Wednesday 17 January 2018

What She Left by Rosie Fiore @rosiefiore #BlogTour @rararesources #WhatSheLeft @AllenAndUnwinUK

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She's beautiful, accomplished, organised - the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.
But Helen wasn't abducted or murdered. She's chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.
Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.
He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He's losing control.
But then one day, it really is Helen's face he sees...

What She Left by Rosie Fiore was published in paperback by Allen & Unwin UK on 17 August 2017, my thanks to Rachel Gilby from Rachel's Random Resources who arranged my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

What She Left is the first of Rosie Fiore's books that I've read, although I do have a copy of her April 2017 release, After Isabella on my to-be-read shelf and I'm determined to get to it soon.
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.

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. Her first two novels, This Year's Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year's Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus. She is the author of After Isabella, also published by Allen & Unwin.

Rosie’s next book, The After Wife (written as Cass Hunter), will be published by Trapeze in 2018, and in translation is seven countries around the world.

Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons. 

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1 comment:

  1. I totally agree Anne, brilliant book. I loved your review.