Author: Ellen Marie Wiseman
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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 Shutter Island in this gripping narrative of social injustice, survival, and a young woman determined to find her sister.
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 . . .
Advance Praise for THE LOST GIRLS OF WILLOWBROOK:
“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 Willowbrookj 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
Ellen Marie Wiseman is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed historical fiction novels The Orphan Collector, What She Left Behind, The Plum Tree, Coal River, The Life She Was Given, and The Lost Girls of Willowbrook. Born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in northern New York, she’s a first-generation German American who discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in New York State. Since then, more than one million copies of her books have been sold in the United States. Her novels have been published worldwide, translated into twenty languages, and named to “Best Of” lists by Reading Group Choices, Good Housekeeping, Goodreads, The Historical Novel Society, Great Group Reads, and more. A mother of two, Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and dog. Visit her online at EllenMarieWiseman.com