Things We Left Behind Summary, Characters and Themes

Things We Left Behind is a small-town, second-chance romance novel by Lucy Score. The story follows Lucian and Sloane, childhood friends turned enemies who reconnect as adults. 

Lucian, a driven mogul with a dark past, and Sloane, a passionate librarian seeking justice, are bound by a shared secret and an undeniable attraction. As they navigate their complicated relationship, they must confront their past mistakes and decide if they can build a future together. The novel features themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the enduring power of love.


In the story, childhood friends-turned-enemies Lucian and Sloane are forced to confront their shared past and a reignited attraction. Lucian, a wealthy businessman with a vendetta against corruption, returns to his hometown to sell his childhood home, which is next door to Sloane’s.

Sloane, a small-town librarian grieving her father’s death, yearns for a family and a life dedicated to helping others. As she picks up the pieces of her father’s unfinished legal work, she finds herself entangled in a case involving a woman wrongfully imprisoned. 

Lucian, despite their strained relationship, offers his resources to help.

The death of Sloane’s father also reveals Lucian’s hidden acts of kindness towards her family, causing her to question her long-held animosity towards him. Amidst their bickering and mutual disdain, a passionate encounter sparks a secret affair.

Meanwhile, Lucian’s involvement in taking down a dangerous crime boss, Anthony Hugo, puts Sloane in harm’s way. When threats escalate, Lucian breaks off their affair to protect Sloane, leaving her heartbroken.

Sloane continues to fight for justice, but the threats intensify, culminating in an arson attack on her library. 

Lucian rushes back, realizing that the danger stems from Sloane’s involvement in the wrongful imprisonment case, not his own investigation into Hugo. He confesses his love for Sloane and vows to protect her.

Lucian’s commitment and unwavering support begin to thaw Sloane’s resistance. However, their newfound happiness is shattered when they uncover Anthony Hugo’s connection to the case and his romantic involvement with Lucian’s mother. 

Hugo threatens Lucian, demanding he drop his investigation or risk the lives of those he loves.

With time running out, Lucian and Sloane race against the clock to gather evidence against Hugo. 

They expose his corrupt network, free the wrongfully imprisoned woman, and finally bring Hugo to justice. In the aftermath, Lucian and Sloane confront their past, heal old wounds, and build a future together, culminating in their marriage on Christmas Eve.

Things We Left Behind Summary


Lucian Rollins

Lucian is a complex and multifaceted character driven by a desire for justice and haunted by his past. 

A successful businessman with a sharp intellect and unwavering determination, he is relentless in his pursuit of exposing corruption and protecting those he cares about. Beneath his tough exterior lies a vulnerability stemming from his traumatic childhood experiences with his abusive father. 

His love for Sloane, though initially buried under layers of anger and resentment, gradually resurfaces, revealing a deeply caring and protective side. 

Despite his flaws and inner demons, Lucian ultimately proves himself to be a hero, willing to risk everything for love and justice.

Sloane Walton

Sloane is a passionate and resilient woman who channels her grief into fighting for justice and helping others. 

She is deeply affected by the death of her father, Simon, and is determined to carry on his legacy of helping those in need. Sloane’s strong sense of right and wrong, coupled with her unwavering compassion, drives her to advocate for Mary Louise and pursue her own dreams of having a family. 

Despite her initial animosity towards Lucian, she eventually recognizes his love and support, allowing her to heal from past traumas and build a future with him.

Anthony Hugo

Anthony Hugo is the primary antagonist of the novel, a ruthless and cunning crime boss who wields immense power and influence. 

He manipulates the legal system for personal gain, profiting from private prisons and engaging in various illegal activities. Hugo’s actions threaten the lives of Lucian and those he holds dear, driving the conflict and suspense throughout the story. 

His cruelty and lack of remorse highlight the stark contrast between him and the protagonists, emphasizing the importance of justice and morality.

Mary Louise Upshaw

Mary Louise is a victim of injustice who becomes a symbol of hope and redemption. She is wrongfully imprisoned due to a corrupt legal system and suffers greatly while incarcerated. 

Her strength and resilience in the face of adversity inspire Sloane and others to fight for her freedom. Mary Louise’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of compassion, fairness, and the fight against systemic corruption.

Knox and Nash Morgan

Knox and Nash are Lucian’s loyal and supportive friends who play a crucial role in the Knockemout series. 

They provide a sense of community and camaraderie, offering guidance and assistance to both Lucian and Sloane. Knox and Nash’s own relationships with Naomi and Lina demonstrate the power of love and friendship in overcoming challenges and finding happiness. 

Their presence adds depth and richness to the story, highlighting the importance of strong relationships in navigating life’s complexities.


Overcoming the Past to Embrace the Future

A significant theme in “Things We Left Behind” is the struggle to overcome past traumas and move towards a brighter future. 

Both Lucian and Sloane are deeply scarred by their shared history, particularly the incident with Lucian’s abusive father, Ansel. This event fractured their once-close friendship and left them harboring resentment and anger for two decades. 

Lucian’s guilt over his perceived failure to protect Sloane from his father and Sloane’s anger at Lucian for seemingly blaming her for the fallout have created a chasm between them. 

However, as they are forced to confront their past through shared experiences, they gradually begin to understand each other’s perspectives and heal old wounds. 

This process of understanding and forgiveness allows them to let go of the past and embrace the possibility of a future together.

The Power of Second Chances and Forgiveness

The novel also explores the transformative power of second chances and forgiveness. 

Lucian and Sloane’s relationship is a testament to the idea that people can change and relationships can be rebuilt even after significant hurt and resentment. Despite their initial animosity, Lucian and Sloane find themselves drawn to each other, their underlying affection slowly resurfacing.

Through their shared experiences and vulnerabilities, they begin to see each other in a new light, acknowledging the pain they caused each other while also recognizing the love that still exists. They learn to forgive themselves and each other for past mistakes, allowing them to build a new foundation for their relationship. 

This theme underscores the importance of forgiveness and second chances in fostering personal growth and allowing for the possibility of love and healing.

The Complexities of Family and Found Family

Family dynamics play a crucial role in “Things We Left Behind.” 

Both Lucian and Sloane grapple with the complexities of their familial relationships. Lucian’s relationship with his abusive father is a source of deep-seated trauma, while Sloane’s close bond with her parents shapes her values and desires. 

However, the novel also emphasizes the importance of found family. Lucian finds solace and support in his friendships, particularly with Knox and Nash, who become like brothers to him. 

Similarly, Sloane’s friendships with Lina and Naomi provide her with a strong support system and a sense of belonging. 

The novel suggests that family is not always defined by blood ties but can also be found in those who offer love, loyalty, and understanding.

Justice and Fighting for What’s Right

The pursuit of justice is a recurring motif in the novel. Sloane’s dedication to helping others, inherited from her father, drives her to fight for Mary Louise’s freedom. 

She is determined to right the wrongs of the past and ensure that justice is served. Similarly, Lucian’s work at Rollins Consulting is rooted in his desire to hold corrupt politicians accountable and create a more just society. 

This theme highlights the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity and danger. It emphasizes the power of individual action in making a positive difference in the world.