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The Return Paperback – 16 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; Reprint edition (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755332954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755332953
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (472 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,730 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

Review

'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


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Lindy Lou on 15 April 2009
Format: Paperback
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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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Mg Sj Shorthose on 18 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. P. Gates on 9 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Having lived for a while in Granada, I decided to buy this book despite it being a novel unlikely to be marketed at male readers. It started off quite well as Hislop has definitely done her research and her descriptions of the city brought back memories of my time there. There are basically two stories in the book: an English woman aiming to change her life and a Spanish family dealing with the horrors of the Civil war. Although the two stories are fascinating separately, the author welds them together in the most cliched and frankly ridiculous way imaginable. The denouement is the crassest kind of 'Hollywood' plot twist possible. Also, the fact that we are led to believe that the sensitive English woman (Sonia) would go to the birthplace of her late mother with no real interest in her early life struck me as a false note.

However, despite these misgivings, and Hislop's writing style which I found bland, I'd probably recommend this novel for people who like social or historical dramas. Her imagining of the sufferings of a typical family during the Spanish Civil war is both moving and convincing. Also, the contrast between Spanish and English cultures is well-observed.

Overall then, a mixed bag, but ideal for those wanting to add to their historical knowledge in the form of an easily-digestible narrative.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte on 5 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janie U VINE VOICE on 13 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
A lot of books written in 2 time periods flip back and forwards with the effect that they can become confused. This book doesn't and I think it is better for this. The present day characters have the opportunity to become established in the readers mind before the story goes back to the 1930s using a natural story telling technique rather than an interuption in the flow of the narrative.
The great strength of this book is the plot. It tracks along at a good pace, weaving in and out of historical events and reflecting the effects on the family.
The language is a bit disappointing. It is fairly simple, which makes the book easy to read, but does not seem to make the most of the beautiful setting in the south of Spain. Oddly the occasional unusual word is thrown in the text - good to see a challenging vocabulary but it felt a bit incongruous along with the simple writing style.
I didn't know much about the Spanish Civil War before starting this book. Victoria Hislop manages to put a very human slant on the conflict by showing the determination and suffering of the people on both sides of the war. i found this very effective at triggering my interest and I did some research about the war to increase my knowledge.
I did see the ending coming and it all felt a bit clumsy but didn't take away my enjoyment of the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By NannyS on 10 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
If only this had been Victoria's first book then I think I would have enjoyed it more, but having read The Island and could not put it down or forget the story, The Return was deeply disappointing. So much detail about Salsa dancing and although I agree the Spanish War was dreadful I found myself skipping bits as it just went on and on. Then just as I thought of giving up I found that when Mercedes came to the UK it became interesting and more like The Island. Overall, very, very disappointed, lets hope that if there is a 3rd book it will be more like The Island though that will be very difficult to follow.
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