young, smart, ambitious –
with her whole life ahead of her.
Until the night she mysteriously drowns.
Nobody knows how or why.
But Alice left a few clues:
her diary, texts, emails, and presence on social media
Alice is gone but fragments of the life she led remain – and in them might lie the answer to what really happened to her – if only someone can piece it all together before it vanishes for ever . . .
It’s not often that I read thrillers but in keeping with my 2017 ‘Refuse to read only paranormal romance’ challenge, I decided to steal What she left from my mum after hearing her talk about how much she had enjoyed it. My mum and I don’t agree on everything – ie. whether or not the moon landings were faked – but we can both agree upon a good book when we see one.
What she left is an extremely modern novel. In the 21st century, privacy is an alien concept in many respects. Everything we are and everything we do can be uncovered with a few clicks of the mouse and as a result, we leave a digital trail in our wake. T. R. Richmond addresses what these digital trails reveal about a person and how no secret can remain truly secret in the modern age.
It’s not only a modern novel in regards to its themes, though. The narrative style is fresh and innovative; the entirety of this book is an amalgamation of Twitter posts, emails, diary entries, letters and blog posts. Sure, it does get a little confusing as the narrative is constantly jumping between years, but I still think it’s an effective method of narration. These exchanges between the various characters are so personal and as a result, these characters feel like real people. T. R. Richmond must have understood the risk he was taking with such a unusual narrative, but I think it’s certainly a risk that paid off well.
No one is perfect and this is a harsh truth highlighted within the pages of What she left. The events immediately preceding Alice’s death are shrouded in mystery (initially anyway – no spoilers from me!), and one thing that the novel demonstrates is how when we allow our flaws to overcome us, even the tiniest of actions can contribute towards a much bigger, far more devastating outcome. Flaws are an inherent part of being human and each of Alice’s acquaintances – be they her family or friends – possesses one major flaw, if not several. There are characters driven to the brink of sanity by obsession. Characters who lash out with more than just words while in the grips of jealousy…and it’s these flaws that, combined, lead to Alice’s untimely and tragic death.
What she left is addictive. This book is almost like a puzzle, each piece of Alice’s trail slotting together to form an ending that I can guarantee you won’t see coming.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Song: Nightwish’s Dark Chest of Wonders
This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-reader format.