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The Ones We Leave Behind

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,136 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Diane picked up her mother’s phone. “How do you feel about your mother being let out of prison today after sixty-five years?” the reporter asked. Diane stared at her mother. “My grandmother is alive?” That one phone call hurled shock waves throughout the entire family.

1955 – Anna Bergman Craine’s life changes in an instant when she commits a crime of passion and is sentenc
Kindle Edition
Published September 8th 2020 (first published August 25th 2020)
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Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,136 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Susan (The Book Bag)
Can you even imagine finding out that your grandmother is alive after being told all your life that she was dead? And then to find out that she has spent the last 65 years of her life in prison. Inconceivable! So, of course, Diane has to reach out to her grandmother but in the process of listening to her story, and to her mother's version, she gets conflicting accounts of Anna, the life she lead, and how she ended up in prison.

We are transported to Anna's life in the 1950's as she shares her li
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great book

I really enjoyed this book. I've never read a storyline like this. While it's hard to comprehend how someone stays in an abusive relationship, I've read enough other stories and articles about it to understand the varied reasons why. Like so many situations, bad or good, you can't really say what you'd do for sure until you are in one yourself.
Sarah B White
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An Unforgettable Book

This is a book I will never forget. Anna is introduced to us as a poor child living with relatives. They were dirt poor, but took in Anna and her brother in and did their best to feed and clothe them. As Anna and her brother grew up, they began to think about leaving and making lives for themselves.

Anna left home after finishing school and she had high hopes for what her life could be. She married a man who was abusive and controlling. This book is actually the story of the
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Make sure you have kleenex!

I find it difficult to read books about abuse and abuse survivors. I don’t like to look that closely at my own life, I guess. That said, while abuse played a pivotal role in this story, the healing that was overlaid the horror served a much more critical role. It catapulted this story from a trite trope into a heartwarming and tear bringing story about the power of healing, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Very well written, and I cried at the end. Not every abuse st
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As always, another amazing read. I cannot say it enough. Deanna’s books are like those potato chips that you can’t eat just 1 of. When you read one of her books, you WILL be back for more. I have read every book since she began.

This story is quite impactful. Shows that no matter how well we think we know a person, even our immediate family members, we truly know very little.

This is a story involving a grandmother, her daughter and her granddaughter and her great granddaughter . A secret that wa
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Story

A story weaved through 3 women who dealt with abuse stories left me with tears despite the great ending. Diane who grew up in a dysfunctional family but still was attentive to her mother’s needs, answers the phone at her mom’s house. A news reporter (thinking he is talking to Diane’s mother Joan) asked how she felt about her mother being released from prison after 65 years! Thus begins Diane’s quest into the past and forming a loving bond with her grandmother. Anna tells her story
diane st. onge
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The ones we left brhind

The tears are running down my cheeks as I write this.
This is a beautifully written story about three women and how their life intertwined thru love and abuse.
The first never really knew family love, but endured many hardships from relative and husband abuse . Her characteristics were very loving and she learned to turn away from unloving behaviors until she couldn't take it any more.
The second felt she was the cause for the firsts troubles and couldn't face them
The third l
Kim Cano
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The lives of granddaughter and grandmother intertwine in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel of survival at all costs. As I read the book and lived in Anna Craine's shoes, I couldn't help but think of an older family member who had experienced the exact same thing. Thankfully, my relative managed to escape. Anna could not. What she did seemed the only solution to her problem in the times she lived in. I hope things are better for people in this situation in this day and age. This book was excel ...more
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Interesting story

Anna is released from prison after serving 65 years for killing her husband. Her granddaughter starts visiting her and recording her story.
The story is about poverty, alcoholism, and domestic violence that seems to be generational. As Anna’s story unfolds it prompts her daughter and granddaughter to deal with their own stories.
It is a good story but probably a bit too drawn out. I felt that many of the themes were used one too many times and that did not enhance the plot.
Joan mooney
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Much better

The first book I read by this author was a Huge disappointment. This one however was very good. Tragic story and a beautiful tale all in one. All about life circumstances, loss, sacrifice, unconditional love, bitterness, and forgiveness it was touching and sad. It was a story of unbelievable cruelty and a tender heart. It reflected how events of a tragic childhood can effect generations. Life was so unfair to women of earlier generations. It still is, but it’s getting better. This sto
Janis Rich
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How would you feel if you were in your fifties and found out a grandmother you thought was long dead had just been released from prison for killing Yo͏u͏r grandfather? This is where Diane’s story begins. And it is an unbelievably good story. Under the cloud of her mother’s disapproval, Diane goes to see her grandmother and learns the story of her past.
The story is complex and very well-written. It opens up lots of thoughts about times when women were secondary to their husbands. I cannot imagin
Darlene E. Lewis
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

I want to cry for Anna... she was an amazing woman who suffered so much loss, yet she was still an honest, kind, compassionate person. She didn’t become jaded or resentful. I’m so happy that in the end that she was able to feel loved and valued.
This is a great story and it was very difficult to put down... when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to stir their emotions in many different directions.
Kathy T
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great story

As a Genealogist, I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to run to Ancestry to look up these people!
Great story! wonderful characters. Some things have changed for the better, but abuse has not. Nor the way it is perceived and how women treated.
One error I found, 1950 (2022) and 1960 ( 2032) Census are not released yet.
This is the first book of this author I read, and won’t be the last!
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Georgia Wells
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lotus Bowles
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing

I chose a 5 star rating because I just couldn't put this book down once so started it. I really don't know how to express what this book did for me except to say I wish I could hear my own Mother tell her complete story. As much as I know I'm sure there were books before me. Anna caused me to remember Mom's hardships and how much she loved all her children, the sacrifices she made and the pain she suffered.
Carol Moore Kollar
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
When Diane visits her mother, she finds out she has a grandmother who was just released from prison after 65 years. Struggling with her own past and a man who betrayed her, Diane visits her grandmother to find out the events leading up to the murder of her grandfather. A sad story of abuse and the collapse of a family. Thankfully, there are support groups today and options for those in that position.
Shirley Funkhouser
Apr 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Best review ever!

This was one of the very best books that I have ever read. It lacked nothing. It struck one with its honesty. People can be good loving people, they make bad choices and live with regret for all the rest of their life. Bed things happen to good people. This book was beyond excellent. If there were ratings of 10 stars this book would have got them all!
Pam A
Apr 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book - could just sink into and enjoy. A thinking book as it covered three generations with intertwining similarities when even the characters didn't know. Good character development with graduated insight into each one and how they came to their thinking. Stayed up late one night to finish reading it. One of those books which your mind keeps going back to days after finishing to reflect on certain parts. ...more
Terri Mastraieni
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Woman's Story

This book was wonderful. It tells the story of what happens when domestic violence goes on for many years. It also shows the beautiful relationship between a woman and her newly discovered grandmother. As usual Deanna Lynn Sletten delivers a great storyline and fully developed characters. I look forward to reading more of her books!
Lynne Ford
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Ones We Leave Behind

The one’s we leave behind are really never left behind and this beautiful story is a perfect illustration of just that!!! The secrets and assumptions, the list of lies destroyed this family a bit deeper than the surface but truth, understanding, and love prevail!
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Book review

I loved reading g this book from beginning to end. It was heart warning & it took a lot of courage for Anna to stay with someone like William. Anna knew she had to defend her children & make sure nothing happened to them . Anna saved her children from monster person . Also a happy ending Anna was reunited with her family.
Feb 12, 2021 added it
I seriously didn’t want this book to end. I wanted to see where the story would go with the granddaughter. I cant imagine in my 40’s finding out I had a grandmother I never knew about or meet. And what the Grandmother went through and sacrificed for her kids just goes to show when it comes to a mother’s love there are no bounds
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love this author. This story is all about family relationships between husband and wife, mother and daughter, grandparents raising grandchildren, women in abusive relationships. But it's also about love, not looking back but facing your issues and then moving ahead. And loving the people in your life that make it fuller. ...more
Jill Derrick
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story of forgiveness

So loved this story and could not put it down after beginning to read it. So many things I saw that happened in a first marriage. How sad to see so many women live this every day of their lives. Yes, this story needed to be told I. Order to give women the strength they need to get out before it’s to late.
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing

What a wonderful read. This is about a Mothers love. What is in each of us to not only persevere but to rise about our trials we never stop learning. Hopefully for each generation to go and learn more than the generation before. Thank you for wrighting such a heart warming story out of a heart wrenching disaster
janet furgason
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing

This is one of those books that will stay with you long after you have finished. The characters are brought to life in a masterful way. You just have to remember that this was a different time and women didn't have all the options that we have today. It's hard to understand her actions unless you have ever been in a similar situation and then it is so clear.
Jeanette Pendergraph
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Heart warming book

Read for yourself. This book will warm your heart and make you sad at the same time. This book will hold your attention to last page. You will feel sadness for Anna wondering how she could have lasted so long in prison with no family. So sad. Ending will make up for the years lost but oh to have been Anna.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I tend to prefer historical fiction that teaches me more about major episodes in history. Not just how awful it was for women who were married to abusive men back from the Depression and since then. Not terribly inspiring.
Sharon Rudolph
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book

This book was wonderful!!! I was captivated from the very beginning. The characters and the storyline were gripping and heartbreaking. While my heart broke for Anna, the author did an amazing job with the storyline!
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Deanna Lynn Sletten is the author of MISS ETTA, THE WOMEN OF GREAT HERON LAKE, MAGGIE'S TURN, THE LAKE HARRIET SERIES, and several other titles. She writes heartwarming women's fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime. Deanna believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second ...more

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