Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
A woman is found wandering through woodland, confused and severely undernourished. Police identify her as Mara Sitwell, who was just eleven years old when she vanished from her home nineteen years earlier. She says she was abducted and held captive in an underground cell for all that time. Her escape seems to prove miracles can happen – but not everyone is convinced. Tortured by guilt, Mara’s sister Lucia insists on taking her in. But Lucia’s husband, Damian is not so sure it’s a good idea. He suspects Mara is hiding a terrible secret – and fears the whole family could be in danger.
Mara is kidnapped at the age of 11 next to her sister’s tent, Lucia, who is 14. The story begins with Damian, Lucia’s husband, receiving a call from her saying that a now 30 year old Mara has been found alive. The sisters reconnect and Lucia urges Mara to move in with her, Damian, and their two children, April and Dylan, to settle into a normal routine and to develop relationships with her family. Mara seems a little off, upset that her sister has gotten married and continued her life after Mara was taken and sheltered for so many years. The story follows Damian and how he feels with Mara’s return, watching the two develop an unsettling relationship that leaves him untrusting of Mara, despite Lucia’s urges that he has nothing to worry about.
I found this story to be very well written. The chapters flowed smoothly into each other and I never found anything confusing, despite seeing other reviewer’s admit that they got a little bit lost after the first half. There weren’t any little twists in this book, something I tend to enjoy, but there was a very big turn just towards the end of the book which I found surprising and really loved.
The three main characters in this book are Damian, Mara and Lucia. Damian’s character was rather annoying and frustrating. Although he was written well, it was quite clear that we were supposed to pick up on little traits Damian possesses for future events that occur. He seemed very controlling of Lucia, his wife, and mentioned himself how he was excited to receive media attention now that Mara was found, as he had missed it when she was kidnapped as he didn’t know Lucia then. He was an egotistical character who didn’t see his faults, but rather projected them onto others.
Without spoiling too much (if you have read this book, you’ll understand), I will briefly talk about Mara during the first half of the book. If you haven’t read it, go and order a copy and find out yourself! She was a very exciting character to read and was extremely disturbing in a few scenes. That’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling anything, but Mara was written very well and I positively adored the thriller elements she created.
I would of liked to have gotten to know Lucia more. Despite the fact that she is a major character, we didn’t get to understand her or hear her side of the story. I think the story would have been perfect if she was written into it more as, what we did see, I enjoyed. She was being made to feel guilty by Damian for working too much, so I think it would have been good to see how she was feeling about him during all of this, not just how he was feeling.
Overall, I gave this book a four star rating. I thought the twist was absolutely perfect and extremely clever. I didn’t see it coming at all and thought it all flowed very smoothly. It was a very smart transition and had me desperate to finish the book to see how it ended. I think some additions to Lucia’s character would have improved the book for me, I feel like I was taunted with her character and didn’t really get to know her that well, and would have liked the thriller elements to be played up a little more. The second half of the book if you will seemed a tad forced at first, but picked up very quickly after.