When Tess arranges a weekend love trip back to husband Steve’s hometown, her secret plan to make a baby is not the only trap that he is walking into…
Tess and Steve are a dysfunctional couple in a rocky marriage. Despite this Tess yearns for a baby more than a divorce and plans a secret conception during a trip to her husband’s hometown of Harlech. But when they get there Steve is anything but horny. Instead, he begins to remember his supposed halcyon days of childhood with horrible clarity. He wasn’t the popular sports hero he thought he was. Now it seems his friends don’t want to know and he has no memory of the enthusiastic locals who greet him.
A young girl comes to Tess in her dreams, is this her child trying to warn her? Or the child of the mysterious Anwen who has lent them the cottage? With her hopes for pregnancy fading, she longs for a different future without her domineering husband, but can she survive without him?
And can Steve survive his return to Harlech as the locals seek retribution for the crimes of his past.
After reading Ruth Torjussen’s first book Friends and Neighbours, I was certainly intrigued to see what this latest release of hers would be like, especially as it is a rather different feel than the previous novel.
In Return to Harlech we meet Tess, a woman who is rather stuck in a failing, dysfunctional marriage to Steve. Despite all of the problems they are encountering, and the further apart they seem to be becoming with one another, Tess still longs for a baby. In a desperate attempt to achieve her dreams of conceiving, and potentially bridging the void that has grown between Husband and Wife, Tess comes up with a plan to get pregnant without Steve being any the wiser.
Tess arranges for them to go to Harlech, the place in which Steve was born and raised, but when they arrive in his hometown, things are far from perfect and a long shot from how Steve seems to remember. When they are faced with a rather hostile reception, Steve begins to spiral as he tries to piece together all the thought he knew about himself and the place he called home for many years.
Tess has her own problems to face too, as she is having recurrent dreams featuring a young girl. This troubles Tess a great deal as she tries to fathom out whether these dreams are a sign. As everything begins to unravel for both Tess and Steve, it isn’t long before revenge seeks them out.
As the consequences of the characters actions come to light, and they face revenge for their mistakes, the story takes a dark turn, that at times makes your stomach knot in anticipation. As the suspense levels ramped up as the book progressed I found myself frantically turning the pages, desperate to know who was behind it all and more importantly, why!.
Ruth Torjussen has a marvellous way of creating these incredibly flawed characters, and gives them all so much context and individuality along the way. The way in which this impacts upon the characters interactions throughout the story is brilliant, and adds a whole new level of drama and tension to this fantastic book.
About the Author
Ruth Torjussen grew up in Stoke but now lives and works in Brighton as a Shared Lives Carer.
She is a passionate advocate of eating local food grown through regenerative farming as the answer to climate change. She writes novels and scripts across different genres but always with an eye on what faces us in the next decade.
Follow her on Twitter @RTorjussen,
YouTube Torjussen Ruth
*Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours and Ruth Torjussen for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.* #AD #Gifted