The Lost Girls of Willowbrook
Publication Date: 08/30/2022
My Rating: Currently Reading (ARC)
In her most powerful novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Ellen Marie Wiseman masterfully viscerally evokes the real-life Willowbrook State School, the infamous Staten Island, New York, mental institution that shocked a nation when exposed in the 1970s as a dumping ground for unwanted children. Girl, Interrupted meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in this gripping narrative of social injustice, survival, and a young woman determined to find her sister.
In this powerful novel of survival and resilience, New York Times bestselling author Ellen Marie Wiseman takes readers on a gripping, emotional journey as one brave young woman’s search for the truth about her sister leads her to an infamous institution called Willowbrook . . .
Sage Winters always knew her sister was a little different even though they were identical twins. They loved the same things and shared a deep understanding, but Rosemary—awake to every emotion, easily moved to joy or tears—seemed to need more protection from the world.
Six years after Rosemary’s death from pneumonia, Sage, now sixteen, still misses her deeply. Their mother perished in a car crash, and Sage’s stepfather, Alan, resents being burdened by a responsibility he never wanted. Yet despite living as near strangers in their Staten Island apartment, Sage is stunned to discover that Alan has kept a shocking secret: Rosemary didn’t die. She was committed to Willowbrook State School and has lingered there until just a few days ago, when she went missing.
Sage knows little about Willowbrook. It’s always been a place shrouded by rumor and mystery. A place local parents threaten to send misbehaving kids. With no idea what to expect, Sage secretly sets out for Willowbrook, determined to find Rosemary. What she learns, once she steps through its doors and is mistakenly believed to be her sister, will change her life in ways she never could imagined . . .
“Thank goodness for historians like Ellen Marie Wiseman who refuse to let the horrors inflicted on the disabled be relegated to the forgotten attic of time. The Lost Girls of Willowbrook is historical fiction blended with a riveting mystery that makes for a "must-read" of 2022.” – Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller (Stillwater, MN)
“Uniquely plotted, this is a fascinating inner-look inside a place we have only heard about through urban legends and grainy news reels...Compulsively readable and incredibly intriguing to research on the side as you read.” – Kerr Clemm, Anderson’s Bookshop (Chicago, IL)
“In a story so gripping you'll be unable to pull your eyes from the page, the author tells us a tale based on the unbelievable reality that was Willowbrook in New York a half-century ago. This is a bone-chilling narrative written by a master storyteller. Characters step from the page fully formed. The dialogue is superbly crafted, and the outcome is... well, you'll have to read that for yourself. I love this story!” – Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, WA)
About the Author
A first-generation German American, Ellen Marie Wiseman discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in NYS. She is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into twenty languages. Her debut novel, THE PLUM TREE, is loosely based on her mother’s stories about growing up in Germany during the chaos of WWII. Bookbub named THE PLUM TREE One of Thirteen Books To Read if You Loved ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. Ellen’s second novel, WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND, was named a Huffington Post Best Books of Summer 2015. Her third novel, COAL RIVER, was called "one of the most "unputdownable" books of 2015" by The Historical Novel Review.
THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN, was named A GREAT GROUP READS Selection of the Women’s National Book Association and National Reading Group Month and a Goodreads Best Book of the Month. THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR was an instant New York Times Bestseller. Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and a spoiled Shih-tzu named Izzy. When she’s not busy writing, she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren. Find Ellen on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/EllenMarieWisemanAuthor WEBSITE