Cover Image: The Return

The Return

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Member Reviews

I have just finished this book and I am so sorry its over! So fast paced, so full of real scares. I loved it. 

A really good, supernatural horror that has lots of thriller elements too! I read this way into the night, on many nights and I am anxiously looking forward to reading more from this author soon. Well done.
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Very creepy and original, with some genuinely frightening scenes amidst an interesting portrayal of friendship.
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Unfortunately this book didn't keep my attention and the story fell flat.
It's well written but it's my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Molly, Mae, Elsie and Julie are friends; all four have personal insecurities, conflict, resentment, panic and companionship.
Julie, while out on a hike, mysteriously disappears for two years. 
Molly and Mae think she must be dead. Elsie believes that she is still alive. 
As time passes a memorial service is held for Julie, so her family and friends can have a sense of closure.
Julie returns two years later, telling her family and friends that she has no recollection of what happened to her.
"The last thing I remember is waking up that morning, sitting on the porch, drinking coffee out of my favourite mug and thinking about the hike. Then nothing. Not until I was back on the porch."
Mae organises a girls weekend away, hoping that the friends will re-connect with each other. As the friends arrive at the 'eerie' Hotel, they meet Julie for the first time since her return.
The friends notice significant changes in her behaviour and appearance. 
Is this the right time to try and find out what happened to Julie?

A compelling mix of horror, thrills, suspense and friendship.
I was impressed with Rachel's style of writing, a great debut novel.

I want to thank NetGalley, Hodder and Stoughton and author Rachel Harrison for a pre-publication to review.
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Thanks for the ARC Netgalley.
🌲Julie goes missing on a lone hike, leaving her friends Elise, Molly and Mae wondering what happened to her. Fast forward 2 years and Julie suddenly returns alive and apparently well, but there's something about her that unnerves her friends. On a girly weekend getaway, her friends try to reconnect with her, except Julie is acting very strange and people in the hotel are going missing. Julie went missing, but was it Julie that came back?😬

2.5⭐- I'm a total horror snob (books and movies), so I have to say I was a little disappointed with this one. The premise is good, (if not a little cheesy in places), but it irritated me that Elise kept noticing REALLY creepy things about Julie, but constantly brushes them off throughout the book. It just didn't connect well for me unfortunately.
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‘The return’ by Rachel Harrison is a wonderful departure from the type of fiction I usually read. The story is based around three friends; Elise, Mae and Molly and their reunion with old friend Julie. We quickly find out that their friendship wasn’t interrupted by a falling out but by Julie disappearing for two years. Julie had been presumed dead but once found she cannot provide any information as to where she’s been but one thing is for sure, she will be forever changed. 
The four friends decide a stay in a boutique hotel will help them to restart their relationship but things begin to take a sinister turn almost right away. 
I loved the vivid descriptions of the ornate hotel rooms which are the main setting throughout and from the very beginning I became attached to the entire friendship group and their individual quirks and styles. I was willing them to reconnect but also for them to solve the mystery around Julie’s disappearance. Essentially the air of unease Harrison creates is the main thread throughout the novel that I had to follow; a book full of apprehension and suspense that culminates in a terrifying conclusion.
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The Return is a debut novel by Rachel Harrison and I must admit I had a hard time connecting to it. 

The story centres around a group of four friends who’ve known each other for years and decides to spend a weekend away in a very mysterious hotel. One of the women returned after being missing for two years and presumed dead however it quickly becomes obvious that something is not right and their friend came back changed. 

The book is categorised as a horror and it definitely has some creepy and disturbing elements to it. The first part of the book was really slow and I was missing some shock factor. It was mostly a dialogue between the women and I quickly became bored. The premise of the book was intriguing enough so I kept pushing myself and waited for a big reveal.  

Overall I would recommend a book to someone who is new to the genre as the long term fans of horrors might be a little bit disappointed. It’s a good debut but unfortunately it wasn’t really what I was expecting.
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I enjoyed this book's blend of friendship drama and horror! The characters are messy, imperfect people who have inside jokes and a long history, and their friendship feels authentic. Yet there is also an unspoken truth about Julie’s situation. I was frustrated at the lack of communication but the book does a good job explaining why they behave the way they do. Their insecurities, trust, fears, and love for each other drive the story forward.

There are some really creepy scenes, especially the first night at the hotel. Elise’s overactive imagination is what I have too so I could relate! The detailed description of the colourful, garish hotel rooms provides an unsettling atmosphere to the story. But I was disappointed that the hotel setting ends up not playing a role in the plot. I also found the climax of the story drags and turns into clichés as it moves towards the ending.

Still, The Return is an entertaining debut about the horrors of lost friendship and how far you would go for the ones you love. I hope there’s a movie adaptation!
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I think this book is perfect for first time horror readers but for me it was predictable and slightly cringeworthy. I feel like this story has been written in many different ways over the years and it's more of a horror turned Twilight novel between friends than anything else. I loved this writing though and found myself being scared when reading at night.
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Wow, The Return, debut novel from Rachel Harrison is a creepy, unnerving horror that shouldn’t be read with the lights off.

No spoilers here. After being missing for two years Julie returns. Her tight knit group of friends Elise, Molly and Mae plan a weekend away to celebrate her return, but the Julie who arrives is not the friend they remember. Premise set up, over the next few hundred pages we get a backstory of what built this friendship group, the highs and the lows, the types of life long friendships which will be familiar to all of us. It is in the familiar and everyday that Harrison builds the growing sense of unease. You will never look at a hotel room in the same way. The book is fast paced and an easy read building to an explosive and bizarre finale.

I absolutely loved the build up to the big reveal, but if I had one criticism it would be that I needed more on what happened to Julie.  It may be there is more to this story? 

Original, Fast paced chiller thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️ three out of five stars
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Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for this arc. I loved the stunning cover for this and was intrigued by the premise which is a blend of psychological thriller and supernatural, a combination that I love to read. 
This is narrated from the POV of Elise. Her friend Julie has gone missing. After two years she is presumed dead, and a memorial is held for Julie, too, to help her family and friends came to terms with her disappearance and mourn the fact that she is gone. Although Elise has a feeling that she hasn't disappeared and will be back. Her intuition proves correct when Julie reappears as if she was never gone. Everyone is intrigued about her disappearance but Julie doesn't remember what happened. That's when their friend, Mae, decides to have a girls weekend away inviting the group's fourth friend Molly. They go to a hotel that Mae found through work which is spooky in itself, but then Julie appears and her friends see her for the first time. They're stunned...Something is different about Julie...
This had a lot of potential. I loved the four female friends and their group dynamics. They are lots of chemistry, the dialogues sparked and there was plenty of tension too, however I just felt that despite the pacy prose nothing much happened plot-wise until the last 30%. For most of the book there is lots of dialogue, and some of it was very repetitive with characters talking about the same things, and there just wasn't enough suspense, subplots and red herrings to sustain my attention. I found the ending rushed and simplistic, which felt anti-climatic. It just wasn't satisfying enough for me and the motivations for Julie's character wasn't developed enough. In terms of the supernatural aspect I felt the story wasn't fully realised and it was unsure of what it was supposed to be. On the plus I did like the setting. The hotel was quirky and eccentric, and I wish it was explored more. Also I commend the author for attempting something new and fresh, especially as horror is such as a niche genre.  There were some striking images and creepy scenes. This reminded me of Ruth Ware's In the Dark Dark Woods meets classic Stephen King.  3/5
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Wow. What a wonderfully creepy, dark and sometimes funny book. This really keeps you guessing as you try to figure out (here’s a hint: you probably won’t!) what happened to Jules 2 years ago when she went hiking. I love the relationship between the 4 friends; each with their quirks, roles that they play within the group and of course they each have their own baggage. But isn’t the grass always greener?  And Elise is no exception to falling for this proverb when looking at her friends’ lives. I love how you’re shown flashbacks of the four friends before Jules went missing and what they went through after. And it all comes to a head in the hotel, and Rachel Harrison has done a great job at making this as twisted as possible in her debut; making Elise second guess and question what she’s seen. Just why is Jules acting so differently? Read the book to find out! I’ll be looking for more books from Harrison.
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I totally enjoyed this book by Rachel Harrison. I like the plot and her writing style. Will definitely be checking out other books written by her in the future.
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Molly, Mae, Elsie and Julie are four friends whom decide to go on a girly trip after one of the girls had reappeared after mysteriously disappearing for teo years. Julie had disappeared during a hike. Molly and Mae thought that she had died. Elsie thinks that she is still alive. 2hen Julie returns, she has  no recollection of where she's been or what had happened to her.  ButnJu,enid different to what she used to be like. She's disheveled, jas rotten teeth and like to eat her meat raw!

What a creepy read this is. I didn't find it scary, just creepy. Ince the girls got to the boutique hotel,  that's when the strange occurrences really begin. The pace is slow bit I needed to know where the story was going. A lot of it is taken up with the women talking to each other. It's told from Elsie's point of view. The story for me was needing a little more suspense. Over all, it's quite a good debit  novel. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and  the author Rachel Harrison for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Title: The Return
Author: Rachel Harrison 
Pages: 304
Rating: 2/5

A huge thank you to Netgalley and HodderBooks for letting me read and review The Return. 

Synopsis:

Four friends are finally about to be reunited after one of them returns after being missing for two years. Presumed dead, it is a shock to them all but they are eager to pick up from where they left off. However, they are shocked when they lay their eyes on Julie again. She is emaciated, her skin is shallow, her teeth are disgusting and her appetite is odd. The Julie who disappeared is not the same, she won’t say what happened to her but her friends want answers.   

Review:
I requested this debut novel as I found the synopsis to be quite gripping and left me with different scenarios running through my head, I was left guessing before I had even started. Looking at the reviews, they seemed to be very positive stating that the book was creepy, nerve-wracking and terrifying. I wanted to be scared!
At first, I really struggled to connect with the story and felt myself getting lost a couple of times as I found it quite difficult to follow. I felt the story moved very quick between the disappearance of Julie and her reappearance and I was left hoping that we would get the answers later on in the book- which we thankfully did! 

As the eeriness slowly began to creep in, I managed to connect on a better level with the story and even found myself zoned out from reality reading it which I did not expect to happen. The pace of the story began to slow which I liked because you could allow yourself to feel every feeling that the characters had. 
I liked the characters; they were all different but I felt that there was a lot of dialogue between them throughout the book which realty didn’t keep the story moving and part of the story was quite repetitive which left me feeling a little disengaged. I did however like the fact that in parts I felt connected to them because I could feel their fear and panic which also lead me to read faster as I result of this, I needed to find out what would happen to them. 

Unfortunately, however, I was disappointed with the ending, I expected a bigger and much scarier twist. In fact, I didn’t get the sense of fear I wanted, I didn’t feel chilled by the events of the story which I wanted to feel. I got the answers I wanted regarding to what happened to Julie, but it was an anti-climax for me. I was also disappointed that I didn’t get answers about the building and the creepiness that it showed. Was it haunted? Was its imagination? A lot of focus was put on this building for it to be abandoned at the end of the story. 
So, for me, I can’t say this is one of the most exciting books I have read. However, if you do enjoy supernatural thrillers, you may feel different! Don’t let my opinion but you off entirely as there was still some good elements to the story.
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**Review**
The Return by Rachel Harrison
‘Keep your friendships alive. At all costs.’
Julie goes missing, however returns unexpectedly after 2 years with no memory of what happened. Her three closest friend are overjoyed by her return, and arrange a get together to celebrate. However the new Julie seems very different....
This book was ok. I liked the idea of the story and it started off well, but I got less interested as it progressed. Some of the dialogue seemed repetitive and unnecessary. There was A LOT of reminiscing over the history of the groups friendship (past parties, college days etc) which I did not feel was needed to this extent. The plot itself seemed a little over the top and didn’t hook me in. Unfortunately I wasn’t scared or thrilled by it. 
Without giving anything away, it was not the straight forward, easy-going thriller read I was expecting! I do think this book maybe aimed at a younger audience though. It may be perfect for a late-teen reader looking to get into adult thriller/horror novels. It just was not for me.
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Sorry to say this book really didn't meet the standards. It was very slow-moving, filled with unnecessary details and not so interesting characters. It just didn't grab my attention.

Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
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The Return was a good book but not great, the premise was ok - Elise’s best friend Julie goes off for a hike and when she disappears without a trace everyone assumes she’s dead,  but Elise feels she’s still out there and doesn’t give up hope and two years on she’s proved right, Julie returns, she says she has no memory of where she has been or what has happened to her, but Julie isn’t herself, she’s changed so Julies friends take her away for a girlie weekend, to try and reconnect and find out what happened to her. 
The story flows along quite well and is a bit graphic in parts but there were also parts of Elises story that went on for a bit to long and took the focus away from the main story and it  just felt like it was there just to pad the story out and wasn’t really needed.
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It's going to be hard to write much here without spoilers, and I really don't want to spoil anything because so much of this book came as a surprise to me. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. Elise's best friend Julie has been missing for two years. She's presumed dead (they even have a funeral), but Elise never gives up on the idea that Julie is alive out there somewhere. When Julie shows up, alive, but with no memory of what has happened to her, Elise's relief is huge. But when she, Julie and their two other best friends go away for a weekend together to reconnect, Elise realises something is wrong. 

That's about all I can say without spoiling. But the writing is strong, and the descriptions are physical, visceral, crunchy and unsettling. The bizarre setting (a boutique hotel with themed rooms) adds an Alice in Wonderland layer of surreality to the book. Spooky and strange.
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This is such a strange book. It started off with such promise; 4 childhood friends, one disappears for over a year and then reappears. I can't say anything more about the story without spoilers, but, for me it quickly became a difficult, slow, boring read.

The friends decide to meet at a hotel and strange things occur. The book is mainly the 4 friends talking to each other, which very quickly becomes hard work as a reader.

The cover and synopsis are great, unfortunately, the content didn't live up to expectations and I found myself speed reading some of the chapters in the hope it would improve. Sadly, it didn't.

I'm grateful to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to preview this book in exchange for my honest review.
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