Phantom Limb – Lucinda Berry

Phantom Limb

I have been on a bit of a psychological thriller bender, and Lucinda Berry is the queen of the psych thriller.

Emily and Elizabeth are twins who were born to a woman who never was meant to be a mother. There’s no father in the picture, however, the mother disappears for days at a time with men, and occasionally brings home her “special friends” who molest the girls.  When their mother is gone, they are locked in their bedrooms for the entire time. Most of the time when she is home, she still leaves the poor girls locked in their bedroom. At seven years old, Emily and Elizabeth subsist on baby formula and the occasional pizza that their mother brings home once in a blue moon.

The girls are finally taken to child services, and placed in foster care. The couple who adopts them are ill prepared for the specialized needs that the girls would have. Emily is free with affection and binge eats due to years of not having food, to the point that they have to install locks on the cabinets and refrigerator. Elizabeth is the opposite. She does not like to be held or touched, and barely eats. However, of the two, Elizabeth copes much better with the situation. Emily begins practicing self-harm at a young age, and this book follows the journey Elizabeth must embark on to find her sanity after Emily, in a fit of jealous rage over the fact that Elizabeth has a boyfriend, kills herself.

After finding her sister, Elizabeth is admitted to the psych ward for attempted suicide. She has no memories of anything after finding Emily in the bathroom, dead from a simultaneous overdose and slit wrists. Upon waking, Elizabeth asks to be released in order to attend Emily’s funeral, but is informed that Emily had died months ago, and the funeral had long since passed.

Follow Elizabeth through the twists and turns of learning about herself in the psych ward, the relationships that she has built with her boyfriend, her adopted family, and her therapist. Most importantly, what happened to Emily? How will Elizabeth shake herself out of the dissociative state and regain her memories?

Lucinda Berry brought her A-Game with this novel. The twist ending absolutely caught me off guard. If you’re looking for a read that will shock you again and again, this is the book for you!

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