
In short: satisfying and lovely, I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to quit the world outside and put themselves in the hands of a fabulous author.
I just could not put this book down!
Highly recommended. Susan Elliot Wright is a brilliant author and I'm very much looking forward to her next release.