Review: The Return by Rachel Harrison

The Return
Author: Rachel Harrison
Publication Date: 30th April 2020
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
*I received a free ARC of this book at YALC in June 2019*

‘An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don’t often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she’ll 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.’

This story follows a group of four friends re-uniting at a quirky hotel after one of them, Julie, re-appears with no memory after going missing for two years. It’s told from the POV of Elise, the friend closest to Julie and who never really believed she was dead. Once they have re-united the friends, Elise, Molly and Mae begin to realise that something is not quite right about Julie. She’s constantly freezing cold, looks extremely thin, has started acting strange and has begun eating meat despite previously having been a vegetarian for years.

I really enjoyed the friendship between the four main characters. It felt like quite an accurate portrayal of the nuances and intricacies present in the majority of friendships. The characters were all quite flawed but the others loved them largely in spite of these.

A lot of the book was taken up by dialogue between the characters, largely Molly, Mae and Elise asking each other what’s wrong with Julie and arguing as to whether they should confront her or not. At times I found this kind of dragged on a bit which I didn’t really enjoy all that much.

At times the attempts at making the story spooky and Gothic were a bit on the nose, although at times this could be enjoyable. I really liked the themed rooms at the hotel, with Julie’s room being Gothic/Edgar Allen Poe themed. The room was literally called the ‘Lenore’ room.

Some parts of this book were far more enjoyable than others. If I could review this book in two halves then the first half would have one star and the second half three stars. Which is why ultimately I’ve given it two stars.

Looking on goodreads there are some pretty high ratings too, so I’d still recommend reading the book as maybe it just wasn’t for me.

Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments what you thought of the book.

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