Fans of Caroline Leavitt will relish this rich, complex novel born of the author’s own loss and grief, about how one can overcome tragedy through bravery and self-discovery.
Cassidy Morgan’s life has always followed a carefully laid track: top education, fulfilling career, and marriage to the love of her life, Owen. The next logical step was starting a family. But when a late-term miscarriage threatens to derail everything she’s worked so hard for, she finds herself questioning her identity, particularly what it means to be a mother. Unable to move past her guilt and shame, she realizes there’s more to fix than a broken heart. Grief illuminates the weaknesses in her marriage and forces her to deal with her tumultuous relationship with her own mother.
Cassidy hopes her work as a veterinarian specializing in equine reproduction will distract her from the pain but instead finds that one of the cases she’s working on shines a spotlight on the memory of her unborn son. For once in her life, Cassidy is left untethered and wondering why she wanted to become a mother in the first place.
Then the unexpected happens when Cassidy becomes pregnant again. But the joy over her baby is tempered by her fear of another loss as well as her increasingly troubled marriage. Now, she must decide whether to let her pain hold her back or trust that there’s still something to live for.
What We Carry is a thought-provoking response to the author’s own miscarriage and lack of fiction surrounding the topic, that she and other women in her situation crave.
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Jimmy and Wren Knight seem to have the perfect life. Their young romance blossomed into a lifelong bond that is the envy of all those around them. But beneath the surface of every marriage are fissures that are sometimes too deep to repair, no matter how strong the base. The couple's desire to start a family is shaken by Wren's ovarian cancer diagnosis. Wren refuses to let this stand in the way of making a baby, but Jimmy will stop at nothing to make sure Wren is cured.
After a fatal accident, James awakens as a ghost in the Knights’ living room. He soon realizes that Jimmy Knight is a different version of himself- one that is married to his high school sweetheart and working at his father's law firm. Somehow James isn’t haunting his past life, but a life that could have been.
In a different time and place, Karen hoped that suicide would end her suffering. Much to her dismay, she finds herself sentenced to an afterlife of watching an alternate version of herself. In this life, she is loved and seems happy, but is still battling the cancer she gave up everything to escape.
Karen assumes she is alone in this parallel limbo until she meets James, also haunting the wrong life. Although he is different from the boy she once loved, he is the same in all the ways that matter. Together they find the strength to forgive past mistakes and allow themselves to be loved again. It seems they finally have a chance at happiness. However, events in the real world are spiraling out of control and although the ghosts cannot change the world they haunt, it becomes apparent that their redemption depends on the survival of Jimmy and Wren’s marriage.