by Jodi Picoult
Why did you choose this book? It was a gift because I read everything Jodi
When did you read this book? September 2014
Who should read this book? Jodi Picoult fans
Source: ARC from a friend
Here is a synopsis of Leaving Time from Goodreads
For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.
As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.
I have read at least a dozen Jodi Picoult novels, with mixed results. By ‘mixed results’ I don’t mean that some I enjoyed and others I did not, but instead that some are good and others are fantastic. This one is fantastic! This story is a little different than most of her novels in that it doesn’t center around a controversial choice to be made. This novel is more a murder-mystery, and there is definitely a twist at the end. The story includes a detective, a psychic, and a ten year old mystery to be solved; i.e. what happened to Jenna’s mom? Of course, with a psychic involved in the story, you do have to be willing to suspend your disbelief, much like Jenna and the detective, Virgil, because there are some supernatural events taking place.
The mystery was a real page turner, especially near the end of the book when everything came to a head! I could hardly stop reading! With Jodi Picoult, often it is the ending of the story that determines my experience with the book; whether the read was good or very good. In this case, even though the ending left me a little sad, I thought it was resolved very nicely.
But what really stuck with me during this book were the elephants! Jenna’s parents ran an elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire. They met in Africa, where her mother was studying grief in elephants and her father was gathering information to help him in running his sanctuary in the US. The descriptions of the elephants as they interact with each other and with their human care-takers really connected with me. The way the elephants were described as swaying together reminded me of elephant actions I’ve seen at the zoo. It is apparent that the author did detailed research while writing this book! The book inspired me to read more about elephants. They are amazing animals!
You can read more about Jodi Picoult and the research she did in writing this book on her website, where you can also find an excerpt of the book and discussion questions. And if you want to learn more about elephants, visit the website of The Elephant Sanctuary, one of the sites visited by Jenna in the novel, where you can view videos of the elephants at play.
Here is a sample.