Title: The Girl Who Came Back
Author: Susan Lewis
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK, Arrow
Date: February 25th, 2016
Source: from Publisher, for a review
Synopsis (from Goodreads): When Jules Bright hears a knock on the door, the last person she expects to find a detective bringing her the news she’s feared for the last three years.
Amelia Quentin is being released from prison.
Jules’s life is very different now to the one she’d known before Amelia shattered it completely. Knowing the girl is coming back she needs to decide what to do. Friends and family gather round, fearing for Jules’s safety. They know that justice was never served; every one of them wants to make the Quentin girl pay.
The question is, what will Jules do; and which of them – her or Amelia – has the most to fear?
„In her heart she knew what Aileen was thinking, it was what she was thinking too, but neither of them was prepared to speak the words aloud in case fate overheard and turned them into an unthinkable reality.“
This is the story about family tragedy.
This is the story about shattered lives.
This is the story about injustice.
This is the story about the girl who came back.
Starting this novel with a prologue, Susan Lewis introduces Amelia to us as a nine year old girl, but even from those few pages we can see what kind of person she will be in her future (and what kind of peronality she already has).
This story follows a woman named Jules. The first chapter opens with her finding out about Amelia being released from the prison, in that she was sent after commiting a crame that shattered Jules’ family apart.
As the story progress we follow two different times: present and the past (the past starting over 20 years ago, coming closer to the present with every chapter).
While doing my research for this review, I found out that the character called Aileen Lawrence also appears in another Susan Lewis’ novel, Behind Closed Doors.
However, two novels are both standalons.
Going into this book, I expected for it to be a quick read.
Nevertheless, as I was reading, I noticed that wasn’t the case.
The story demends you to take your time with it, to observe and take everything that it gives to you.
It took me over 50 pages to get used to Susan Lewis’ writing style and over 100 pages to finally keep up with all the characters.
While reading, you can see that the author really knows her characters. She gives you the whole family tree, friends and friends’ family, and it does take some time to place everyone in your head, as a reader (if I was smarter, I would place characters on paper to follow them better, but I managed to place everyone after some time).
I even bet that if you asked Lewis what were her characters’ hobbies, favorite food and all those little things that weren’t actually in the book, she would still have answers because she knew them that well.
She also did a lot of research for this book, and you can tell it.
At some parts, I tought about calling her out because I was sure something wouldn’t go that way because of law, but few pages after she wrote exactly what I was thinking of.
The same case happened when I was thinking about one particular situation, how it would be illogical to develop in the way it did, but I was running before herd again – few pages after, the author explained perfectly why and how.
Although this is a story in which the story as itself is important, what has a bigger role in this piece are inner struggels and how one can deal with an injustice that’s been done to him, how to deal with the tragedy that can make you lose yourself, to find the strenght when there’s no hope and to overcome the demons that call you for revenge.
As you probably figured out by now, this isn’t an easy read.
Anyway, it is still an enjoyable read.
There was only one time while reading that I felt like it was dragging, and it was closer to the end of the book.
There were three things I wasn’t a fan of:
- Magic realism element (if we can call it that (but there’s a big chance that I just couldn’t understand it)).
- Towards the end one particular situation that will be discussed in my spoilers section
- I still can’t, and never will understand Daisy‘s parents when it comes to Dean (my reason will be in the spoiler section).
I didn’t like how those three men took Amelia, captured her and wanted her to confess she’s the one who did it all.
In my mind, at that point, I was screaming at them AND at Lewis how that confession will mean nothing, if taken in those circumstances. The good thing is that the usthor did her research and wrote the same thing few pages after.
I can’t understand how Daisy’s parents were on Dean’s side. Yes, they knew him from his young age, yes, they are friends with his parents, but still: HE RAPED THEIR DAUGHTER! Nothing can change that!
He can say he felt forced, he was afraid Amelia would kill Daisy, but he still got hard and was able to rape.
And even if that all was true (it’s just his words against Amelia’s) he still didn’t try to use his force and actually stop Amelia, but like a weak boy he was, he submited.
He deserved to be in prison, along with Amelia.
And how could Daisy’s parents just forgive him like that???
Overall, this is a good read that will leave you with a feeling like you know more then you did before. It is a story that focusses more on the feelings then on the pace, although the pace is what activates those feelings.
If you decide to give this book a try, I suggest you to give yourself some time with it.
Also, it may take a while for you to get used to the writing style and to get to know the characters, but after you do it will be worth it.