Review: The Return by Jan Bowles

Format: E-bookthereturn
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Hero: Robert Tremayne
Heroine: Marielle Stevens
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 2009
Started On: March 22, 2011
Finished On: March 23, 2011

A fan of tortured hero goodness through and through, I picked this book up on a whim because the blurb promised a tortured hero which guarantees a whole lot of emotion wrenching goodness in a story. However, I found myself just a tad disappointed with how the story unfolded, not because it wasn’t an interesting one, but there was something about the character development together with how the story is narrated that just didn’t sit right with me.

The Return is the story of Marielle Stevens whose soul mate Robert Tremayne captured by Islamic Jihadists in Iraq who the British government gave up on returns two years afterwards, a changed man inside and out. Robert who has regretted his trip to war torn Iraq in order to make a name for himself as a journalist comes back home to the devastating news that the woman whose image had pulled him through hell and back in Iraq has gone and married his best friend James.

The story picks up 3 years later when Robert finally returns back home after that fateful night which had literally brought his world crashing down. The news that James had died and left Marielle a widow certainly helps his decision to come back and tie up loose ends back home where memories that are better left alone continue to haunt him upon his return.

The mother of all shocks leaps up when Robert discovers the truth about Marielle’s 3 year old daughter Jemma. The sense of betrayal that he feels on missing out on his daughter’s life for the past couple of years cut deep and Robert is unwilling to forgive and forget what Marielle’s marriage to James had done to their relationship.

But when Robert’s celebrity status brings focus onto Marielle and his daughter Jemma, Robert does what he thinks best to save them from the vicious cycle of their whole life being plastered all over the British tabloids. Robert proposes marriage to Marielle, who professes to have never stopped loving him all throughout the years.

Marielle has her work cut out for her to bring back the caring and loving man Robert was before he left to Iraq, glimpses of the man Marielle yearns for which she sees in Robert’s tormented soul. Marielle knows  that although the heady and scorching hot attraction between them runs deeper than ever, without learning to talk about the past and willing to forgive and forget what the past 5 years have meant to both of them, they would not have a chance of making their marriage work.

Before their happily ever after comes calling, Robert has to learn to slay his demons, the emotional scars left behind by the 2 years he spent in Iraq barely making it day after day and listen to what Marielle went through and hear her side of the story to finally begin to thaw the ice around his heart.

Though the storyline is an interesting one set in the UK, I found myself a bit impatient with both Robert and Marielle. I found myself irritated with Marielle because she professes to love Robert more than anything else in the world but hesitates to give Robert the chance he needs to see what they could be together. Robert on the other hand is a tortured soul yes, but I just couldn’t grasp on the fact that he kept on blaming his emotional trauma suffered in Iraq as the sole reason for his coldness and aloofness when it comes to relationships. In my opinion, the betrayal he suffered at the hands of his best friend served as more of a catalyst to make him completely close himself up to any sort of relationship with the opposite sex apart from just getting together for sex. I wished Marielle would grow up a bit and Robert would try and be an adult for once and listen to what Marielle had to say without running off to wallow in his emotional scars.

Jan Bowles is an author who shows promise and I believe her stories will continue to get better. I would certainly not say no to reading another novel by her. However, I do wish that publishers wouldn’t use the same cover on different books which just most of the time turns me off from buying a book. This cover sports the same cover art as that of the novel Just My Type by Erin Nicholas, which might be the reason why this book caught my eye in the first place.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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