Book Review: I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd

About the Book:

I’ll Leave You With This is a heart-breaking, funny, thought-provoking and honest novel about a brother’s legacy and the tangled bonds of sisterhood.

The O’Shea sisters couldn’t be more different.

Allison, an obstetrician, has always put others before herself and is torn between her job and young family.

Prizewinning film director Bridie hasn’t had work in over a decade, though her actor husband is on the brink of stardom.

Clare, desperate for a baby, is bereft when her wife leaves her after their latest IVF failure.

And Emma, the youngest, has turned to God to fill the aching loneliness in her life.

When their only brother Daniel is killed the four women drift even further apart…

Then, on the third anniversary of Daniel’s death, Clare proposes an idea: they should trace the many recipients saved by his donated organs. Perhaps their brother’s gift of life can bring them back together again?

Published by Penguin Random House Australia

Released 31st January 2023

My Thoughts:

‘The four of them were like planets in the solar system, occasionally hoving into view of one another, but always, always fixed in their own immovable orbits.’

Family stories are tricky beasts at the best of times, but Kylie Ladd seems to have a distinct knack for harnessing them into brilliant novels. Her latest, I’ll Leave You With This, is beautifully complex, funny, heartfelt, and filled with insight and compassion – everything I have come to expect from her.

Sisterhood is at the forefront of this story, and I loved the dynamics that existed between Allison, Bridie, Clare and Emma. It wasn’t just distinctive personalities providing barriers between these sisters but their age gap, which was significant from eldest through to youngest. The loss of their brother seemed to make this gap one that was difficult to breach. There were many things each sister didn’t know about the others, from the incidental through to the major. The uncovering of these things throughout the story made for a compelling narrative.

Of the topics covered within this novel, organ donation is at the top of the list, but other important issues are also woven through the characters’ lives. Infertility, self-harm, grief, work-life balance, sexuality, religion, and palliative care within the family, to name the main ones. It’s a loaded novel, but written with a deft hand, so never once are you left feeling like there was too much. Everything, and I mean everything, was well placed and woven into the narrative with precision and care.

It’s no secret that I love Kylie Ladd’s novels, I have done right from the start. But with such talent, who could blame me? Highly recommended, particularly for book clubs, this one is a five-star read. I feel it would make an excellent television series as well.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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