When She Returned by Lucinda Berry
This intriguing thriller is a compulsive page turner. I couldn't put it down and had to find out the truth.
One woman’s reappearance throws her family into turmoil, exposing dark secrets and the hidden, often devastating truth of family relationships.
Kate Bennett vanished from a parking lot eleven years ago, leaving behind her husband and young daughter. When she shows up at a Montana gas station, clutching an infant and screaming for help, investigators believe she may have been abducted by a cult.
Kate’s return flips her family’s world upside down—her husband is remarried, and her daughter barely remembers her. Kate herself doesn’t look or act like she did before.
While the family tries to help Kate reintegrate into society, they discover truths they’ve been hiding from each other about their own relationships. But they aren’t the only ones with secrets. As the family unravels what happened to Kate, a series of shocking revelations shows that Kate’s return is more sinister than any of them could have imagined.
4 / 5
What I liked about this book was how Berry dived from the present day when Kate is discovered back to the time Kate disappeared. The reader doesn't have to wait long to find out what had happened to Kate or the why but even with this in mind, I still didn't know how this was going to end. This is the reason I gave the story a rating of four. The story is compelling and real on so many levels. I loved the way the story ended. I won't explain why as I do not want to spoil it for others.
The book is split between the before and after but it is also voiced in the perspectives of Kate, her daughter Abbi and Meredith, Scott's wife. Scott was married to Kate before she disappeared.
Berry delved into the mind of someone who has been brainwashed by a cult so very well. I would have liked to have heard Scott's voice in the story. We get to know him through the other character's perception of him. He loved Kate so very much and spent years of his life trying to find her. He must have been so conflicted when Kate returned as he was married to Meredith but we don't really get the turmoil because his voice is ignored. This is the only reason why I haven't given this story a rating of five. I felt almost like there was something missing. Scott is such an integral character but he wasn't given enough depth as Berry had with the other characters. I wanted to know his emotions and his feelings but they couldn't really come through effectively.
I liked how we got to know the thoughts and feelings of the 'new' wife but I found Meredith too suspicious of Kate without initial cause. I guess jealousy could have been the contributing factor. It must be an impossible situation to be in but I think she was completely unrealistic with her expectations of the circumstance she was in. She was slightly delusional in the belief that Kate was not part of their family. Again, I'm not sure whether it was just jealousy which was clouding her judgement.
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend a read.