Return to Me

Return to Me by James Oliver French

Return to MeReleased 23 November 2014

Published by Kaituhi Press

Copy obtained from author for review.


What would you do if the man you loved vanished without a trace?

Kyle and Todd meet at a party in their freshman year at college. They fall in lust at first sight, then deep in love. In spite of Kyle’s melancholy past, their future together looks bright. Then Kyle disappears, leaving Todd heartbroken and alone, and their dreams in ruins. Fifteen years later, Todd is a successful but lonely psychiatrist. He still hasn’t come to terms with the loss of his first love. When a dangerous amnesiac arrives at the hospital, Todd is forced to confront the past, and is driven to find answers to the questions that have haunted him all these years.

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Our thoughts:

Do not read this book without a well-stocked tissue box. Even my love for emotional book that leave my mind in a state of melancholy was tested with Return To Me.

Everything starts off quiet perfect and happy. Two young college men meet at a house party and hit it off. They have many wonderful dates following that first meet-up. Kyle the accounting major, Todd the psychology major. Opposites attract! Kyle and Todd quickly become boyfriends and begin their journey toward a lasting, loving relationship. They are each other’s first real boyfriends and intimate lovers.

Todd takes Kyle home to meet his family over a Christmas holiday. Everyone loves him! Todd comforts Kyle when his parents fail to love and support him for who he is. They are just happy in love and it’s a fast easy start to the book. As they learn about each other and nurture their relationship, we get to know their characters at the same time.

Then everything begins to unravel. Kyle loses his little brother and is kept away by his father. He isn’t given the chance to be part of his family and grieve. It sends him into a bit of a funk, but Todd is supportive and there for him. Studying for finals creates some distance followed by a wrestling tournament for Kyle. That’s when everything takes a devastating turn.

Kyle is gone.

Devastating. Like how does Todd even continue. Crushed. Hurt. Scared. Worried. Confused. Heartbroken. I could use a thesaurus and add twenty more adjectives to describe the sheer pain of the last half of this book. Shattered. Todd’s world is shattered and splintered and he’s forever adrift.

After 15 years, Todd is a successful therapist but he is lonely. Not knowing what happened to Kyle is always at the back of his mind. No men he meets ever reaches the high pedestal that Kyle perched upon. When the love of your life vanishes and leaves a huge hole in your heart, it’s hard not to hold out hope that they will some day return. It’s that hope that when or if it happens, they will be the person you loved and remembered but what if they weren’t? What if they left intentionally? What if they were taken from you in a brutal way? What if they moved on without a second thought? Sometimes the knowing can be as destroying as not knowing. Todd lives that reality.

Kudos to French for writing a book that totally didn’t fit in the box. He decimated the box!Taking two pure characters, building a deep, loving and committed relationship and then tuning it on its end. Ripping apart what was built and never bringing it back into reach. That’s risky. People want romance but we know, love isn’t perfect or without problem and flaws. Some problems we create and others are thrust upon us to deal with as best we can. This story is a reflection of surviving the unknown perils of loving someone with all your heart.


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