The Return by Rachel Harrison

The Return

The Return
by Rachel Harrison


304 Pages

Published by Berkley (24th March 2020)

Purchase from | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Booktopia | Book Depository | Fishpond AU* | Dymocks | QBD |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Julie is gone. Missing. Lost in the wilderness after going for a hike alone. Everyone else believes that she’s dead, but not Elise, Elise knows better. She knows that it’s only a matter of time before Julie comes back, admonishing them all for having such pessimistic thoughts about her possibility of return. And she’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she turns up on her porch, with no recollection of what transpired in the time she was gone. What could have possibly happened out there to make her lose her mind and her way for so long?

I was so intrigued by the premise of this book and had to have it. It was a bit of a wait because no where really had it in stock at the time, but I managed to find an alternate cover edition. Then I forgot I had the book until I was perusing my bookshelf looking for my next read.

I read this basically in a day. Though I’ll admit, I did find the narration a little stilted and odd, but as I progressed through the book I felt like it really added to the off putting sense atmosphere that I was beginning to get from the story. So I’m wondering if it was actually a stroke of genius on Harrison’s part. The stilted narration and dialogue really lent itself to the standoffish nature of the characters and their issues with each other. It gave a sense of oppression and isolation for me which I felt really added to the creepiness of the story. I’ll admit, in the beginning there was some time jumps which I didn’t realise had happened, so initially, the writing style came across a little confusing to me, but once I fell into it’s rhythm the pacing was great and really kept me guessing and needing to know what was going to happen next.

The characters; I still don’t really know how I feel about them to be honest. None of them really came across as likeable, though I’ll admit, I was really rooting for them when things came down to the wire. The relationships between these characters is one that felt old and fraught with tensions and many unsaid things. Even though I’ve got no doubt that the characters all loved each other in their own ways, they also were each other’s biggest critics I think, and a lot of the dialogue was taken up by bickering, which got a teeny bit tiring some times, but over all it wasn’t a deal breaker. Each character was well written and I really got a sense for who they were as people, I did sometimes get two of the characters mixed up, so while I feel like they did have their own personalities, a couple weren’t overly memorable and individual from the others.

The story took a twist that I honestly didn’t see coming when I first found this book, but I’m definitely here for it. I don’t want to say too much on this front because I feel like it’s better if you’re not prepared for the way the story goes. I did have a slight feeling that it was heading in that direction after a couple of things happened earlier on, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up, however, this story didn’t disappoint. I will say that I feel like the reveal and subsequent conclusion of said reveal felt a bit rushed, but for the most part, everything made sense and was dealt with which gave a satisfying end.

All in all, I don’t want to say too much more about this book as I feel like it’s better going in not really knowing what’s going on or where it will lead. I feel like this a book that you’ll either love or hate, I don’t think there’s a middle ground really. If you like something that is good at setting up a creepy atmosphere while giving you slight unreliable narrator moments, give this one a go.

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