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The Girl Who Came Back    by Susan Lewis order for
Girl Who Came Back
by Susan Lewis
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Susan Lewis has long addressed tough contemporary topics in familial life and relationships with great heart and sensitivity. She takes on an especially gut wrenching one in The Girl Who Came Back - a mother's reaction to the re-entry into her social circle of the vicious and manipulative young woman who murdered her own beloved daughter, a kind, thoughtful and creative young woman with a shining future ahead of her.

Lewis starts by showing us the killer as a young girl, the apple of her father's eye, though her mother had serious concerns about her personality, concerns which turned out to be justified. Sixteen years later we meet a reclusive Jules Bright, still devastated by what has happened to her family. On her doorstep is Andee Lawrence, retired from the police force, to inform Jules that her daughter's killer, Amelia Quentin, is being released and returning to one of her family's country homes less than four miles away! They both believe that the girl's light sentence was a farce, facilitated by her wealthy family's connections.

The novel moves back and forth in time as we wonder what happened to Jules' beloved husband Kian, a man always ready to help others. They had run a pub together (the reputedly haunted Mermaid Inn), their lives happily intertwined with the community around them. All that was missing from their idyllic existence was a child. And then, even that happened for them. Daisy was the perfect daughter, caring and sensitive to other's, like her dad. Unfortunately she met Amelia, who attached herself to Daisy's circle like a limpet, and Daisy was too kind to say no.

Amelia does return to the neighborhood and now seems obsessed with Jules, whose reactions are at times unwise. Fortunately she has solid support, from her own friends and Daisy's, all outraged by the return of the murderess. And justice does finally have its day, giving Jules some peace and an opportunity for a happier life.

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