Reader Reviews

Reviews from Family
Reviews from Readers

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Reviews from Family and Friends

Because my book contains very personal, and controversial, subjects, I was concerned how my family in particular, but also my friends, would react to it. Their letters of support, therefore, have meant a lot to me. I have been blessed with having such incredible people in my life.

This is a review sent to by my sister, Annette, on August 16th, 2003

This is the story of my sister's life...about a quarter of much had to be left out for printing purposes, and it is a pity, but this book gives the gist of her life, and, of course, the core is about her breakdown, repressed memories surfacing, and her triumphant conquest of the evil which had oppressed her all her life.

I read the first very short draft about 5 years ago, and, through the long and, at times, very painful birth of this book, I have adamantly refused to read another word: I wanted to read the finished product with the eyes of a newcomer to the story.

Although I am aware of Linda's painful life, the writings hit me below the belt: I cried, whimpered and sobbed many times, and then thanked God for bringing her through her trials, battered and bruised, but WHOLE for the first time in her life. Our family will forever be in Robin's debt for his recognition of the reality of Linda's situation, the danger she was in and the determination to bring her through it and not take the easy way out by medicating her into oblivion; as he said, this would have sublimed the very real evil for a while, but it would eventually emerge again, and possibly have a greater hold.

Knowing what a very difficult book this was to write and edit, I am delighted in how it turned out: the prose style is easy for a reader to follow and absorb, with everything explained in layman's terms, and Linda's and Robin's narratives flow smoothly into each other. Linda's bewilderment, desperation and determination to survive while paradoxically wanting to die, and Robin's desperation to see her through to survival and his and the Ticehurst staff's deep anxiety for her are communicated very effectively and the narrative draws the reader into their world. One surfaces every now and then, dazed and surprised to be in the present, and then dives right in again!

I could not put "Out of the Dark" down until I read the final word, going without sleep, drinking gallons of coffee and using almost a box of tissues. My nose was red, my eyes sore, my chest ached, my brain felt bruised, but it was with a song in my heart, praises to God and deep gratitude to Robin that I closed the book.

The story is dramatic, heartrending, suspenseful, agonizing, amusing, interesting, thoroughly descriptive and evocative, and, most importantly, uplifting. It will hold the interest of - nay, spellbind - whoever reads it, be they adult or teen, male or female, Christian or not.

It should serve well in many fields: as a tool to show depressed individuals there IS treatment available, that they CAN come out of it with counseling and, yes, with medication as well; for those coming out of depression, that they will learn coping skills and WILL survive in their future life; for Christians, that they not feel guilty about seeking secular help as well as spiritual in finding the peace they seek; for families who have suffered with their loved ones, that they realize they CAN survive and go on.

My sister views her life as just this: as a tool to help others through their trauma, and she is very hopeful that her story will bring comfort to the suffering.

I give this book, the authors and editors an "A plus", and thank Transworld Publishing for their faith in Linda and Robin from the very beginning, and for the incredible support they have given them in this painful and, at times, very tedious process.

This letter was written to me by my niece, Deanna (on Chris' side of our family)

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Dear Linda

We so enjoyed spending time with you in Johannesburg. It is occasions such as these that always make me feel sad that family can't all live closer to one another. We hope it won't be too long before we see you and the rest of the family again.

I cannot begin to describe how incredible your book is. I could not put it down, and found myself reading into the early hours of the morning. You have written it so beautifully. You so kindly shared much of your life story with me while I spent time in America. However, reading in print the true horror of all you went through left me quite breathless at times. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. It must have been hard to relive all that pain again.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you. Thank you for helping me to understand depression. Never having suffered from it myself, I am ashamed to say that I often thought that people could "just pull themselves together". If only I had known how much people want to do that, and just can't. That lesson alone will ensure that I never disregard the enormity of depression again. Equally important was the destruction of the myth of a "loony bin". Not that I ever gave it too much thought, but I did imagine it to be a place worse than prison. I think so many people feel this way. However, reading your book, I realise how necessary and how wonderful such places can be. When I felt your desperation while you were home, I felt myself longing for you to get back to the "comfort" of the clinic. What a special place, so full of special people. Never again will I be able to laugh out loud at the jokes sometimes told about the "weirdos in the loony bin". Thanks for that!

Another important lesson for me was how very, very precious a happy childhood is. I still have to wake Bradley late at night to do a trip to the toilet, otherwise an accident is bound to happen! I so love picking up this warm little body, and then snuggling him back into his bed. The images I have of what happened to you at his age, make me want to cuddle, protect and love him even more. I will always have the utmost respect for you overcoming this horror - I am sure that you have walked the "goat path" that many others would never have had the courage to do! What an incredible man Robin Royston is. He truly was a blessing you deserved. You were also blessed with such a wonderful family. You and Chris are a wonderful love story. They too deserve so much respect for their endurance through difficult times. God did bless you with this special husband and wonderful children.

So often, when awful things happen to good people, I have questioned where God is in all the mess. Your book reminded me that He does come through for us, all in his own time. You clearly have a purpose. Your book will open the eyes and hearts of so many. I love the story of the fisherman and the boat. (Ironically it is also in the Steve Hamilton book). Yes, I think He sent you a lot of boats, but instead of choosing to miss them like so many others, I believe you clung to each one with all you could - they just weren't strong enough for you - just enough to get you over the next wave. I'm glad He finally sent you a big one!

My only criticism of the book, is that the photos of you do not do justice to how beautiful you really are!

Keep up that lovely smile, and fantastic spirit, Linda!

Thank you for all you have taught me.

Fondest love



Tanya, from Oxford, United Kingdom

June 16th, 2003

I knew that this book would be heartfelt and moving; what surprised me was how well written it was. This is not the sort of book I would usually read, but the moment I picked up the book I couldn't put it down. It gripped me from beginning to end, and despite its length I finished it in a matter of days.

It is a little like Dave Pelzer's books, but I felt that it had more appeal because of the narrative style. It is told half by Linda, who is trying to understand why she is experiencing depression, and half by her psychologist, so you feel like you get a bigger picture of the events that are happening. It has the feeling of a detective story as you are trying to uncover the truth of the events of Linda's past, and that kept me turning the pages.

It is interesting as pure biography - the events of this woman's life as she grows up in Africa are amazing. But it is really as a thought-provoking look at what depression really feels like and the nature of abuse and how to deal with it that this book really shines. It made me both laugh and cry; it is told with refreshing honesty.

I would recommend this book to anyone who was enjoyed Dave Pelzer's books, and to anyone who has experienced or knows someone who has experienced the pain of depression or abuse.

This is a completely gripping and thoroughly moving book. I cannot recommend it more highly. Read it!


Reviews from Readers


I don't know these people, only in that I haven't met them personally - but they have been touched by my story, and I have been touched by what they have shared about theirs. I am deeply moved by the responses I have had from readers, and feel very privileged for any insight I have been able to give into some controversial and difficult subjects.

The following reviews were sent to Linda personally. If you would like to have a review added to this section, please do so here. Please include your name and location.

April 03, 2005
Reviewer: Jo Williams

I have just finished reading "out of the dark" I felt drawn to this book for the sake of my beautiful sister who is currently suffering the "darkness" that enfolds her mind. I feel this book was sent to me for her.This book is the most moving and emotional book i have ever read. It gives hope to those who are suffering and those who are caring. God bless "the child" for surviving this traumatic time,God bless Linda for having the courage to write this and god bless Robin Royston, the staff at Ticehurst and Lu and not to forget god bless Chris, Gary and Christy who showed true love and devotion and never gave up. I pray that my sister will find the light out of her darkness. I have given her this book to show that there is light and not to give up. Thank you Linda.

I truly believe that there are times in our lives when someone is sent as a messenger of love and hope.. I believe that person came to me for my sister in the form of a paperback.

March 02, 2005
Reviewer: Nina Ilsley, Cheltenham, Glos. England.

I have just finished Out of the Dark, and feel so strongly for Linda. The way the book has been written allows the reader to be in Ticehurst, or the summer house etc with Linda. I have a picture in my head of what Robin looks like. As someone who's life has been and is being affected by depression, I felt that I was in the book. I believe that everything happens for a reason (although we can't always see why at the time), and the result of Linda enduring and surviving so much, has ultimately helped people like me to realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that we are not alone in our suffering.

I hope the rest of your life is filled with happiness. Thank you Linda.

January 18, 2004
Reviewer: Sam, London, England

I have just finished ready this book and I have never been so moved, I was truly glad to see that Linda has finally managed to carry on with her life after the terrible abuse she has suffered.

As a mother myself I was appalled by her mothers actions and at times I had to put the book down, it is sad to think that this goes on and children have to suffer in silence.

I think Gary's poem at the end is beautiful.

September 13, 2004
Reviewer: Elaine Wyllie, South Wales, UK

Dear Linda,

I want to let you know that I (and no doubt all your readers) have a great sense of love and compassion for the child Linda and others in similar situations. Don't we all wish we were the lady in the floral dress but with the ability to protect you. Hopefully this love will go out into the world and have a positive effect in some way. I loved Gary's poem to you - I cried and cried with the joy of it, and how wonderful you could both share it with the world.

September 2, 2004
Reviewer: Sue Bennett, Wirral, Merseyside, United Kingdom

I am in the process of reading 'Out of the Dark' and have never felt so touched by a book since 'A Child called It'. I am fighting ghosts from the my childhood and reading your book in some ways is like reading about myself, the feelings you felt in the early days of your therapy I feel now. I feel that maybe I have hope after reading just a fraction of your book. Thankyou for sharing it with us all.

August 29, 2004
Reviewer: Denise Taylor, Nottingham, England

I have just finished "out of the dark" I could not put it down. I have no idea what so ever how anyone could do this to any child let alone their own. I am so glad Linda and her family have come through this and hope it doesn't affect her children's lives anymore than it has already. I have passed the book onto my 16 year old daughter who asked for it after me then there is a long line of people who want to read it after. I also found it very comforting to visit the web site and see that Linda is still surviving and although probably will never get over it but at least can come to terms with it and get on with her life. She and her family deserve every happiness.

August 28, 2004
Reviewer: John Wilson, Location not given

I have just finished reading ‘Out of the Dark', having bought it two days ago: I was unable to put the book down! I have suffered from depression all my life and underwent a complete breakdown six years ago since when I have struggled to deal with the problems that surfaced. You described so perfectly the ever-present ‘friend' that suicide becomes, a fact that ‘just is'. It is such a ‘known' that one never stops to question the validity of the belief. Your book has hit me hard: at last here is someone who really understands, yet who has been brave enough to go through the fires of hell in order to come through and out the other side. I now have faith that I, too, shall find healing. I also cannot remember the first years of my life, yet I ‘know' I am worthless and unworthy of love. I realise after reading ‘Out of the Dark' that this may well be related to my father's dying when I was just eighteen months old, and a repression of all the understandable emotions that must have surrounded me and my family.

This is an absolute ‘must' of a read for anyone, both those who suffer from depression and those who suffer from the effects of having it within the family.


August 27, 2004
Reviewer: Helen Lynch, Skelmersdale, England

Linda, I have just finished reading your book "out of the dark". I could not put the book down, I was totally lost in your incredible story. What a journey you to had to take to acheive the happiness you so much derserve. I wish you and your family peace and happiness for a long time to come.

August 18, 2004
Reviewer: Nicky Whittle, Birmingham, England

I have just finished your book and I don't really know what to say. You are the bravest woman I know. I suffer from depression and think about ending things but after reading your book and how you have come to deal with things I feel so insignificant with my problems compared to yours. Your book must have been so hard for you to write but I am so glad you did you are an inspiration to every woman that walks this earth.

August 02, 2004
Reviewer: Sonia de Blaquiere, Wiltshire, England

I have just finished your book and somewhat feel empty. I was so eager to reach the conclusion but again at the same time not wanting the pages to end. The book was spellbounding from two perspectives. It was almost as if I was on the journey with you. I was relieved that the abuse was not from your father as you seemed to have a close relationship with him. I did not want that to be tarnished, I was wondering what became of your father, as you mention your mother's death?


I was brought up in Africa, Malawi, in the 1970's and 80's and found the way you touched on that time brought back so many memories for me. Many of the smells and sounds were familiar to me as a child in Africa. I also remember the soilder ants and a ring of fire around the house. I was glad that you went back it must have been a good part of the healing process. I admire your faith which ultimately seemed to end the nightmare for you.

I imagine that depression really never leaves you but you establish coping mechanisms to deal with it. I wonder what your family, your father and brothers and sister think of your book and what lies within, it must have been a shock for them also.

I just felt that I needed to contact you and thank you for the book it certainly makes you feel grounded in your own life. I wish you every sucess in your new life and whatever the future has to hold.

June 14, 2004
Reviewer: Jayne Westwood

I saw Out of The Dark advertised in a book magazine a few weeks ago and thought I would like to read it. Having cried all the way through Dave Pelzer's childhood account I thought I would find the story moving in the same way but this story also interested me as I hoped to gain some understanding about depression, something that has touched my life and several of those around me too, although never in such an extreme way as in Linda's traumatic life.

Having picked up a copy of the book last week I began my read on Friday evening and struggled over the weekend to find as much time as I could to follow Linda's journey. Even when I only had 2 minutes to myself, I picked up the book to progress just a few more pages. The book was finished in tears this morning (Monday) and as soon as I was able I went to Linda's website. I am so pleased to find a forum where I can express my utter admiration for Linda and Robin in what you have achieved and to the pair of you with Michael, in how you have managed to tell your story and involve your reader in every milestone, every memory, every moment of despair.

I have the utmost respect for all of you and am thankful that you were able to experience the love and support of your wonderful family, friends and your faith to not just bring you through your harrowing past, but create what I hope is a wonderful present and future for you all.

June 07, 2004
Reviewer: Susan Fenning, Whitstable, Kent, UK

Just wanted to say that this book was so gripping, that I actually felt as if I was taking that journey with both Linda and Robin. I'm so glad it had a happy ending.


Reviews from

READ IT AND WEEP!, February 15, 2004
Reviewer: Mark Lindsey from Northampton, England

I cannot remember ever having been moved to tears by a book before - by Chapter Three to be precise. If this was a work of fiction it would be simply brilliant, but as a biographical piece, which it is, it is quite breathtaking. This is a traumatic journey of discovery following the author's, apparently sudden, onset of depression. The chapters are alternately written by Linda Caine and her psychologist, which helps to highlight the difficulties encountered, particularly by the latter, in trying to establish the cause of Linda's condition. Truly inspirational.

An Incredible Book, January 29, 2004
Reviewer: A reader from Long Beach, CA United States

This book is heartbreaking, uplifting, inspiring and empowering all while telling the true story of Linda Caine's struggle with a depression that is vividly described as a "darkness" within her. The book is written in intertwining sections written by Linda and her psychotherapist, Robin Royston. This proves for an interesting dual-perspective narrative, which makes it very fascinating to read.

Linda's story really grabs you as you read it. It is incredible when you read this book to remind yourself it's all true. It's not a story in the fictional sense- Linda lived it all. It is truly inspiring, brought me to tears on many occasions, and helped me come to terms with things in my own life.

To anyone who feels, I would highly recommend this book.

Indescribable..., December 17, 2003
Reviewer: Llennett from UK

This book has left me speechless. It is one of the most powerful and moving books I have read. It moved me to tears. I have just finished it tonight and I cannot find the words to describe how amazing this book is. I really admire this woman and really look up to her, she has been through a lot!!



Reviews from, The English branch of amazon:

.... Into the Light, December 5, 2003
Reviewer: Jess from London, England

This book is one of the best i've ever read. The emotional pain Linda Caine went through - i wanted to reach out to her so much. The desciption of Africa was beautiful and although her life was ful of pain, the way it was told really gripped you. One of the reason i liked it so much was that i could relate to it in many ways. However, even if you have never been depressed it is beautifully written and an excellent book. Linda was obviously very lucky to have such a good, dedicated shrink like Robin. I strongly recomend this book to anyone - i couldn't put it down and i was reluctant to return it to the friend i had borrowed it off!

Snails paced book, September 3, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from Camelford, Cornwall United Kingdom

From the title I expected a hard hitting tale of a womans struggle with her past. I was not dissapointed.... eventually. I know the road to recovery is a long one, but this book was almost over by the time it arrived at any serious content, and whilst I feel for Linda's pain, the book belittles her journey by constant repetion and a bland narrative. I was not drawn into this book as I thought I would be, as I was with the Pelzer series, I was, frankly, bored. So bored, in fact, that I have not yet read the last 20 pages or so. I really do not care about the characters from the narrative, and have no empathy. Shame, I was hoping for more......

In reply to 'Snails paced book', September 7, 2003
Reviewer: tx72 from From the U.K.

Having read this book, I'm baffled by your assertion that "this book was almost over by the time it arrived at any serious content"

I found the narrative style very easy to read and the subject matter anything but not serious throughout the book. Definitely recommended

(Please note: in the review on the word ‘not' had been left out of the last sentence. This reviewer then contacted me and told me that he could not get back onto the site to edit it. He was embarrassed that his mistake caused the meaning of the sentence to be the opposite of what he wanted to say)

a beautiful and courageous lady, August 30, 2003
Reviewer: angelus188 from ireland

i found the story to be harrowing,sad,beautiful and heartwarming all wrapped in one.linda is so courageous and has gone through so much in such a short life time.having been sexually abused myself as a child i can understand the pain she went through,tho mine was not as severe has her i have beaten my demons and with the help of family,friends and my husband i have survived.well done to her support system,her husband,children and Dr royston.god bless you all

a truly riveting story, August 30, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from Ireland

being a child of sexual abuse(tho not as severe as Linda's situation)i take great comfort in the knowledge that linda has beaten her demons like i also did.....she is a truly remarkable lady.she has a wonderful family that have supported her throughout her ordeal and a wonderful support system with robin,linda,roger and the other staff at was the love of them all and her faith in god that pulled her through.

though a harrowing story it is an uplifting,sad,happy and at times heart warming.may god bless them all.

An Amazing Book!, August 13, 2003
Reviewer: Jason Williams

This is the kind of book that you read and cannot forget. Linda has obviously had a fascinating life, which has been filled with horror, love and ultimately triumph. Her description of her early life in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)is vivid and amazing. I just could not put the book down, and absorbed every page. Linda's life spans 3 continents, and she has seen and experienced more than 3 people could ever have gone through in one life time. The ending left me shoked, drained and tearful. I did not know whether to cry or shout for joy.

A book of deep honesty, July 31, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from Ticehurst, East Sussex

This is a review of a book only half read, but already I am ordering copies for selected friends, and my night will be no doubt cut short by reading.

I took it to hand only this morning, on a day off, and could not put it down until the gripping story has arrived at a little island of safety whilst the drama of what can emerge from underneath wanting to die and feeling already dead inside is still unfolding, moving upward those ever winding narrow goat-paths of human life.

What touches me most in Linda Caine's and Dr Royston's book is its deep honesty.

I have been fortunate to have been working at the hospital in Ticehurst for a while, some years after Linda had been treated there. And it is heart-warming to meet some unique characters who have been still working there in my time. I am most moved to find them by name, described as they are, and I remember having had good talks myself to unforgettable people I met there on that treetrunk by the hedge which must have since slowly rotten away.

But what faszinates me most in this book is how it is woven together from two voices narrating: the sufferer and her psychiatrist-psychologist. The amazing transitions between the voices and the honesty with which the doctor himself emerges as a real person with a private life and difficulties of his own!

In psychiatry I have met people who are equally helpless in facing the great inner darkness that is descending on them, and felt the worry on the edge of despair about them, for truly the key to healing from deepest trauma is inside each and every one of these most threatened of lives, and nothing, nothing seems to help but honest caring partnership between the human being in the position of the patient and the other one who is lucky to be on the other side, in the position of the caring professional.

An amazing book. Highly recommended.

Hope from Despair, June 9, 2003
Reviewer: Lyn Clarke from Enfield, Middlesex United Kingdom

Linda Caine and Robin Royston have achieved something remarkable in this book. The ability of the reader to know what is happening to the patient and to know what the thoughts and feelings are of the man treating her is both illuminating and unnerving. Whilst unsparing in it's portrayal of depressive illness it is never bleak or hopeless. Of course we know that Linda survives her illness because she is the co-author of the book, but the tension that her story creates, 'will she survive this or won't she?' has enormous impact.It is much more than about whether she succeeds in dying or not; it is whether she can survive with her spirit intact, she does so and grows throughout the whole experience.

I have to say that in parts the indentification with Linda is somewhat disturbing and at one point so close was the association with her experience that I thought I would faint!

She has been able to put into words what many of us who either do, or have suffered from, depressive illness struggle to describe. It is an immensely powerful, disturbing and yet utterly compelling read. Don't be afraid of it, it will leave you exhausted emotionally but absolutely exhilarated. The subject may be depression but it is never depressing to read. Grab it, read it, enjoy it!

Best ever read, May 29, 2003
Reviewer: Joanne Green from Maidstone, Kent United Kingdom

I have never read anything so heart rendering and emotional. This story of Linda and her life had me in tears. I am a mother and I can not imagine how any mother could put her child through such torchure and pain both mentally and physically. I can not comprehend how she must have felt just a little innocent girl being put through such cruel and callous acts.

I am so pleased for Linda and her family to see they came through it all and are living a happy life. If anyone deserves to Linda does.

Unbelievable, May 17, 2003
Reviewer: anitamcskimming from derby, derbyshire United Kingdom

This book is amazing. I could not put it down. So well written considering it's contents and has a happy ending. What that poor women went through. It gives inspiration to all who read it that life can rwally be that bad and come out the other side.

Powerful - unforgetable, May 3, 2003
Reviewer: chelleblock from Brentwood, Essex United Kingdom

Once I started reading this book I became engrossed in Linda's life and what she was going through, like Dr Royston said to her about being on a goat path and not knowing where it is leading them to, I felt I was going through along it with them.

Linda has had the most traumatic and fascinating life, for personal reasons I can relate to a lot of it and feel that many people will be able to relate some parts of her life to their own, especially anyone that has struggled with any kind of depression or problems in their life.

It is not a book I will forget easily as I did become so engrossed in it. I think it was written outstandingly and will become a very talked about book. I honestly cannot recommend it enough to anyone who has suffered from, or knows someone who suffers from depression. Or anyone who is intrested in or is studying the mind.

Even if you do not qualify for any of the above and just want a really unputdownable read buy it now.

If you would like to send in a review of 'Out of the Dark,' please write to


Please note, you must specifically state in your email that you would like us to add your review to the reviews section. We will never post personal letters to Linda that we do not have the author's explicit permission to share.