Book Review | The Return by Nicholas Sparks


TITLE: The Return

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing

RELEASE DATE: September 29, 2020

GENRE: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction


In the romantic tradition of Dear John and The Lucky One, #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, 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. (Description from


I can always count on Nicholas Sparks to write a novel I can’t put down. While I couldn’t completely connect with these characters, like I’ve been able to with other books he’s written, the book was still enjoyable and he created some interesting and complex characters.

Trevor is a veteran working through his PTSD while also going through the pain that came with his grandfather’s passing. The mystery behind where his grandfather was when he died also gnaws at him. While going through his grandfather’s belongings and fixing up his house he meets many people in the town that he becomes interested in and curious about. One of them is a police officer named Natalie and a young girl named Callie.

Trevor really likes Natalie and wants to get to know her, but she’s very guarded and Trevor has no idea why. He makes several attempts to take down her wall, but once he thinks he’s gotten through there’s another wall. Trevor has his theories about why she keeps closing him out, but what he discovers is nothing he ever expected, but it gives him what he needs to let her go…at least until the end.

He also meets a young girl named Callie who lives in a trailer park near his grandfather’s. The fact that she seems so young intrigues him, but also that it seems she knew his grandfather. Trevor tries to talk to Callie about his grandfather to see if she could shed some light on the mystery of where is grandfather was when he died. But Callie wants nothing to do with him. Callie’s story and finishing his grandfather’s journey to help this young girl is what gives Trevor a new purpose and helps him keep his mind off Natalie.

In the end, they all end up where they should which is exactly what I’ve come to expect from a Nicholas Sparks book. If I look at his work as a whole The Return is not my favorite, but its still good. I would recommend it if you’re a Nicholas Sparks fan or you can connect with a character who is a veteran with PTSD.


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