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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.1 out of 5
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  • Very touching story.

    Lisa is a good mum to her five-year-old daughter Poppy. She is the only parent Poppy knows and things have gone well for her, despite the recent loss of her grandmother. Her father is a bit controlling, but she is assured of his love. One day Lisa gets a strange package in the mail. It starts of with a blank journal, but then other gifts begin to arrive. Tragedy strikes however, when Lisa is in a car accident and Poppy is seriously injured. Just prior to that Lisa had started dating, but had thought of Poppy's father from time to time, wondering if she should let Poppy have a relationship with him. Now that Poppy has become injured, her ex comes back into the picture, and this has an affect on Lisa's current relationship. Combine that stress with the fact Lisa still continues to get strange packages and Lisa is at sixes and sevens. What We Leave Behind was an even mix of family drama as well as the mystery behind the gifts. The drama came in when it came to Poppy's recovery and regarding Lisa and her family situation, especially when it came to her father. Revelations as to the packages were revealed and I was kept guessing about that. This touching story comes full circle for Lisa, giving readers an insight with regard to her life and even the choices she is forced to make. This is only my second book by Anna Mansell and I enjoyed how she drew me into the characters and the story. I feel like she did a fine job of drawing out my emotions when it came to Lisa and her family in this engrossing read. I very much look forward to reading her next book. Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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  • Wonderful story with mystery and secrets!

    I loved this story! The details are incredible and it flows smoothly from each character in this puzzle needed to be solved! Well done! Lisa is a single mum to her five year old daughter, Poppy. Poppy is the light of her life. Poppy's father walked out when she was born and never returned and Lisa is doing her best at Motherhood. Lisa's mum died when she was only three months old and her dad has always been overprotective and almost suffocating as he raised his daughter! Lisa now has a job, a small house and some friends who she adores and who love her. She finally feels that she is out from under her father's thumb! Their relationship has never been close. When she starts receiving mysterious, thought provoking gifts, she wonders who could be leaving them and what is their meaning? Could it be her father trying to make amends? Why? When devastation hits Lisa and Poppy suddenly following an automobile accident, the mystery of these items and the family secrets start to unfold! Truly had me reading until I learned the truth! Excellent!

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  • Very good story

    This story started out a little slower than I expected but I became more involved as the pages turned until I couldn't put it down. A bit of friendship, sadness, loss and mystery plus love made it into a enjoyable read. I received a ARC from the publisher and NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it..

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  • Excellent

    Really enjoyed this book, cold wet day and curled up to start reading and finished reading it the same day. It was such a good relaxing read. I was totally caught up in the dramas and emotions that flowed throughout. Some lovely funny moments.

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  • Moving and heartwarming tearjerker

    What Became of Us, by Lisa Mansell, is the story of three best friends, a heartbreaking tragedy, the things we do to help those we love the most, and the unexpected surprises that threaten to destroy a family. Lisa, Holly, and Paul have been best friends for years and have been there for each other through the highs and lows of life. When Lisa’s boyfriend Brian leaves her with their newborn baby Poppy, she’s is devastated. Her overbearing protective father forces her to return to her home town but at least she has the comfort of her two best friends and her grandmother. When they were younger it was just Lisa and Holly because Holly’s brother Paul was a few years older. Now that they are adults though, the three of them are as close as ever. Lisa is caught off guard (at the beginning of the book) when Paul confesses that he’s in love with her just before he and Holly leave for a brief trip. Lisa starts to question her feelings about Paul and starts to realize that she may feel the same way, but she doesn’t have much time to think about it because her grandmother passes away. Since she has always had a small family, Lisa is deeply saddened at her loss. Now it’s just Poppy, Lisa, and her dad, and she has always had a strained relationship with her dad. He’s overbearing, controlling, and overly opinionated. Lisa’s mother and other grandmother and grandfather died in a car accident when she was an infant so she has never knew them. Since Lisa’s Grandmother’s passes away when Holly and Paul are out of town, Holly rushes to be by Lisa’s side as soon as she returns. Holly warns Lisa about hearing that her ex, Poppy’s father, has returned to town. Brian was the love of Lisa’s life, and even though she knows she could never love him again, she starts to question if she should try to form a relationship with him so that he could be in Poppy’s life and she’s not quite sure how Paul would fit into the mix of it all. Holly’s son is the same age as Poppy, so they often get a chance to catch up at their school. Paul is also very close to his nephew, so its not uncommon for them to do things together. After seeing Brian though, Lisa isn’t sure how to respond to Paul’s confession about his feelings for her. When she starts finding gifts on her doorstep she questions everyone she knows, but no one admits to leaving them and she’s never able to see who drops them off. The first gift is a somewhat personal journal that Lisa receives on her first day returning to work. It’s the first time Lisa has had a job since Poppy was born, and even though her dad objects to it, Lisa is excited to be earning her own money again especially since she’ll. be working at Poppy’s school. Suddenly Lisa’s faced with the worst tragedy imaginable when Poppy is injured and is in a coma. As always, Paul and Holly are there for her, but she certainly can’t cope well enough to work out her feelings towards Paul. When Brian comes to the hospital asking to be part of their lives, she’s more confused than ever. Ultimately Brian asks Lisa to return with him so they can try to be a family again. He admits that he was wrong for leaving her and says he wants to be in Poppy’s life. With the gifts still coming, Lisa is more confused than ever because the people who are closest to her continue to deny their involvement. As a result of the tragedy and other circumstances, Lisa is faced with having to live with her father again. As intrusive as ever, she feels trapped by his presence and demands. She also comes across a startling discovery that makes her question everything he has ever told her. When she sets out on her own to find out the truth, Holly and Paul are as supportive as ever, but Lisa is shocked at what she finds. When she confronts her dad about it, he continues telling her the same lies he’s told her throughout her life. Everything Lisa has ever known as the truth is no longer what it seemed, so she’s in no position to make any big decisions about her feelings for Paul or whether or not she wants to allow Brian into Poppy’s life. Eventually the truth comes out, and it is a very unexpected twist! Although I loved the story, the characters, and the twist, I’ll admit that some of the details about the twist frustrated me. I cannot be specific because that would spoil the surprise but I believe that some of the information was inaccurate and that bothered me. Altogether it was a good book, but it just wasn’t quite for me when the details near the end emerged. I loved Anna Mansell’s creativity in What Became of Us, and felt that it was a sweet story though. I liked her writing style enough that I’ll be looking into other books she has written. It was an easy read and easy to follow, and I loved the character development, plot, and emphasis on family and friends.

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