Published by Allen & Unwin
ebook: 17 August 2017 | Paperback : 7 June 2018
Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for What She Left and a great guest post from Rosie. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey for the invitation to take part in the tour.
Why would a woman walk away from her family?
by Rosie Fiore
A quarter of a million people go missing in the UK every year.
This was the astonishing statistic that led me into writing What She Left. Around 99% of then are found or return home very quickly, but that still leaves 1% – around 2,500 people – who vanish. Why do they go? And where are they?
In my research I read many accounts of people why had chosen to walk away from their lives. Often, they were fleeing difficult situations with family or money, or chaotic home environments. Many left devastated families behind them.
When we think of someone who chooses to go missing, we often imagine a father who leaves the house, ostensibly to go to the shops, and never returns. The typical deadbeat dad. In these scenarios, the mother is left to carry on, managing the family, the finances and her own pain. And in fact, in What She Left, one character Lara, is in exactly this situation. But what if it is the woman who goes?
Would readers think less of Helen for walking away than they would of a man who did the same (spoiler, they would!)? Do we hold women to a higher standard than we do men?
I wanted to explore the differences in what we expect from women and from men – I think we do expect that women will be more reliable than men, and will stay in a difficult situation rather than walk away. How do we judge women who make a different choice? I wanted readers to be challenged by Helen’s decision, and also to think about why they felt that way.
If you’ll pardon the reality TV expression, I wanted readers to go on a journey with Helen… to be frustrated with her, with her silence and the enigma of her disappearance but then gradually to realise that all was not as it seemed. No one really knows what goes in in anyone else’s life or marriage, and I wanted the revelations to be gradual, but believable.
There was another thing that led me to write this book, and this was the (often unacknowledged) fantasy we all have about walking away from our lives. Make no mistake, I adore my family, and nothing would induce me to leave them, but I have moments, often when I am standing in front of the window of an estate agent (as Helen does in the book), when I look at a picture of a pristine, empty room, and imagine it was mine. I imagine utter quiet and solitude, no carpet of LEGO and small boy’s socks, no clutter, no shopping and cooking, no demands on my time…
I am happy to sigh and walk away from this fantasy, back into my own happy, chaotic home, but I also think I’m not alone. I think we all feel this way sometimes, and there’s no crime in that. I hope it will resonate with readers to explore what happens when someone actually does it.
| About the Book |
Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She’s beautiful, accomplished, organised – the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.
But Helen wasn’t abducted or murdered. She’s chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.
Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.
He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He’s losing control.
But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…
| About the Author |
Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market.
Her first two novels, This Year’s Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year’s Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus. She is the author of After Isabella, also published by Allen & Unwin.
Rosie’s next book, The After Wife (written as Cass Hunter), will be published by Trapeze in 2018, and in translation is seven countries around the world.
Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons.