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The Return: A Review

The Return is the second book by Victoria Hislop and is a fiction book, mostly about spain and dancing. I have to admit I have no idea what genre it’s actually classified as. I was rather mystified while reading it.

I only read this book because it was lent to me and I thought it might be worth a shot. It was the only thing that kept me reading until the end.

Admitedly the book had a very well written account of tragedy in the civil war in Spain and it moved me. The writer did a reasonably good job of tugging on the heart strings. Unfortunately the plot seemed rather disjointed. The first 20% of the book was in present time in the life of a woman who while I felt for her I was only vaguely interested in her life. She didn’t particularly do anything special and didn’t seem that alive as a character for me.

The next 70% of the book was about the civil war and it was obvious where the link between the two was far too soon. Even knowing that the two seemed alarmingly irrelevant to each other. I guess I just didn’t care enough about the character in the present to care about why the story she was told of the civil war was important but it just seemed sad for no point. The last 10% back in the present seemed entirely pointless too.

On top of the plot and character issue I got increasingly frustrated with the way it was written. The editor of the book should be ashamed of themselves (and possibly the writer to) for the state of the book. There were changes in character point of view with no indicator to the reader leaving me very confused on many occasions who was doing what. This was especially bad during the civil war part when they switched briefly back to the present. There was no indication until you saw the name of a character not in the past but the present.

I also wasn’t impressed with a lot of the dialogue. The characters were very samey which is probably why I struggled to relate to any of them.

Over all if a struggle type war book is your thing you might like this book but it will leave most people just feeling sad without really knowing for sure why.