What’s it about?
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.
Phantom Limb is a character-driven mystery that begs to be read in a single setting. The shocking and shattering conclusion will make you go back and read it again.
Elizabeth’s story is written so eloquently it was hard to imagine sometimes that Phantom Limb is in fact a work of fiction. The story was mesmerising and the true beauty of this novel most definitely lies in the ability of Ms. Berry to write a story that felt like I was reading a true story. A story about self-discovery and tragedy with a protagonist who feels like she’s a normal and ordinary person until we delve deeper into her past and the author peels away the layers of her nondescript life one by one.
The story is in fact told by one part of a twin who seems to have her life quite in order despite having ‘survived’ an unimaginable traumatic childhood. She’s doing well in school and has a part-time job and now she even has found someone she’s interested in and she can imagine herself proclaiming the L-word to him. Her sister with whom she forms some kind of symbiosis didn’t have the same reaction though. She’s depressed and always struggled coping with the first 7 years of their lives. Elizabeth is used to her sister’s cutting and nursing her back to health, but this time she seems to have really gone too far. Elizabeth wakes up in a psych ward and learns that her twin is in fact dead. She thinks she’s there to cope with the loss, the emptiness of losing your other half, but she’s there to learn also about herself and why she doesn’t remember anything after she found her sister’s lifeless body. It seems the scars of their past run deeper than she ever imagined.
The talks to the doctors, with the other patients in the ward, with her new-found friend Rose who is dealing with another psychological problem, they all help her to get an insight into what happened. It felt very realistic and you can clearly feel the author’s expertise in the matter. The only remark that I might have about this novel is about the twist in the end which felt a bit like it was something fabricated especially to appeal to readers looking for the promised thrill and twist. I can understand it but it wasn’t really necessary for me and I mean that as a compliment really. It was entertaining enough for me without it.
When I think about a psychological thriller I kind of expect a super suspenseful read filled with tension, suspicion and doubt about multiple characters. This certainly isn’t a psychological thriller in the traditional sense but a different reading experience altogether. The pacing was very consistent and I felt many emotions while reading Phantom Limb. I felt my heart breaking when I read about what these twins had to endure, and later on I was experiencing and discovering everything right along with Elizabeth and that made me really connect with her too. She’s not dramatic or whiny but just investigative and sceptical and I admire how she comes to terms with her past. This novel is certainly packed with enough intrigue to keep you entertained from the first page to the last.
Overall, I’m very impressed with this novel and I certainly wouldn’t mind reading it again. I’ve always had a deep interest for everything relating to the human psyche so this novel satisfied me in every sense.
I received a free copy from the author and publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.