What is this about?: 12 years before the book begins Layla disappears, leaving Finn wondering what happened to her. He’s moved on, falling in love with her sister, Ellen and building a life. But then Layla returns — or does she?
What else is this about?: That’s all there is.
A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again.
Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.
As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?
Bring Me Back begins by successfully creating an uncertain atmosphere around Finn — we learn about his life with Ellen, and what actually happened that fateful night 12 years ago.
Finn’s chapters are revealing in what he shares, which constantly kept me on my toes as to what to think about him. That was a compelling part of the story because I found myself thinking about every word, every nuance of his and what it could mean. But that’s the beauty of BA Paris’ writing — she is able to build an atmosphere of uncertainty around Finn as he begins to find Russian dolls, something he knows Layla loved. The dolls and other things start happening which leave him wondering if she’s returned.
Upping the ante, is that Ellen, his new fiance, is beginning to receive Russian dolls as well, and beginning to wonder if Layla is back. That brings up uncertainties between the couple, by all appearances in love before the Russian dolls arrive, and Paris begins to unveil a side to Finn that Ellen doesn’t know. That looms over all their interactions and you almost wonder what if…
… However, the ending happened and undid all the wonderful, tension-filled writing from before. BA Paris is clearly an accomplished author, and she knows how to play with readers’ perceptions — but yeah, not the best introduction to her writing.