Review: The Return

The Return by Nicholas Sparks
Publication: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 9/29/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, NC. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.

Tending to his grandfather’s beloved bee hives while gearing up for a second stint in medical school, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . and yet, from their very first encounter, his connection with Natalie Masterson can’t be ignored. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road from his grandfather’s cabin. Claiming to be 19, she works at the local sundries store and keeps to herself. When he discovers she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues — until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have anticipated.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

Review: Nicholas Sparks’s latest novel, The Return, was my most anticipated autumn read. As a fan of his previous work, I had mixed feelings about this book. There were so many times I wanted to DNF this book in beginning, but I ended up finishing the book. Surprisingly, I liked the ending. First half the book is a one star, but I thought the second half of the book was four stars. The premise of the book seemed promising. I had two main issues with this book: 1) writing style and 2) main characters. In terms of the writing style, it’s told from male POV which I had no issue with, but often times the narration was tedious, most of the inner dialogue could have been skipped, and the dialogue between characters seemed forced and uncharacteristic. The second half of the book had more of the writing style that I’m familiar with from Nicholas Sparks and wished more of the book was written in this style. One of the biggest issues I had was with the main character, Trevor. Trevor was completely unlikable, too aggressive, and was trying too hard to be a southern gentleman when he isn’t one. It rubbed me the wrong way that he was basically stalking Natalie when he was perusing her. I also didn’t like that we barely knew much about Natalie and yet we are supposed to be okay with Trevor and Natalie’s sudden budding romance out of nowhere. However, I really loved the secondary characters, Callie, and Trevor’s grandfather, along with the mystery behind them. I was craving more of Callie’s story than Trevor’s. If you are a fan of his work, you may enjoy this one. If you aren’t familiar with Nicholas Sparks, I’d recommend checking out his previous books before diving into this one.

Rating: 3/5

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