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The Return [Paperback]

Victoria Hislop
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (343 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

16 April 2009

An atmospheric, vibrant and moving tale of pain and passion at the heart of war-torn Spain, from Victoria Hislop, the million-copy bestselling author of THE ISLAND.

Beneath the majestic towers of the Alhambra, Granada's cobbled streets resonate with music and secrets. Sonia Cameron knows nothing of the city's shocking past; she is here to dance. But in a quiet café, a chance conversation and an intriguing collection of old photographs draw her into the extraordinary tale of Spain's devastating civil war.

Seventy years earlier, the café is home to the close-knit Ramírez family. In 1936, an army coup led by Franco shatters the country's fragile peace, and in the heart of Granada the family witnesses the worst atrocities of conflict. Divided by politics and tragedy, everyone must take a side, fighting a personal battle as Spain rips itself apart.

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The Return + The Thread + The Island
Price For All Three: £16.44

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; Reprint edition (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755332954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755332953
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (343 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Victoria Hislop is a writer and journalist. Her first novel, The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback chart for eight consecutive weeks and has sold one million copies. Her second novel, The Return, debuted at number one in the Sunday Times paperback chart.
She was named Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007.
Victoria lives in Kent with her husband and two children.

Product Description


'A well-researched and meaty follow-up to The Island' (The Times)

'THE RETURN may be a beach book, but it goes inland and rummages around in the cellars' (The Times)

'Aims to open the eyes, and tug the heartstrings, of readers... Hislop deserves a medal for opening a breach into the holiday beach bag' (Independent)

'Like a literary Nigella, she whips up a cracking historical romance with a dash of family secrets and a splash of female self-discovery' (Time Out)

'Meticulously researched historical narrative and imaginative storytelling' (Telegraph)

'Powerful stuff' (Daily Mail)

'Excellent' (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

An atmospheric, vibrant and moving tale of pain and passion at the heart of war-torn Spain, from the million-copy bestselling author of The Island

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A damm good read! 15 April 2009
I was lent this book by a friend and I have to say that initially I felt it wasn't my type of book - I usually read a lot of detective books. However, I found myself completely drawn into the story. I won't repeat the story as you can read the synopsis from the book and others have also given the gist of the book (although I feel not to the book's advantage).

I live in Spain and the descriptions of modern Granada and Andalucia made me yearn for the image of Spain that until quite recently it used to be - white-washed buildings, proud Spanish, gentle pace of life. When the author then took the readers back in time to the events around the Spanish Civil war, I couldn't believe how angry I became at the completely senseless waste of human life. I knew very little about the war and this book was my catalyst for finding out more about it.

I have never read a book which has stirred my emotions in such a way as this one, and I would recommend it to anyone. In fact another friend now has the book and she feels the same pull of the book too. So perhaps its because we are in Spain and we are more empathic to the content than others, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and could't put it down.
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a review! A warning for potential purchasers 18 Sep 2009
Before launching into the reviews set out below, please beware that several give crucial parts of the plot away without warning!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 5 Feb 2009
I have just finished reading The Return and have discussed it at my local book club. We are all fascinated to know if anyone else spotted the bizarre differences in the the dates and ages of the main characters? It sounds really petty but actually it really annoyed me as it makes it all so improbable and really spoilt the book. We are told that Mercedes was twelve in 1931. She marries in 1955 and gives birth to Sonia sometime after that. However, at the beginning of the book we are told it is 2001. Sonia was 27 when she met her husband James and they married two years later. Sonia then goes to Granada for the first time, five years after her wedding - meaning she must have been born in approx 1968. This means Mercedes gave birth aged 53? Is that really likely? All very odd and ill-conceived.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
The first 150-pages of this novel are fairly mundane chick-lit - or rather hen-lit -stuff; in 2001 two female friends, Sonia and Maggie, approaching middle age, go off to Granada for a dance course.

The descriptions of the dance classes and the routines they have to follow are interesting at first but for me they soon begun to pall. Maggie finds a Spanish lover and Sonia makes friends with an elderly waiter who starts to tell her about the Spanish Civil War and its effect on people he knew.

When we switch to the waiter's narration the tone darkens. Many of the scenes described during the war are harrowing and I can understand why someone who bought this book as a light beach read might be disappointed with it.

Victoria Hislop has researched the subject and is able to describe situations vividly. I found this war section of the book, if not exactly enjoyable, informative; for example, I was shocked at the treatment Spanish refugees received when they fled to France.

Where I felt the book went wrong was having this framework of starting the book in the 21st Century, going back to the period of the Spanish Civil War, and then returning to Sonia in an attempt to tie the two stories together. The link between Sonia and the waiter's war narrative - which I won't reveal - is contrived and failed to suspend disbelief. I feel it would have been far better to have set the novel entirely around the period of the Civil War and its immediate aftermath.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars what a come down! 4 May 2009
By E. Dare
After loving The Island, I eagerly awaited her next book. Did she really write this novel, or was it ghosted? The opening was pure Chicklit, badly written and threadbare. But I persisted until I could no longer bear the bad and shallow writing, full of platitudes. Skipping to the end I discovered that that was just as bad, lazy and superficial. Did she intend to insult her readers?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disjointed 29 Jun 2009
I found this read a little disjointed . I felt almost like I was reading two novels that the author had been working on and then decided it might be an idea to knit the two together!!
The tale woven around the Spanish Civil war was well written and I imagine representative of a country torn apart by terrible brutality and civil unrest .
The modern link I found slightly cliched and little rambling . I think the historical part of this novel could easily have danced alone without the help of Sonia et al .
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DULL/INAcCURATE/DISSAPOINTING 11 May 2009
Being from Granada(Spain) I was drawn to pick up this book. Surprisingly , it turned out to be a poor account of the Spanish civil war put on the mouths of some boring characters.It is more exciting to read a history book than this one. Hislop shows a poor ability to describe Spanish culture to say the least.The book drags, it is repetitive and inacurately describes the city of Granada and its heritage. Maybe she should write DIY manuals or gardening handbooks next time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slower than The Island but still very enjoyable. 30 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this a while after The Island and found it harder to get "into". A friend warned me that it "wasn't as good as The Island" and I am not sure if I was mindful of this while getting into the book. I am very glad that I did read it. The Return is a very different book and deals with another family finding out things about their past and although the conclusion was a little predictable I thought that the book on the whole was a good read. It made me feel uncomfortable at times as the Spanish Civil War unfolded and the human suffering was laid out but then its a topic that should. I am looking forward to The Thread.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was disappointed with this story I'm afraid. I didn't enjoy it as much as previous novels I'd read by Victoria.
Published 2 days ago by CHRISTINE ROBERTS
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice story about dancing and Spanish Civil war
Read this book after a trip to Southern Spain (Malaga, Marbella, Granada). I really enjoyed the plot of this book and learning more about the history of Spain. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good easy read.
Pleasant read. The sort of book you can pick up and get lost in. Sad when you finish as there is then a gap.
Published 10 days ago by Apollo
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone living near Granada.
Absolutely loved this book, which I found extremely hard to put down. For anyone living in Andalucia this is a must read. Will be researching more of her books to read.
Published 11 days ago by Suzie Hoy
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
thoroughly enjoyed this read and learnt a few things re the Civil War. A very emotional read that's weell worth it
Published 21 days ago by H. Leaker
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return
Excellent book- learnt a lot about the Spanish civil war that I didn't know, and enjoyed the fictitious story too
Published 27 days ago by M. Hughes
3.0 out of 5 stars uncertain about this writer
This novel did not have a sharp start, it seemed to ramble on for 157 pages with cardboard characters who didn't come to life. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joyce Burgess
4.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy
I chose this book because i have read others by Victoria Hislop and really enjoyed them. As i was going on holiday to Spain and found this book recommended by Good Housekeeping i... Read more
Published 1 month ago by cherryb
2.0 out of 5 stars spanish civil war
I didnrt realize there would be so much about the Spanish civil war.Its not really my favourite subject.I preferred the book about the island of Spinolanga and the leper colony.
Published 1 month ago by vilma Leighton
5.0 out of 5 stars what a page turner!
I was recommended the book by a lovely Brit living in Spain, and what a brilliant read I just couldn't put it down the ending was obvious but I enjoyed so much learning about the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pob
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