Harold and Lucille Hargrave lost their only son, 8-year-old Jacob, about 50 years ago and in the years since have settled into life with just each other for company. But one night, a government man knocks on the door with Jacob standing next to him – still 8 years old, but living and breathing. There are reports from all over of the dead returning – no one knows how or why, but suddenly people long gone are reappearing as if they’d never left. The small Southern town that the Hargraves call home will become a community threatened with destruction over the chaos created by the dead no longer remaining dead.
The premise for The Returned is so great – what would you do if one day a loved one who had passed away showed up again? Not as a zombie, but just as normal and alive as they had been right before they died? It’s a sad, thought-provoking concept.
Sadly, I never really connected with the main characters. Being set in the south and focusing on an elderly couple, there was a lot of religious talk being thrown around – it wasn’t preachy, but it did define the characters to a certain degree and I had a hard time relating to that. By the end I still had a lot of questions about the phenomenon that went unanswered, and that bugged me at first. But the more I thought about it, that might have been the point – to have some more time with the people we loved and lost, and just count it as a blessing instead of looking for explanations.
This was a good book, but not great. Apparently it’s already being adapted for a TV show called Resurrection, set to premiere in March, and I’ll be interested in checking that out. I think the tv show will have a greater opportunity to explore some more of the characters, and I’ll be curious to see spin they put on the miracle of dead people returning to life.
Sarah Says: 3 stars