Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Return

 ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  In the romantic tradition of Dear John, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the story of an injured Navy doctor—and two women whose secrets will change the course of his life.

Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he'd inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.

 Tending to his grandfather's beloved beehives, Trevor isn't prepared to fall in love with a local . . . yet, from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson that he can't ignore. 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. 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 to uncover the true nature of Callie's past, one more intertwined with the elderly man's passing than Trevor could ever have imagined.

 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.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Another great book by Nicholas Sparks.  A good storyline, fast read, wonderful characters, and a happy outcome.  I read The Return during my holiday break and zipped right through it.  A fast read that also made me feel good during the crazy times we are experiencing. 

I must tell this story about Nicholas Sparks though.....Back in 1996, I was in a Walden's Bookstore (anyone remembers that store?) and the worker suggested The Notebook.  It had just been released and she was up all night reading it.  I thought why not, I am always looking for a good book.  Well, I too read it one night and loved it.  A few weeks later, I was reading the paper and Nicholas was coming to Jacksonville to an independent bookstore about 1/2 mile down from my apartment.  I had never been to a book signing and decided to go.  There were six of us there, including Nicholas.  I was in such awe.  He even pulled out his wallet and showed us photos of his family.  Remember in 1996 we didn't have cell phones and carried photos in our wallets. 

Fast forward to 2001-2008 and I am living in SE Ohio.  An amazing bookstore called Books & Co. brings in authors all the time (used to love it and would go to so many of the events) and Nicholas drew in a crowd.  At my first Ohio Nicholas book signing, there were probably close to 100 of us.  By the time 2004 rolled around and I talked my mother into coming down from Michigan to attend one of his signings, we were number 342 and 343. Her favorite book was A Message in a Bottle. They stopped allowing people in after 400.  Keep in mind, my mom went 2 hours early to stand in line while I was at work.  She absolutely adored all his books too. Amazing how there were five us in 1996 at his book signing in Jacksonville to 400  plus all those turned away. He was also so kind too.

I mentioned my mom's favorite book was A Message in a Bottle.  She was on a schooner off the coast of Maine and put a special message in a bottle and tossed it overboard.  I happened to be in Cape Cod one weekend that summer visiting friends.  I played a very funny joke on her.....I picked up a postcard (remember pre-cell phone days) and told her I got her message in a bottle and would like to meet her.  I signed it N. Sparksucker.  She was so excited the day she got the postcard and called me and was reading it to me.  When she got to the end.....she figured it out.  She wasn't too happy, but there were a lot of us that got a great laugh out of it!

So you can see I have been a Nicholas fan for a long time, since the beginning! All his books are amazing and have a back story to them (that is the part I miss most - hearing him discuss how he came up with the story).  

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. His novels include fifteen #1 New York Times bestsellers, and all of his books, including Three Weeks with My Brother, the memoir he wrote with his brother, Micah, have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than fifty languages. Eleven of Nicholas Sparks's novels -- The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Message in a Bottle—have been adapted into major motion pictures. 

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