The Returned

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The Returned

by Jason Mott

Harlequin | August 27, 2013 | Hardcover

The Returned is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 5.
"The Returned transforms a brilliant premise into an extraordinary and beautifully realized novel. My spine is still shivering from the memory of this haunting story. Wow." -Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence

The sensational New York Times bestselling novel about an impossible miracle and a family given a second chance at life…

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's eight-year-old son, Jacob, died tragically in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. But as chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 9.34 × 6.28 × 1.3 in

Published: August 27, 2013

Publisher: Harlequin

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0778315339

ISBN - 13: 9780778315339

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing book, well worth the effort This book started slowly. Like the metronome on a piano, it ticked away, giving details slowly and building a story piece by piece. The really good news is that even though the story builds slowly, the reading is so easy, you don't mind so much. This story becomes worth all the reading in the end of the book. Here's how it went for me... First half of the book - "I'll give it three stars, it's not that exciting. Really interesting idea but the execution isn't winning." Up to 75% done - "Ok, getting a little better, maybe more than three stars but not even three and a half yet." Now 85% done - "Hmmm, definitely a solid three and a half stars... how is this gonna END?" Less than 10% to go - "Wow, definitely a four star book. I didn't think it would get there." Done - "So worth reading, it made me think and in the end I'm so glad I pushed through and didn't give up!" It's very rare for me to push through when a book doesn't keep me interested. But strangely, I couldn't say the book didn't keep my interest, it just moved in a metronomic pace, giving information and telling the story in a way that was not unenjoyable. I know that doesn't sound like a ringingly good endorsement but I don't want to mislead you into thinking it's an into the night, can't put it down kind of book. What it is is a book that stays with you and makes you wonder, ponder, think and consider. The great news is that even though the first part is slower, it's SO easy to read that you don't really notice. Let me give you a synopsis of the general story and then I'll give my opinion about why I think it works that the book starts out slowly. Harold and Lucille Hargrave's son died in 1966. They grieved but time helped smooth out the searing pain any parent who lost a child feels. Then, many years later, their son reappears, still eight years old and missing his mommy and daddy. It's happening all over the planet, loved ones who have previously passed away are returning. The author, Mr. Mott eloquently and with sparse, elegant words paints a picture of a small town dealing with "the returned" and a world dealing with the chaos these "miracles" bring. No one knows where the returned are coming from or whether it's a miracle or a curse. As communities come to the brink of collapse the author makes us deal with questions of life, death and everything in-between. I believe that Jason Mott wrote The Returned in a slow metronomic rhythm to mimic life in general. There is always twenty four hours in a day and we each make our way through those hours in our own way. The author uses the pace of the book to show that we all have that same time constraint, what you do with it is your choice. Oh, I shouldn't forget to tell you that Jason Mott has given several bonuses to the reader by writing three short story prequels (each is about thirty pages) that are free right now on Amazon. The three prequels can be downloaded onto a Kindle app and are named "The First", "The Choice", "The Sparrow". I liked Jason Mott's original book enough that I'm going to read these three extras this weekend! It's like finding an extra piece of candy when you thought you'd eaten it all. :o) I highly recommend this book, it made me cry by the end of the story and also made me think throughout the telling of it.
Date published: 2014-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hauntingly beautiful - Will really make you think! The Returned was written by Jason Mott and originally published in August 2013 by Harlequin Mira Harold and Lucille Hargrave have changed a lot over the years. They have grown old since the unfortunate drowning of their only son Jacob on his eight birthday in 1966. They have finally settled into their lives without him when one day Jacob shows up on their doorstep looking just like he had the day they had last laid eyes on him. Jacob isn’t the only one who has come back; all around the world people have been returning from beyond. People don’t know how to react; Could this be a sign of the end or a miracle from God? Are these really their loved ones or an imitation of some sort? With emotions running high and tension building chaos is about to erupt, and the Hargrave family must find a way to live in this new reality to get through this tough time as a family. Before we talk about the content of the book I want to mention the cover which I think is pretty yet haunting. I like the muted pastel colors of the sky, but the fact that the picture is turned upside down and you see the boy standing there makes it a little creepy. I think this fits the book well because the writing is absolutely beautifully haunting. It can also be a metaphor for how people’s lives are turned upside down when people start returning. This is the debut novel by Jason Mott who is a poet, and that fact is clear in his writing style. You can tell that he understands language and the importance of each and every word he uses throughout his novel. I listened to the audiobook which was fine, and the actor did a good job. The only thing that was worth noting was the voice of Max (Jacob’s friend and a very minor character) sounded like Stewie from Family Guy. I thought that was funny. I enjoyed this book. From the second that I read the synopsis I knew that I needed to read it. I have been reading a lot of zombie books lately and that is where your mind normally goes when you think about the dead rising. So you might be tempted to call this a zombie novel, but Jason Mott puts a new spin on the idea where the risen are flesh and bone and as normal as the day they died. He says he got the idea from a dream where he was sitting down with his mother who had passed and talked with her about what was going on in his life. The novel brings up lots of ethical questions about how to treat these people that is the whole point of the book, but don’t go in thinking there will be solutions. The author doesn’t have the answers, and really we need to look inside and determine our own answers. Of course the people in the book aren’t sure what to think either: are these normal people, do they carry disease or are they an abomination? These returned are often found far away from where they died just as confused as their loved ones. In the beginning a bureau is started to deal with these people. They are given case numbers and are interviewed and brought back to where they were from. It doesn’t take long for the amount of returned to grow which cause people to start treating them differently. They can’t walk down the street without being arrested and are corralled into secured areas like second class citizens because people fear what they don’t understand. The story centers on the small town Arcadia and specifically the Hargraves. They are an older couple who now have to deal with being parents of a young son again. Lucille immediately falls back into being a mother, but Harold is a little reluctant. He doesn’t know what to think about Jacob. All he can remember is being the one who found his son in the river and how he carried him away. I think this is how most people would feel. They love their lost family member but having them back unexplained scares them. I really liked that between the chapters we got to meet some of the returned and see what happens when they come back and how they try to deal with this weird experience. They don’t have any recollections about what happened, and this is a new experience for them as well. It’s not hard to believe that the film rights were snatched up (after a bidding war) before the book was even released. Plan B Entertainment which is led by Brad Pitt won the rights and have already started production on a television drama. The show will be called Resurrection and will premiere March 2014. I think the premise will be a little different than the book, but I will probably be checking it out to see where they go with the story. Jason Mott does a great job of raising moral questions that make you really think about what ifs. The writing is poetic and insightful making it very enjoyable; however, the plot does wane in the middle a bit and slows the pacing. I think it’s still a great book that is worth reading especially if you are a fan of adult contemporary. Check out http://bibliophilesisters.wordpress.com/ for more reviews
Date published: 2013-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What if..... The Returned is Jason Mott's debut novel. Mott came up with his original and thought-provoking premise after his mother passed away. Missing her, he dreamed of her one night. And the next day thought...what if....what if "she actually did come back, just for one night? And what if it wasn't just her? What if it happened to other people, too?" And those are the Returned. Jacob William Hargrave died at eight years old in 1966. Almost fifty years later a Bureau Agent shows up in small town Arcadia, MO at Lucille and Harold's door with - well - with eight year old Jacob. Lucille doesn't question the miracle, but Harold does. As more and more Returned appear, the miracle loses its sheen. Arcadia is declared a holding area for The Returned. More and more are shipped in. The 'True Living' are feeling crowded out and wronged. Tempers flare and aggression grows. But all Lucille wants is to be a mother to her son again. And Harold, he would do anything to keep Lucille happy. Anything. "Just because a person don't quite understand the purpose and meaning of a blessing, that doesn't make it any less of a blessing....does it? Mott captured me. I truly had no idea where he was going to go with this story. Are The Returned a blessing or a curse? We hear some of The Returned's own stories in short insert chapters. We follow along as Lucille and Harold try to deal with the unexpected hand that has been dealt to them. And when the Bureau takes control, the struggle to follow their hearts - at heavy costs. The Returned can be read on many levels - simply exploring the love we feel at the loss of a loved one - what would you do if you could have one more day again? The Returned reminded me a bit of the movie District Nine - ignorant mistreatment of a race/culture/phenomenon that isn't understood or tolerated. There are some chilling chapters from the colonel in charge of the forced encampment. The 'True Living' townsfolk have their own agenda as well. "There were just too many people in the world all of a sudden. Concessions for life had to be made." Religious questions also arise. The reason behind The Returned is never explained, rather the book deals with the aftermath and reactions to this happening. The Bureau Agent, Martin Bellamy is just as much a lead character as Harold and Lucille. He's complex, keeping his thoughts and feelings carefully hidden behind a company demeanour, but adding a nice twist to things as the book progresses. But what touched me the most was the relationship between Lucille and Harold. Without revealing any more of the plot, I have to admit that I found my eyes watering by the end of the book. Mott does a fantastic job bringing these characters to life - their love and their relationship was tangible, real and touching. What if....? Definitely recommended.
Date published: 2013-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable Debut! Just before I went on vacation I received a package from the fabulous people over at Harlequin containing a hardcover copy of Jason Mott's recently released novel The Returned, and while I was away on vacation I actually had the time to read and it boy was it ever an experience. The Returned was like nothing that I have ever read before and I mean that in the kindest way possible. It was one of those novels that sounded so different, so unique that I was both curious to read it and worried I might not enjoy it because of how different it is from my usual reads. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be an amazing novel that will worm it's way into your heart and stay on your mind days after you've finished reading it. I thought the premise of the book was new, and fantastic. What would the world be like if the dead started returning from wherever they went, looking exactly the same as they did before they died? Would we treat them as people? Would they be classified as "Returned" and somehow much less than human? Perhaps, they would be more than human? The novel centers around one family the Hargraves in middle America. Harold and Lucille have been watching the news learning about the folks that are coming back from the "other side" when their own boy is found and returned to their doorstep. The problem? He's 8 years old and Harold and Lucille are in their 70's and so their lives are once again irrevocably changed for both better and worse. The story was beautifully written and I completely fell in love with the Hargraves. The dynamics between all of them was interesting to read about, and seeing how each of them in turn was dealing with all these new changes was great. Jason Mott created an emotionally intense read that captivated me so much that I read the book in one sitting. I just couldn't get enough of it. He made his characters so real and so life like it was hard to believe that they weren't living and breathing people. Overall, The Returned was an absolutely amazing debut novel and I commend Jason Mott for writing such a powerful, thought provoking novel that makes you question things and do some soul searching. I haven't come across a novel like this before and I'm so grateful to have been given the opportunity to read and review this novel and look forward to reading more from this author and am very excited to see how the upcoming television show based on the novel will turn out as well as looking forward to seeing where the next book will go. I highly recommend The Returned to people who want a book that will make you laugh, cringe, question your faith in humanity and restore it all in one 352 pages package. It was a really unique read with an awesome premise and had fantastic writing and characters. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.*
Date published: 2013-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable! All in all I really enjoyed this one. Good points: I personally liked the characters. They weren't grandiose people in the slightest -in fact the main characters were as ordinary as can be. Despite that they were at the center of the novel and some of them, in a wonderful irony, were more rational and kinder than much of the rest of the planet (an example is the central characters of the elderly couple who are faced with the return of their dead son, who simply tried to love him as best they could as their world was falling apart). One of the strengths of the novel was the way in which our race's true and simultaneous potential for both horror and greatness was showcased: the simple cruelty of some who chose to hate, juxtaposed with the courage of others who chose another path, was something which was thoroughly moving. Some have referred to this novel as 'boring'. I must beg to disagree. It is simply a novel in which the focus was on people, as well as the human response to a crisis (i.e. rather than on actions or getting from point A to point B). In other words, the characters were well developed (there were many details given through flashbacks and the like about the main characters, for instance). The world building was also very well done: I have never been to the southern United States (actually I have never been to the U.S. at all!) and yet I could feel its nature and cultural underpinnings in this novel. The dramatic effects of the dead returning to life was also quite well detailed. The plot did not move along very quickly in terms of getting from point A to point B, but I do NOT feel this was a weakness as mentioned above, since this was not the focus of the novel. Rather, time was taken to show the human reaction to unusual events. Constructive criticism: The reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5 (it was rather close to 5, to be honest) was because of the ending. While I appreciated the fact that the reader wasn't 'given all the answers' to something which involves the fundamental mysteries of life, I did feel that the ending was a bit abrupt and could have dealt more in depth with the aftermath of the world crisis as well as the main characters' personal crises. For instance, we don't get to see much of how Harold (i.e. one of the main characters) will deal with getting on with his life after all he has lost. And what will be the consequences for Agent Bellamy? Especially since he went against orders and helped spirit away many of the people who were being detained? And what (if anything) happened to the men who shot Harold's wife? Were there any consequences to their criminal actions? What will be the consequences of having all these detention camps all over the world (even if they were being closed down at the end)? Will what happen lead to political changes in the U.S. or in other countries? While I understand that these questions are not entirely germane with regards to the main theme of the novel (i.e. which the author states has to do with having the opportunity to see and speak to our loved ones one last time) I believe that for the reader these are important questions which were left unanswered. Despite this one aspect, I felt this was a fine novel which I would recommend to anyone. I will certainly look for more from this author. Disclosure: I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2013-07-30

– More About This Product –

The Returned

The Returned

by Jason Mott

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 9.34 × 6.28 × 1.3 in

Published: August 27, 2013

Publisher: Harlequin

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0778315339

ISBN - 13: 9780778315339

Read from the Book

ONEHarold opened the door that day to find a dark-skinned man in a well-cut suit smiling at him. At first he thought of reaching for his shotgun, but then he remembered that Lucille had made him sell it years ago on account of an incident involving a traveling preacher and an argument having to do with hunting dogs."Can I help you?" Harold said, squinting in the sunlight—light which only made the dark-skinned man in the suit look darker."Mr. Hargrave?" the man said. "I suppose," Harold replied."Who is it, Harold?" Lucille called. She was in the living room being vexed by the television. The news announcer was talking about Edmund Blithe, the first of the Returned, and how his life had changed now that he was alive again."Better the second time around?" the announcer on the television asked, speaking directly into the camera, laying the burden of answering squarely on the shoulders of his viewers.The wind rustled through the oak tree in the yard near the house, but the sun was low enough that it drove horizontally beneath the branches and into Harold's eyes. He held a hand over his eyes like a visor, but still, the dark-skinned man and the boy were little more than silhouettes plastered against a green-and-blue backdrop of pine trees beyond the open yard and cloudless sky out past the trees. The man was thin, but square-framed in his manicured suit. The boy was small for what Harold estimated to be about the age of eight or nine.Harold blinked. His eyes adjusted more."Who is i
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From the Publisher

"The Returned transforms a brilliant premise into an extraordinary and beautifully realized novel. My spine is still shivering from the memory of this haunting story. Wow." -Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence

The sensational New York Times bestselling novel about an impossible miracle and a family given a second chance at life…

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's eight-year-old son, Jacob, died tragically in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. But as chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

About the Author

Jason Mott holds a BA in fiction and an MFA in poetry and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Jason lives in North Carolina.

Editorial Reviews

"Thought-provoking, occasionally dreamlike...Mott's story of literal life after death will catch readers by their hearts and capture their imaginations....Grab this book as soon as you possibly can."
-Shelf Awareness