If You Left; Ashley Prentice Norton
Mariner Books - 2016
If You Left is the story of a marriage, a marriage that begins with promise until mental illness surfaces. Oliver and Althea Willows seem to have a good marriage, at least to some outsiders. They live in Manhattan and have a summer home at the beach but, Althea has suffered from mental illness, bipolar disorder, for most of their marriage. Throughout each suicide attempt, and hospitalization, her husband has been her rock. Despite her illness, Oliver wants to have a child but, Althea's daily cocktail of mood meds would likely affect a fetus. Although Althea isn't sure she could handle motherhood, she wants to please her husband so they decide to adopt a child.
Clem (Clementine) enters their lives and as Althea suspected, mothering does not come naturally to her and she finds the role extremely difficult. Oliver thinks she needs to bond with their daughter so suggests that the two of them spend the summer at their beach house. Things don't go exactly as planned as Clem has already learned to amuse herself. Mother and daughter's relationship remains strained, causing more difficulties in an already shaky marriage.
Without saying too much more, I'll just say that at times both of these adults made me mad. I felt sorry for the daughter they adopted. The author did a great job revealing what living with manic depression might be like and the toll it takes on a relationship. I must say I wasn't a fan of the writing style, First, there weren't any chapters and the story sometimes felt like one long conversation, yet quotation marks weren't used. In addition, the POV changed quiet a bit.
Overall, I think this story had a lot of potential but, left me a bit disappointed.