THE RETURNED

By Jason Mott
Harlequin MIRASeptember 2013
harlequin.com
jasonmottauthor.com

Hardcover352 pages, $24.95, ISBN: 9780778315339
Subject: Relationships / Family / Personal Challenges

  1. Questions arise as to whether the Returned are miracles from God, or harbingers of the Devil. What was your initial reaction? Did it change over the course of the novel?
  2. If possible, would you choose to call back a deceased loved one? Would you settle for their being somewhat altered, albeit “a copy” of what they were in life?
  3. In the beginning of the novel, Lucille says “I don’t know what they are. All I know is they’re not like you and me. … They’re Devils. They’ve just come here to kill us, or tempt us. These are the end days. …” However, after the return of Jacob, she embraces him fully as her son. Did this surprise you? Do you think that she showed a natural maternal reaction? Can you imagine a mother responding differently?
  4. How does Agent Bellamy’s reaction to his Returned mother differ from that of Lucille and Howard? Why does he hide her true identity from them?
  5. In a real life instance of the Returned, do you imagine a government intervention like the one in Arcadia? Why or why not?
  6. Fred Green is fiercely opposed to the presence of the Returned. Why? How much of his reaction has to do with the death of his wife? How do you think he would have reacted had she returned?
  7. Jason Mott writes a very moving Author’s Note at the end of the novel. Did his explanation of his feelings following his mother’s death and its influence on his writing affect the way you perceived the story? In retrospect, in which parts of the book do Mott’s personal reckonings seem to emerge most strongly?
  8. A passage at the end of the novel reads: “All the while, Lucille had never believed Jacob to be her son. But, all the while, Harold knew that he was. Maybe that’s the way it was for everyone. Some folks locked the doors of their hearts when they lost someone. Others kept the doors and windows open, letting memory and love pass through freely. And maybe that was the way it was supposed to be, Harold thought.” Discuss the idea expressed in this statement. Is The Returned a metaphor for the different ways we grieve?

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