book blog · book review

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

36600116A 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?

*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads


*I would like to thank the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been meaning to read a B.A. Paris book after seeing a lot of great reviews on her past works. Luckily I’ve been approved in NetGalley for Bring Me Back. I’ve read some mixed reviews about it and it only got me more curious about how I’ll find the story. Finn and Layla are very much in love and while on a vacation in France, Layla disappears without a trace. They made a stop at a service station, Finn gets out to use the restroom and leave Layla inside the car. But when he got back, Layla is gone. That’s the version of the story Finn told the police because the truth might incriminate him. Layla was never found. Years later, Finn has moved on and is engaged to be married to Ellen who happens to be Layla’s sister. But then he got a call that telling him someone saw Layla. And not long after, Russian dolls started turning up at their doorstep and some other odd places. Dolls that reminded Ellen of her missing sister. Finn also started receiving emails that are giving hints and taunting him that Layla is out there. Could she really still be alive? If so, what happened to her all those years that she’s believed to be missing?

So, since this is my first B.A. Paris book, I really don’t have any idea what to expect. Except, of course, I was hoping it to be really good considering the hype the author is getting. Well, this ended up as an okay read for me. I’ve said before that I like plots with missing persons on it and it impresses me how authors spin the story and give surprising twists and turns to make their work different from the others. Bring Me Back is a well-written novel, no doubt about that. It immediately drew me in, I was fully absorbed. I wanted to know what happened to Layla and what Finn’s got to do with it. Right off the bat, we know he couldn’t be trusted. And as Finn’s past with Layla and his present with Ellen were alternately presented by his viewpoint for us to examine, my opinion of him continue to dwindle. He seemed obsessed and just, well, horrible. For someone who claimed to be so in love with Layla, how can he be so clueless? And then, come Layla’s POV wherein she made light on what really happened to her the day she went missing and what is happening at the present. I was hoping it will also help me see why Finn was so into her. But, nope. She was as uninteresting as her sister, Ellen. Despite my best effort, I just can’t seem to connect to any of the characters. It doesn’t help that both Layla and Finn are unreliable narrators.

It started real strong but got painfully slow towards the middle. It helps that the chapters are short and thus it make for a fast read. The Russian dolls, while intriguing at first, get tiring after a while. There’s just too much focus on them for my liking. It’s also a little predictable so by the end, I didn’t find the twist shocking as it intends to. Said ending was improbable and would require a little suspension of disbelief, too. Overall, I still think Bring Me Back is a solid, well-crafted mystery thriller and I can see why people got different opinions on this. It may not be as impressive as I expect it to be but I still find it a good read.




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