Friday 7 May 2021

THE RETURN by Rachel Harrison


Her best friend disappeared. A stranger came back.

Julie is missing, and no one believes she will ever return-except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone. She feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there and that one day Julie will come back.

She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her.

Along with Molly and Mae, their two close friends from college, the women decide to reunite at a remote inn. But the second Elise sees Julie, she knows something is wrong-she's emaciated, with sallow skin and odd appetites. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back. But then who-or what-is she? 

I've had my eye on this book for ages, so I want to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

When Julie disappears, her friends are devastated and suffer through their own versions of grief. But then she comes back two years later, and they're determined to get together. Except, strange things happen during their long weekend stay in the Red Honey Inn and Julie doesn't seem like the same person...

Wow. This is one freaky and awesome book! As soon as I started, I couldn't put it down.

The creepiness settles in early, and never stops. Actually, it intensifies because everything feels odd from the very beginning. And I loved every single disturbing minute.

Not only is the location this dysfunctional group of friends spend time in ooze the darkest of atmospheric dread, but their fragile connection is just as mysterious and dangerous. These women are keeping secrets from each other, themselves and everyone else, but also seem to know one another better than anyone else. I loved how these two polarising aspects were shown through their every action. One second they're totally lovingly friendly, the next they're bickering like crazy.

The story is told through the first-person POV of Elise. She's an interesting but problematic narrator, and often manipulates the direction of the story, but I loved this intimate writing style because it made everything even edgier. And the other characters helped round out what was going on in that sinister hotel.

The Return is a totally addictive, chilling story about the deepest of friendships, the toxicity that festers when the truth is avoided out of fear, and the twisted effect secrets have when allowed to grow so much they become their own entity.

I enjoyed this SO much! Loved everything about it.

The Return, March 2021, ISBN 9781529351965, Hodder & Stoughton

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