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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Just when you think that Kathleen Shoop has delivered her most heart-breaking and sensitive romance, along comes Return To Love, book two in the Endless Love series. The novella returns us to the relationship of newlyweds Hale and April, where a whole new level of hurt has cast a shadow over their lives. Hale returns safely, on leave from Vietnam in 1970, to the news that April has given birth to a stillborn child. The novella focuses on April’s journey of processing her grief in a time when mothers were often told to ‘just move on’ after such a tragic loss, but it also gives us Hale’s perspective on trying to heal the wounds of a wife that he couldn’t be there to support during the most trying and terrifying time of her life.
Return To Love is a sensitive and detailed account of a young couple dealing with a tragic loss. For readers like me who know little of Seventies culture, the attitude towards women’s mental health is both shocking and fascinating. Kathleen Shoop creates a wonderful, forward-thinking man in Hale Abercrombie, who recognises the injustice of a society determined to view women’s emotions as weaknesses. The rebuilding of Hale and April’s relationship is bittersweet but ultimately rewarding. It was also wonderful to be introduced to more of the characters that inhabit their world after book one was so heavily focused on the central pair. Little touches like the recipes in the back of the novella were also a surprising delight; I just might have to make that chocolate pecan pie!