Author: Christine Hinwood
Publication: April 14, 2011 (Read Feb 2012)By: Penguin Young Readers Group
I'm rarely at a loss for words but that's where I find myself with this book. I liked it but I also had a few issues with it.
The summary made it sound like the story is about Cam Attling, a soldier returning from war, the only one in fact, from his town of Kayforl to survive. He returns with only one arm, on a horse from the enemy. He has to face questions and accusations from family and friends like... What happened to the other men? Why was he the only one to survive? How did he end up with one of the new Lord's horses? He's called, "Traitor" and "Crippled" behind his back and to top it off his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off by her father even though she doesn't agree with the decision. No one is quite sure what to do with him now that he's home which leaves a battered and broken Cam to figure out where he belongs and how he fits in on his own.
From there, the story begins to get a little confusing when all of the other characters are introduced and the story gets told from their POV's. It left me wondering at times who the main focus of the story really was? Even though the author did show how everyone's lives ultimately intertwined with Cam's, the ending still left me disappointed. I enjoyed Cam and Graceful and felt like their storyline in particular was headed in one direction about midway through the book (when Cam is flashing back to his time during the war) but then went a completely different route by the end. (I equated it to Frodo deciding to keep the ring in the LOTR series instead continuing on to Mordor.)
The world created by Hinwood is imaginative and unique with characters who come to life on the page. The Returning is an epic story of war, love, loss and learning to live again.