The Return by Nicholas Sparks

Usually, I’m not a big fiction fan; non-fiction dominates my reading time.

Usually, I don’t skip to the end of a book; I’m content to read straight through to see what happens.

When I started reading The Return by Nicholas Sparks, I got interested in the two leading characters. I really wanted to know more about the dynamics between them. I had never read any of Nicholas Sparks’ work before (although I loved the film A Walk to Remember, and isn’t The Notebook – movie version that is – such a touching story?) So, back to this book, I skipped to the end because I had to know how things would work out. I was pleasantly surprised with the interesting ending between the lead characters. No spoilers here, but I was pleased.

The Return is a long adventure into the lives of some people facing real struggles. Sparks earned points with me for setting it in one of my favorite places (the South) but you’ll like it just as well if you’re a Northerner. This will make a great Christmas gift for any fiction buff or anyone who has been wanting to dive into the genre for a while.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Old Fashioned Book Review

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What are the rules of dating?

Novelist Rene Gutteridge and director Rik Swartzwelder have teamed up to create a new work that could spark some conversation about how that’s changed across generations. Their novel, Old Fashioned, is being made into a film that will be released the same weekend as Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Old Fashioned centers on two characters – a level-headed man named Clay and a spontaneous woman named Amber. Proving the adage that opposites attract, the chemistry between the two can’t be ignored, and Old Fashioned explores a different way of dating – courtship – that for most people has all but gone by the wayside.

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There’s an external struggle between Clay and Amber – they have a hard time connecting with each other – and, as it turns out, each has experiences from the past that is interfering with their ability to create a new relationship. While the story may be intended to be like a morality play – showcasing the benefits of courtship over typical modern dating – it comes across as preachy at times. Old Fashioned doesn’t fully show the joy that comes from a relationship based on freedom within limits.

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FTC Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.