What I Had Before I Had You - A Novel-logo

What I Had Before I Had You - A Novel

Sarah Cornwell

Written in radiant prose and with stunning psychological acuity, award-winning author Sarah Cornwell's What I Had Before I Had You is a deeply poignant story that captures the joys and sorrows of growing up and learning to let go. Olivia Reed was fifteen when she left her hometown of Ocean Vista on the Jersey Shore. Two decades later, divorced and unstrung, she returns with her teenage daughter, Carrie, and nine-year-old son, Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Distracted by thoughts of the past, Olivia fails to notice when Daniel disappears from her side. Her frantic search for him sparks memories of the summer of 1987, when she exploded out of the cocoon of her mother's fierce, smothering love and into a sudden, full-throttle adolescence, complete with dangerous new friends, first love, and a rebellion so intense that it utterly recharted the course of her life. Olivia's mother, Myla, was a practicing psychic whose powers waxed and waned along with her mercurial moods. Myla raised Olivia to be a guarded child, and also to believe in the ever-present infant ghosts of her twin sisters, whom Myla took care of as if they were alive-diapers, baby food, an empty nursery kept like a shrine. At fifteen, Olivia saw her sisters for the first time, not as ghostly infants but as teenagers on the beach. But when Myla denied her vision, Olivia set out to learn the truth-a journey that led to shattering discoveries about herself and her family. Sarah Cornwell seamlessly weaves together the past and the present in this riveting debut novel, as she examines the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the powerful forces of loss, family history, and magical thinking.

Written in radiant prose and with stunning psychological acuity, award-winning author Sarah Cornwell's What I Had Before I Had You is a deeply poignant story that captures the joys and sorrows of growing up and learning to let go. Olivia Reed was fifteen when she left her hometown of Ocean Vista on the Jersey Shore. Two decades later, divorced and unstrung, she returns with her teenage daughter, Carrie, and nine-year-old son, Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Distracted by thoughts of the past, Olivia fails to notice when Daniel disappears from her side. Her frantic search for him sparks memories of the summer of 1987, when she exploded out of the cocoon of her mother's fierce, smothering love and into a sudden, full-throttle adolescence, complete with dangerous new friends, first love, and a rebellion so intense that it utterly recharted the course of her life. Olivia's mother, Myla, was a practicing psychic whose powers waxed and waned along with her mercurial moods. Myla raised Olivia to be a guarded child, and also to believe in the ever-present infant ghosts of her twin sisters, whom Myla took care of as if they were alive-diapers, baby food, an empty nursery kept like a shrine. At fifteen, Olivia saw her sisters for the first time, not as ghostly infants but as teenagers on the beach. But when Myla denied her vision, Olivia set out to learn the truth-a journey that led to shattering discoveries about herself and her family. Sarah Cornwell seamlessly weaves together the past and the present in this riveting debut novel, as she examines the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the powerful forces of loss, family history, and magical thinking.
More Information

Genres:

Fiction

Description:

Written in radiant prose and with stunning psychological acuity, award-winning author Sarah Cornwell's What I Had Before I Had You is a deeply poignant story that captures the joys and sorrows of growing up and learning to let go. Olivia Reed was fifteen when she left her hometown of Ocean Vista on the Jersey Shore. Two decades later, divorced and unstrung, she returns with her teenage daughter, Carrie, and nine-year-old son, Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Distracted by thoughts of the past, Olivia fails to notice when Daniel disappears from her side. Her frantic search for him sparks memories of the summer of 1987, when she exploded out of the cocoon of her mother's fierce, smothering love and into a sudden, full-throttle adolescence, complete with dangerous new friends, first love, and a rebellion so intense that it utterly recharted the course of her life. Olivia's mother, Myla, was a practicing psychic whose powers waxed and waned along with her mercurial moods. Myla raised Olivia to be a guarded child, and also to believe in the ever-present infant ghosts of her twin sisters, whom Myla took care of as if they were alive-diapers, baby food, an empty nursery kept like a shrine. At fifteen, Olivia saw her sisters for the first time, not as ghostly infants but as teenagers on the beach. But when Myla denied her vision, Olivia set out to learn the truth-a journey that led to shattering discoveries about herself and her family. Sarah Cornwell seamlessly weaves together the past and the present in this riveting debut novel, as she examines the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the powerful forces of loss, family history, and magical thinking.

Language:

English

Narrators:

Karen White

Length:

8h 17m


Chapters

Free Sample

05:00

Introduction
Introduction

00:14


Chapter 1
Chapter 1

23:00


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

38:02


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

20:16


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

40:03


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

15:38


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

54:22


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

10:28


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

37:07


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

11:46


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

37:34


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

15:02


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

45:23


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

21:22


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

41:28


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

08:53


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

33:53


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

08:02


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

22:46


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

11:41


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

00:35