Why She Left by Leah Mercer @bookouture

When I open the door and see her, my mind starts churning. Why are they here? What do they want? And why did my daughter leave in the first place? Am I finally, after all of these years, going to find out? I take a deep breath and usher them in…

Ruth has spent every day of the last fifteen years wondering why her daughter Isobel left. Walking around the school to which she has given her life, every child she sees reminds her of her family’s bright future which vanished in an instant.

So when Ruth opens the door to find Isobel and a teenage grandson she never knew existed, she feels a rush of relief. Despite the years of hurt she never stopped loving Isobel and wants to help rebuild her life. Enrolling her grandson at the school, Ruth wants to make sure they stay for good.

Isobel has spent her life running from a painful secret. A secret which could have destroyed her family. Now, as she flees a bad relationship, she knows that her childhood home is the only place where she can be safe.

But as Isobel looks at her son in his crisp new uniform, she is taken straight back to the reason she ran all those years ago. Soon it becomes clear that she is not the only one tormented by the past. Someone is prepared to destroy everything Ruth and Isobel hold dear. Can Isobel confront her darkest secret before it is too late?

From the bestselling author of Who We Were Before comes a powerful and emotional page-turner about devastating family secrets. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Emily Bleeker and Imogen Clark.

Why She Left is a stunning read-heartbreaking and gripping in equal measure, this family drama had everything I needed for an unputdownable read. I was hooked from the very first page as I looked for clues as to the reason that Isobel had left her beautiful family home fifteen years ago and why she has now returned…

Told in alternate chapters by Ruth and her daughter Isobel, Why She Left explores the relationship between the women in the family and the school at the centre of all of their lives. Isobel has returned with her teenage son Isaac but the secret that drove her away is still bubbling beneath the surface of all her relationships. When her son is hurt in an incident at the school that has been in her family for years, it sets off a chain of events that has tragic consequences for them all. I had an inkling of the reason that Isobel left but wasn’t sure how it connected to the other characters we are introduced to. I found Isobel relatable as a mother and got angry when the lovely relationship I thought they had seemed to disappear once he got to know his grandmother and was also taken under the wing of Alex, a friend and business associate of Ruth. And I started off feeling so sorry for Ruth! Her daughter had left without a word, she’d had a stroke and she was desperately trying to maintain her family legacy! But my opinions changed quite dramatically towards the end!

Why She Left is a gripping read and I found myself returning to it whenever I could. The family dynamics were perfectly pitched and the emotions released as the narrative evolved felt authentic. As the truths were finally revealed, there were some shocking revelations but I loved how the book ended as it felt like an organic continuation of what had come before. Why She Left made me so angry at times and I love it when a book evokes such strong emotions and connections in me! It’s definitely a book to look out for in December and worthy enough to be one of my December Hot Books so keep an eye out for me discussing it further when I meet up online with Tracy Fenton, Linda Hill and Anne Cater later this month!

Highly recommended by me!

Leah Mercer was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. Her first ambition was to be a journalist, but after completing a master’s in journalism, she soon realised she preferred anything other than reporting the news. After trying her hand at public relations, teaching and recruitment in various countries around the world, she finally settled in London and returned to writing… fiction, this time. Her first two novels, Who We Were Before and The Man I Thought You Were, were shortlisted at the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards. Leah loves books, running and visiting historic houses with her husband and their son.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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