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Official Website of New York Times  Bestselling Author

patti callahan henry

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The Story She Left Behind

The newest book from Patti Callahan Henry

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Coming March 4, 2025

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Inspired by a true literary mystery, New York Times bestselling author of the mesmerizing The Secret Book of Flora Lea returns with the sweeping story of a legendary book, a lost mother, and a daughter’s search for them both.

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Book Summary 
In 1927, eight-year-old Clara Harrington’s magical childhood shatters when her mother, renowned author, Bronwyn Newcastle Fordham, disappears off the coast of South Carolina. Bronwyn stunned the world with a book written in an invented language that became a national sensation when she was just twelve years old. Her departure leaves behind not only a devoted husband and heartbroken daughter, but also the hope of ever translating the sequel to her landmark work. As the headlines focus on the missing author, Clara yearns for something far deeper and more insatiable: her beautiful mother.

By 1952, Clara is an illustrator raising her own daughter, Wynnie. When a stranger named Charlie Jameson contacts her from London claiming to have discovered a handwritten dictionary of her mother’s lost langauge. Clara is skeptical. Compelled by the tragedy of her mother’s vanishing, she crosses the Atlantic with Wynnie only to arrive during one of London’s most deadly natural disasters—the Great Smog. With asthmatic Wynnie in peril, they escape the city with Charlie and find refuge in the Jameson’s family retreat nestled in the Lake District. It is there that Clara must find the courage to uncover the truth about her mother and the story she left behind.

Told in Patti Callahan Henry’s lyrical, enchanting prose, The Story She Left Behind is a captivating novel of mystery and family legacy that captures the profound longing for a mother and the evergreen allure of secrets.
Book Summary
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About the Author 

A New York Times Bestselling Author
Podcast Host ​and Co-creator of 

Friends & Fiction 

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times, Globe and Mail, and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels.


She’s also a podcast host, and one of those podcasts explores the background of her novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis. Her latest novel, Once Upon a Wardrobe, released last October, explores the stories in C. S. Lewis's life that we might see hidden in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Surviving Savannah, a historical novel exploring the true and lost to time shipwreck of the S. S. Pulaski was released last year. 


She is the recipient of The Christy Award “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for Becoming Mrs. Lewis

She is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast. Patti was also a contributor to the monthly life lesson essay column for Parade Magazine. She’s published in numerous anthologies, articles, and short story collections, including an Audible Original about Florence Nightingale, titled Wild Swan narrated by the Tony Award winner, Cynthia Erivo. 

A full-time author, mother of three, and grandmother of two, she lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama, with her husband, Pat Henry.

Her newest novel, The Secret Book of Flora Lea, is set outside Oxford in the hamlet of Binsey and is available now with Simon & Schuster Atria. 

She’s spent countless hours, and yet not nearly enough hours, wondering and reading and talking about C. S. Lewis, Joy Davidman, and their life together.


For more detailed info about Patti or speaking inquiries, please visit our  SPEAKING page.

About the Author
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