‘The Day She Came Back’ – Amanda Drowse

Victoria is eighteen, about to travel with her best friend and a little nervous about leaving her beloved grandmother Prim behind. Our opening quickly establishes the loving relationship Victoria has with her grandmother, and alerts us to the fact that there are no other family members in this relationship. So it is something of a shock at the end of the opening chapter when Victoria returns home to find her grandmother dead in her gardening chair.

What follows clearly establishes the shock and upset you might experience at the sudden death of a family member. Victoria sleepwalks through the days immediately following the discovery, unsure how to feel or act now her only living family member has left her.

You can only begin to imagine the maelstrom of feelings experienced by Victoria at this point. So when, at the funeral, a woman turns up who claims to be Victoria’s mother it really is hard to know what to think/feel.

The book follows Victoria as she takes on this news and tries to work out what to do. She has always been told her mother died when she was young, so it’s understandable to see her upset/anger/confusion/excitement at this point. She takes the decision to find out more, and then we watch as these two start to unpick the choices that led them to the position they are in, and to try to work out how to move forward with this new information.

I loved reading this, even though it was heavy on the emotional elements that in real life are so confusing. The author depicted the mix of emotions so clearly, and it was hard to feel anything other than understanding and compassion for each of those involved.

Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this in advance of publication in exchange for offering my honest thoughts.