Book Review

Come Back for Me by Heidi Perks

come back for me

I loved Heidi Perks’ previous novel, Now You See Her, and I was thrilled to receive a copy of Come Back for Me ahead of publication.

A SHOCKING DISCOVERY.

A COMMUNITY WRAPPED IN SECRETS.

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body.

For Stella Harvey the news is doubly shocking. The body has been found in the garden of her childhood home – the home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the isolated island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets.

One thing rings true…

You can’t bury the truth forever.

Come Back for Me is set on Evergreen Island, just off the coast of Dorset.  It’s a small community, where everyone knows everyone else, and where there are very few secrets.  I love a small-town community for this kind of novel.  While they all know each other’s secrets, they band together at the first sign of trouble, and it’s difficult for an outsider to gain a toehold and to garner any pertinent information.  Even Stella, who lived on Evergreen Island until she was ten, is treated as an outsider, however much she would have preferred to stay on the island.  Returning as an adult several years later, she has many questions, and she struggles to connect with the residents, even those that knew her as a child.

The novel alternates between the present day in which we see the Harvey family as they are now, with flashbacks to 1993, just before the Harveys left Evergreen Island.  I loved the sections that were set in the past.  The reader gets to see the island and the events that took place that summer from multiple perspectives, and this adds to the mystery which at first seemed relatively straightforward, but that became more puzzling as I was given more information.  I think it’s incredibly difficult to present a mystery in this way, and I loved having my assumptions proved incorrect as I read on.  The present-day sections are of course a little different, and I loved seeing Stella trying to reconnect with her youth, yet also having to reassess what she “knew”, memory being a fickle friend.

Stella is a great protagonist.  It’s clear that she loved the island as a child, and all she has wanted to do since then is return to it.  With a body discovered in the garden of her childhood home, she decides that it’s time to get some answers to the questions that have been plaguing her since their midnight departure in 1993.  While her timing isn’t ideal given the ongoing police investigation, she is determined to discover what happened to her best friend, why they had to leave so abruptly, but also who the body in the garden is.  The plot takes quite a dark and completely unexpected turn, and I thought that this was a fantastic mystery with many questions to resolve.  The ending was both satisfying and surprising.

Come Back for Me is another fantastic novel from Heidi Perks, and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.  Published by Century, an imprint of Penguin Random House, on 11 July, Come Back for Me is available now in hardback and digital formats.

Many thanks to Rachel Kennedy for the early review copy.

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