The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

A six-year-old girl is taken from her family’s garden in a very small town. She comes back as an adult years later in an attempt to reunite with her family. Naturally this is the dream of any parent who’s child has gone missing. After so many years the hope for their return still exists, but as the author points out in her book, the hope becomes unrealistic. The Girl Who Came Back is a telling of a child who survives a rough childhood without her biological parents until she is an adult and can find them on her own.

In chapter one, Kerry Wilkson throws you into the monumental moment of mom and daughter being¬†reunited. We don’t know any of the circumstances of Olivia Adams’ disappearance. I admit that I would have liked more from this moment. Placing myself in Sarah’s position, I imagine I would react much more intensley to the return of my missing child. Mom to mom, I related to Sarah. It took her just a moment to realize she was looking at her own daughter. In an instant, she knew her daughter had returned. Things only get more interesting as the story progresses from here.

Everyone knows everything in a small town.

Olivia’s disappearance made her an unfortunate icon of her tiny town. A memorial was placed in a tree at the school, kids were warned that if they weren’t careful that they could end up like Olivia. Even children born after her kidnapping “knew” who she was. So of course the question now is, what happened?

I was suspicious of Olivia because after telling her story to her mother, she doesn’t tell it again. When questioned by the police Olivia prefers to keep silent about her story. She isn’t a criminal and can’t be forced to tell, yet that begs the question, why keep it a secret? She develops a relationship with her mother despite not wanting to pursue criminal charges against those who kidnapped her; however, it is much more troubling with her step-dad.

Step-dad and his brother are suspicious of who she is and why she has returned. They don’t have a motherly connection to Olivia so they are not so keen to welcome her into the family. This causes reader suspicion around Olivia and definitely around the brother who is overly aggressive towards her.

I admit, I thought I had it all figured out by Chapter Two.

Call me a know-it-all, but I’ve read so many books that I tend to find themes and hints that point to the end before it happens. I was wrong this time. CLOSE, but still wrong. This is a book that kept me up till 1:00 am “turning” the pages (kindle). That is quite a feat because I value my sleep. If you are looking for a gripping story with more than one jaw-dropping surprise, read The Girl Who Came Back.

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