Nicholas Sparks | The Return

return nicholas sparks

The Book: 

The Return by Nicholas Sparks

Published September 29, 2020 by Grand Central Publishing
Date read: September 16, 2021

The Characters: 


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

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 beehives 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.

The Review: 

It’s been a long time since I read a Nicholas Sparks book! Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love The Return. I didn’t realize it was an insta-love story, which I always find unreasonable. How do the main characters think they’re life-changingly in love with each other after knowing each other for two weeks? Would any of you be willing to change your whole life for someone you met a week ago? I just don’t get it, and it ruins these stories for me.

I think bees are fascinating, so I loved the scenes with Trevor in the hives. The mystery had the potential to be interesting, but the answer was obvious right when it was introduced.

Trevor irritated me in the first half with how insistent he was that Natalie go out with him, when she was clearly reluctant. I just wanted him to let her have some breathing room! This turned me off from Trevor from early on, and I don’t know if I ever grew to like him. He even called her number to make sure she had given him the right one! Talk about a red flag–if anyone does that to me in real life I instantly block them. Trevor was also pretty creepy towards the teenage girl, forcing her to talk to him and answer his questions. He just didn’t come across as likable. He perfectly fit the “nice guy” internet stereotype!

Oh well, I’m not going to love every book. What was your last big disappointment?

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