The Life You Left Behind by Debbie Howells #bookreview #womensfiction #mentalhealth

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Title: The Life You Left Behind

Author: Debbie Howells

Publisher:   Boldwood Books 

Publication Date: February 23, 2022

Page Count: 374

My rating: 2 stars

About the book:

The emotional, powerful and life-affirming novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author.

‘The story was heartbreaking, romantic and uplifting all at the same time’

Two strangers.

One missed flight.

It only takes a moment to change a life.

One year ago Casey Cassidy was happy. She had great friends, a wonderful teaching job and a busy life – until with one missed flight, everything changes.

One year later Casey knows what it means to find that once-in-a-lifetime love people dream of. But when Ben leaves, her heart is shattered.

Left facing a year of firsts without him, piecing her life back together seems impossible. But then a friend offers her a home in rural France.

In the solitude and emptiness, Casey needs to come to terms with what’s happened and find a way to move forward. She has no idea where that will take her one year later…

The Life You Left Behind by Debbie Howells is a women’s fiction title that deals with mental health issues. The story in The Life You Left Behind is one that is told in two timelines alternating between about a year in the past and the current time.

The year before Casey Cassidy had been carefree and headed out to a vacation with her friend when she discovered she had left her passport at home. Of course for Casey this meant missing her much anticipated flight and having to fly out later but as she was leaving the airport she met Ben, the love of her life.

Now Casey is picking up the pieces to her life by taking off to another country and staying in the home of a friend. Casey doesn’t know how she came to be where she is today after things had been so good the year before.

I have to say first that I picked up The Life You Left Behind by Debbie Howells because I have read several books by the author and really enjoyed them so I was surprised to find myself rating this one at two stars. The thing is that this one deals heavily with a form of depression caused over worry about the environment and goes repeatedly over the state of the world which to be honest I read to escape so I really didn’t enjoy it feeling preachy about the state of things. Also, I personally enjoy a story of growth and strength which I thought I might find with the main character but instead I found myself questioning her state of being and wasn’t satisfied at the direction it went. Some may enjoy this one but it just wasn’t for me unfortunately.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online:

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Having previously worked as cabin crew, a flying instructor and a wedding florist, Debbie started writing during her busiest summer of weddings.

After self-publishing three women’s commercial fiction novels, she wrote The Bones of You, her first psychological thriller. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and picked for the Richard and Judy book club. Three more have been published by Pan Macmillan: The Beauty of The End, The Death of Her and Her Sister’s Lie.

Her fifth, The Vow, was published by Avon in 2020 and was a #1 ebook bestseller. Her latest, The Secret, is out now, with her next due in 2023.

More recently, Debbie has returned to writing women’s fiction novels, about life, love, friendship and loss – the stuff that happens to all of us. The first of these, The Life You Left Behind is coming in February 2022, published by Boldwood.

Debbie writes full time, inspired by the peacefulness of the countryside she lives in with her partner Martin and Bean the rescued cat.

You can visit her website at

Follow her on Instagram @_debbiehowells, on Facebook @debbiehowellswriter or on Twitter @debbie__howells.

4 Comments on “The Life You Left Behind by Debbie Howells #bookreview #womensfiction #mentalhealth

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