When She Returned by Lucinda Berry (Audiobook)

Brilliance Audio

Audible Release: October 15, 2019

Listening Length: 8 hours 22 minutes

Narrators: Coleen Marlo, Lauren Ezzo, Amy McFadden

Genre: Psychological Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I purchased this audiobook on Audible.

Dr. Lucinda Berry is a former clinical psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma. Now, she spends her days writing full-time, where she uses her clinical experience to blur the line between fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche. Her work has been optioned for film and translated into multiple languages. If Berry isn’t chasing after her son, you can find her running through Los Angeles, prepping for her next marathon.

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.

“No one had told me it would be like this.”

Abbi’s life has been far from ordinary, but her dad has done his best. When your mom disappears seemingly into oblivion, it’s hard to define normal. After years, Scott has a ceremony to bury his missing wife. The casket is empty, aside from momentos. So when Scott, Meredith, and Abbi get news that Kate has been found alive in Montana with an infant, life takes a bizarre sharp turn.

TICK TOCK CULT OCLOCK! I found how Lucinda wrote about the cult and how Kate became involved and slipped into the folds well done. Lucinda described the emotional and mental pull, how Kate’s desires were stimulated, and how her emotions were played.

I was not too fond of Kate from the beginning. Everything about her made me angry. She did not come across as a loving wife or mother, and I found her selfish from the start. But she was intelligent, so I was a tad surprised when she fell hook, line, and sinker for the cult.

I liked Scott, though he had trauma (obviously) that hadn’t been resolved. We find out more about his trauma later, but he truly loves his daughter and wants to protect and keep her safe.

Abbi was a complicated character for me. I liked her, but there were times she made me angry. But she is also an accurate representation of a 16-year-old girl so that tracks.

Meredith was a solid character, and I liked her from the beginning. She was not emotionally invested in the same ways Scott and Abbi were, so it was interesting to see the situation from her perspective.

The various emotions were well portrayed. The buildup was excellent, and I enjoyed the alternating narrators and timelines. The plot kept me engaged, and as the story continues and more gets revealed, the more you will want to scream.

Lucinda Berry brings this novel to life in a way few fiction writers could- understanding the psychology and emotional and mental processing of being a cult survivor.

Berry is not afraid to write characters that make you sick to your stomach, and she did not hold back on this aspect! Fast-paced and well-developed, this novel will haunt you for many reasons.

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