#bookclub Feature – Anne Cater – What She Lost by SJV
What She Lost is another beautifully constructed story that kept me spellbound. The reader is introduced to Marjorie in the prologue set in 1967. Marjorie is in the delivery suite in hospital, in labour with her second child. She already has a daughter and is delighted when she gives birth to a son, Peter. Her husband Ted will be thrilled to have a son. Their little family is complete.
However, Peter’s birth does not bring the happiness and joy that the young couple had longed for. Instead, Peter is severely disabled, and so begins Marjorie’s long and painful journey into depression and fear.
The story then moves to the present day. Marjorie’s daughter Eleanor is now grown and living on a community farm in North Yorkshire. Eleanor’s life has not been easy, and she and Marjorie are not close. The community at the farm are her adopted family, it’s the place where she feels safe and wanted. However, blood is thicker than water, and it is clear that Marjorie’s health is suffering and Eleanor can no longer rely on her mother’s friend Peggy to cope with the effects.
What She Lost is an emotional and at times, wrenching story that deals with the darkest of secrets and the effects that lies and deception can have on a family. As Eleanor struggles to understand what it is that Marjorie is desperate to remember, old wounds are opened up and examined. This author ably deals with serious and often distressing issues, including teenage pregnancy, dementia and the stigma often associated with mental health and disability.
Susan Elliot Wright is a hugely talented author, this is a hauntingly tragic, yet very sympathetic novel populated with characters who the reader will come to care about and cheer for. The human emotion is conveyed so precisely, this really is a wonderfully observed story. I loved it and would recommend it highly.