Emily and Elizabeth spend their childhood locked in a bedroom and terrorized by a mother who drinks too much and disappears for days. The identical twins are rescued by a family determined to be their saviors.
But there’s some horrors love can’t erase…
Elizabeth wakes in a hospital, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak. The last thing she remembers is finding Emily’s body in their bathroom. Days before, she was falling in love and starting college. Now, she’s surrounded by men who talk to themselves and women who pull out their eyebrows.
As she delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Emily’s death, she discovers shocking secrets and holes in her memory that force her to remember what she’s worked so hard to forget—the beatings, the blood, the special friends. Her life spins out of control at a terrifying speed as she desperately tries to unravel the psychological puzzle of her past before it’s too late.
When I picked up Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry I didn’t have any preconceived thoughts about this book as the author was a new one to me, it was the book description that enticed me to pick this one up, I’m always drawn to books that explore the human psyche and Phantom Limb explores the very subject with both empathy and understanding. I expected a psychological thriller with twists and turns and bucketfuls of suspense, but what I never expected was to read such a raw and emotive tale that at times made for a disturbing and deeply tragic tale. I think it’s only fair to point out this book covers many themes, self harming, childhood abuse and mental health issues to name but a few, although while it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story, it may upset some readers.
Elizabeth finds herself on a psychiatric ward after the death of her twin sister Emily, she has no memories of past events apart from being the one who found Emily dead. Firstly Elizabeth has to cope with the loss of not only her sister but her best friend, but she also needs to confront her past however painful that maybe, if she ever hopes to leave the confines of a psychiatric ward. Much of the novel is told around Elizabeth’s time on a secure psychiatric ward, the author describes the scenes, emotions and characters in a very credible way. Phantom Limb is very much a character driven story so if you were hoping for a fast paced read this definitely isn’t the book for you. Lucinda Berry gives a very authentic insight into mental illness and how childhood trauma can affect a person years after the fact, she expertly uses her clinical experience to create a psychological thriller that on the whole makes for a realistic read.
Reading about Elizabeth and Emily’s traumatic childhood made for a very uncomfortable read at times, as you learn more about their past I couldn’t help but care about these characters and what happened to them. What I did find intriguing was how despite them being twins, each sister reacted very differently to their childhood trauma.This is a fairly short book and I read it in almost one sitting, as Elizabeth begins to unravel her lost memories it made for a tension filled read. Although I found Phantom Limb to be a dark and disturbing read, I did think it would have more twists and turns to truly mess with the reader’s head, for me this book swayed heavily on the mystery side. I wouldn’t consider this to be an enjoyable read due to some of the subject matter, but I would say it’s an intriguing read with plenty of mystery.
4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5
Print Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Rise Press (17 Jan. 2017)