Review published on August 14, 2017.
This is the first book I have read by Rosie Fiore and it was quite enjoyable, so I shall look out for her other novels.
It is set in London in modern times and is about the Cooper family. At the opening of the novel, Helen Cooper walks out of her home and disappears. Her distraught husband, Sam, thinks she must have been abducted or murdered as he can’t think of any reason why she might have left him and their two daughters. However, after a couple of days, he gets a message from the police that she is safe and well but does not want him to know where she is.
Alternate chapters are narrated by Sam, his elder daughter, a female family friend and Helen as the novel explores why Helen has left and just what is wrong with her seemingly idyllic family life. We watch Sam turning to drink and neglecting his children; we watch the children’s lives disintegrate; we see Helen starting a new life.
In the early part of the book my sympathies lay with Sam and the children but as clues were gradually dropped about Helen’s growing unhappiness, my sympathy moved to her.
The characters are well drawn and I particularly liked Sam’s brother, Tim who was doing his best to help his brother and nieces pull their lives together.
For a book group read, there could be discussion topics around the areas of priorities between marriage and career, step-parenting and marital abuse.
Sue Smith 3/3
What She Left by Rosie Fiore
Allen & Unwin 9781760292492 pbk Aug 2017
Cocktails and Dreams by A.L. Michael
Cheltenham Literature Festival 2017 – line-up and Q&A
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