Friday, September 5, 2014

What We Leave Behind by Rochelle Weinstein: Review

I was very fortunate to receive a copy of the novel What We Leave Behind by Rochelle B. Weinstein in a First Reads giveaway from GoodReads.  I won it two summers ago, and at the time I had hit a bit of a rough patch.  When I read the back cover and considered the subject matter I felt it may be a little bit too sad for me to jump into.  I'm glad I waited, because this is the kind of book that really involves you and I had a huge emotional reaction to the content.  However, I wish I would have been a little more timely in introducing this beautifully written novel to my friends and family - it truly was a book I couldn't put down and I stayed up all night engrossed in the story.  It was nearly 4:00AM when I finally closed the cover.  If you read it be prepared to become deeply involved and be sure to have a few tissues handy.

Here is the back cover -

On Amazon there is a small bit of additional information that tells you the main character Jessica's marriage begins to unravel when the couple struggles through a miscarriage.  I know first hand how devastating the loss of a child that you have planned for and waited for can be, and how hard it is on a couple.  There is such emotional depth and truth in the handling of this delicate subject matter.  Ms. Weinstein is a skilled author to tackle this subject and help you see it from more than just Jessica's perspective.  Although the two loves in this character's life are approached very differently - the hard fast falling of young love and the slowly building love, loyalty and familiarity of Jessica's marriage once she has matured, both are very realistic and read like they were stories my friends were telling me.  I felt I knew these characters well and although I didn't always agree with or understand their choices, they felt real.  That to me is what the best stories do.  I want the people in a novel to feel like friends, and Jessica, Jonas and Marty all did.

Without giving away the plot which has an excellent twist (and because I think if you enjoy contemporary fiction you will want to read this book) I will say this: What We Leave Behind is a story of the way we love, and how we seem to find room in our hearts for more even when we are left with bitter pain and memories that seem to tell us making more room is impossible. The things we endure and and the things we are rewarded with are both represented in this novel. It is an honest depiction of young love, moving forward and starting over.  It is also a portrait of marriage and what it means to love deeply, to endure grief and to forgive yourself and each other.  This book is a lovely telling of the moments in our lives when our hearts decide for us, even though those decisions may not always be in our best interest.

This book is worth your time. 

I am looking forward to reading The Mourning After as well as her  new book which has yet to be titled.  You can find out more by visiting her author profile on Goodreads or on  On my Goodreads review I gave this book four out of five stars.  

I'd also like to thank Ms. Weinstein for personalizing my copy. Although it had an "autographed" sticker on the cover, I expected only her name and found that she has written a lovely note on the title page wishing me well as I read the book. I cherish copies of books that have the author's signature and seeing this brief inscription made me realize that I had picked this book up at exactly the right time.  Thank you for sharing this story with me.  

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