On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents - she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane discovers, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then she falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise - but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world. Just when Jane has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision - stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth. Like Kennedy's previous highly acclaimed novels, Leaving the World, speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.