Trevor Benson came home from Afghanistan minus an ear and a couple of fingers, plus some facial scarring and a king-sized serving of PTSD that persisted despite his on-going therapy. As a former Naval surgeon he’s no stranger to the pain of loss but it can be tolerated, unlike the crushing grief he experienced when his grandfather died. Returning to New Bern, North Carolina where he had spent so many happy summers, seems like the best place to regroup and recover, even though the cabin where his grandfather had lived is more run-down than he expected. But Trevor can do some fix ups and maybe some updates and still have plenty of time to tend to the honey bees his grandfather kept. Trevor Benson wants to change fields and become a psychiatrist.
What Trevor isn’t prepared for is Natalie Masterson and the powerful feelings the lovely deputy sheriff evokes. And those feelings are reciprocated. Trevor is sure of that. Except Natalie is holding back, deftly side-stepping any and all personal questions. Despite the powerful connection they share, she backs off every time Trevor gets too close. The question is, what is she hiding?
And to further complicate Trevor’s life, there’s the morose teenaged Callie who works at the general store and lives in the trailer park nearby. She stays to herself, only speaking when spoken to and when an answer is required, it’s in as few words as possible. She has some kind of history with his grandfather but getting information out of her is an exercise in futility. But when a serious accident occurs Trevor makes it his mission to find out Callie’s true identity and unravel the mysterious final words his grandfather uttered on his deathbed.
“The Return” takes us on a reflective journey of self-discovery, romance, and family dynamics. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking and every other emotion we would expect from Nicholas Sparks. His love for the unique beauty of North Carolina is evident in his polished prose and few can rival his skill as a storyteller. The character development is masterful and the parallel plots that eventually intertwine have Sparks’ signature all over them. If you’re looking for a top-notch romance by a world-class storyteller, look no further than “The Return”. Five stars.
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