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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
While Return to Hoffman Grove is a love story, it is also a story of friendship. The story opens with Cinda meeting with her closest friends from childhood to get over yet another broken relationship. This scene is very telling and lets us know a lot about Cinda, which also gives us a clue about how she will act in certain situations. After the weak attempt at a girls' night out, Cinda runs into her high school best friend Brody, who has returned to revive an old crisis center. In this one moment, author Karla Brandenburg is able to set the scene for the entire book. There is history between Cinda and Brody, not necessarily romantic, but definitely full of tension and even some anger. Brody promised not to leave Cinda stuck with her fighting parents, but he left without her. Without an explanation.
Very early into Return to Hoffman Grove, we learn that it will be much more than a tale of friendship and second chance love. It is also a bit of a mystery as Cinda returns home after the so-called girls’ night out to find her house on fire. As these acts of violence increase, Cinda reverts to form and attempts to handle it all on her own. But Brody is there, trying to win her over and regain her trust. Unfortunately, his boss questions his loyalty and he loses the one thing that has held him together the past decade: his job. Karla Brandenburg has created a wonderful world in Hoffman Grove, full of old friends struggling with personal demons while trying to hang on to those relationships that helped them through the most tumultuous times of their lives.