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What She Left Paperback – 17 Aug 2017
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A wistful, poignant novel. --Sarah Naughton, author of TATTLE TALE
In After Isabella, Fiore has created a compelling and provocative read, nicely paced and thoroughly absorbing. At times, both heart-warming and poignant, it's impossible not to feel a sense of loss on turning the final page. --Irish Independent
A beautiful, heartfelt novel that swept me up and held me tight until the end. I was lost in this powerful, poignant tale. --Amanda Prowse on AFTER ISABELLA
A heartfelt novel about how messy life is, and how relationships and families change over time. Both heartwarming and sad, it's an insightful, thought-provoking glimpse into female friendships, love and loyalty. --Julie Cohen on
After Isabella is a beautiful, absorbing novel that deals with the issues at the very heart of what it means to be a woman. I was drawn in from the very first page and loved the way Rosie handled both the harsh realities, and the beauty, of the friendships and family relationships that define us. I can't wait to read more from her! --Tracy Buchanan
Heartwarming and beautifully written, it's a story of crossroads and choices, friendship and family.--Daily Express on Wonder Women
About the Author
Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market. She has lived in London for the past fifteen years. Her first novel, This Year's Black, was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award. After Isabella was her most recent novel. Rosie also writes under the name Cass Hunter.
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I have been completely and utterly absorbed in What She Left, it's been a real roller-coaster of a read; one of those books that when you put it down you continue to think about the story, eager to get back to it and constantly intrigued by both the plot and the excellently created characters.
Helen Cooper has it all. She's organised and efficient, her husband Sam is lusted after by all of the other school-gate mothers. Her two girls are perfectly turned out, talented and pretty. Her house is spotless, her handbag is tidy and her whole life is planned down to the exact second. Husband Sam is a high-earner, he spends time away from the home on business, safe in the knowledge that he will return to freshly ironed clothes and wholesome meals, and happy that what happens when away on business, stays away on business.
When Helen fails to collect the girls from school, it's a major event. This never happens. When Helen fails to return home that night, or the next day, or the following day, everyone knows that something terrible has happened. When the police inform Sam that Helen has been found, safe and well, he is over the moon. When he learns that she doesn't intend to come home, he is devastated and confused.
Gradually, over the next few months, Sam begins to realise that Helen really wasn't who, or what she claimed to be. He realises that he never knew his wife. It gradually dawns on him that his life has been a lie, just as Helen's has.
Rosie Fiore is a clever writer. The book is structured incredibly well, told in four parts and narrated in different voices; Sam, Helen and Miranda, their daughter. Not only does this allow the reader to learn more about the relationships within this unusual family, it also gives a good glimpse into each character ... and their reliability.
Whilst What She Left does contain mystery and some tension, it's not a crime story. It certainly looks at certain crimes and the consequences of these on both the victim and their family and friends. There's a complexity to this story that adds such a lot to the overall story, and one of the best parts of the novel, for me, was this author's ability to create a character in Sam who is so believable, but actually really not very nice at all.
I'd certainly recommend What She Left, it's pacy and well written with some intricate plot turns and fabulous character creation. I'll look forward to reading more from this author.
The story unfolds through the eyes of various characters, all of whom are all well-rounded. Helen's husband, Sam, for example, is sympathetic to the extent that much of the story is told from his perspective. However, he is deeply, deeply flawed. The fact that he was neither a straightforward romantic hero nor a one-dimensional villain made the story very real for me.
Above all, I loved that the book has a feminist message, without ever being preachy. And, despite the subject matter, it contained a couple of jokes that had me laughing out loud.
To sum up, What She Left is an intriguing read that reminds me of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train - but warmer, somehow. And with more likeable characters.
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Most recent customer reviews
It was different to my usual reads but it was so worth the read. The characters were absolutely fabulous.Read more
Here is a novel which borders on the edge of mystery.Read more
When Helen, the perfect wife, mother, organiser and school event planner supreme disappears, her husband Sam is in understandable turmoil.Read more