Originally published: 21 February 2019
Author: Susan Elliot Wright
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Length: 360 pages
Reading dates: 17-20 January 2019
What has happened to Cornelia Blackwood?
She has a loving marriage. But she has no friends.
Everyone knows her name. No one speaks to her now.
Cornelia Blackwood has unravelled once before. Can she stop it from happening again?
I knew very little about this when I read it and I think it made it all the better! I don’t want to say too much about the plot as I don’t want to give anything away…
Now: Cornelia (Leah) Blackwood is in constant pain. Something happened which means no one speaks to her and she has no friends, but she is starting to rebuild her life and is hoping to return to her job as a University lecturer. And then her loving husband Adrian dies in a car crash. She is devastated but soon discovers Adrian has a secret child with another woman. Leah is furious but also wants to know more about the other woman, Cass and her son Oliver. She starts dropping into a café where Cass works and soon gets to know both her and Oliver, keeping her connection to the pair a secret.
Then: We learn how Leah and Adrian met and fell in love. The problems they have trying for a family. We find out she has been desperately ill.
This was such a powerful book. Leah has obviously had something terrible happen to her. She is not a happy woman at the start of the book and when I found out the reasons, I felt so desperately sorry for her. Despite some of her decisions and choices with Cass and Oliver not being the best, I still felt so much sympathy for her.
This book delves into postnatal depression and postpartum psychosis. I think any mother will find it difficult to read. Having suffered with postnatal depression, it did bring those feelings back. For me it was 17 years ago after the birth of my first son so enough time has passed but it still made for an unsettling read and I could remember the way I felt at the time clearly.
I read this in just a couple of days and quickly found myself completely engaged with Leah’s life. It is written with amazing compassion and although it is the second book to make me cry this year, I thought it was stunning.
Many thanks to Becky McCarthy at Simon & Schuster for sending me advanced copy.
About the author:
Susan Elliot Wright grew up in Lewisham in south-east London. Before becoming a full-time writer, she did a number of different jobs, including civil servant, cleaner, dishwasher, journalist, and chef. She has an MA in writing from Sheffield Hallam University, where she is now an associate lecturer, and she lives in Sheffield with her husband and a big black dog called Henry. She is currently at work on her fourth novel, which will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2018.