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Return to Sender

4.67  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  24 reviews
1955 ~ Father Theo Riley never wanted to be a priest, nor a killer. The former boxing champion and Korean War veteran gave up more than a career when he went into the Army. He lost the only thing he ever wanted: his love, Andréa Bouvre. Friends thought Theo entered the priesthood to mend his broken heart or atone for the massacred orphans he couldn’t save in Korea. However ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published October 29th 2014 by Booktrope (first published October 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.67  · 
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Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Return to Sender by Mindy S. Halleck is 2014 Booktrope publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Return to Sender is a multi- genre novel with many layers which intertwine. Set back in the era immediately following the Korean war and centered geographically around Oregon, the story follows Father Theodore Riley from his childhood to his return from the war and his subsequently entering the priesthood , something he felt he must do to honor his mother, who
Jessica H
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mindy Halleck’s debut novel, Return to Sender is a multi-layered psychological exploration of pain, guilt, shame and ultimately (this isn’t a spoiler), redemption. Halleck digs deep into the darkest pockets of her character’s psyches and tugs at secrets that would rather remain hidden.

Although the prolog explains Father Theodore Riley’s position (physically and emotionally wounded alcoholic priest assigned to redeem the unredeemable), the first few sentences of the opening chapter give readers
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Congratulations, Mindy Sitton-Halleck! Return to Sender put me on the Oregon coast and took me back in time--to Manzanita's quieter days. Sitton-Halleck's fictional characters became as solid as her setting. I came to know how each of them moved around the small town. Her rotating narrators fleshed out the view points. Readers spend time at the home of her hero-warrior-priest tending to his fish tank, in the country store with his sister making pie, or with her nasty villain concocting his nasty ...more
Just another reader
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The tale revolves around Father Theodore Riley, whose mission it is to become a priest, according to the wishes of his mother. Set in the post-Korean war time frame, the tale takes us through Riley's journey as he returns from the war to find ruined remnants of all that he had left behind, when going away - his beloved, his sister, his birth town have all been ravaged in different manners and to different degrees.
Karen PH
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mindy Halleck’s literary thriller Return to Sender takes us to small town America after the Korean War. Her lyrical prose weaves a tale of love, sins, failure, atonement and redemption.

Halleck’s protagonist, Theo, an alcoholic Irish priest, lives the life his brother was robbed of. He seeks atonement for his childhood revenge against those who took his brother’s life, and his failure to save unwanted mixed-race orphans in the Korean War. The wound of his lost childhood sweetheart rips open when
Dorothy Rice
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and deft debut novel from Mindy Halleck, Return to Sender weaves together the life stories of the varied residents of a small town on the rugged Oregon coast. All of the characters, a resilient, quirky and irresistible bunch, led by the charismatic and tortured priest, harbor wounds and secrets that are closely held and difficult to exorcise. From the wise Solomon, last of his tribe, to the troubled little girl who finally finds a home and family, Return to Sender brings to life a ver ...more
Paddy Eger
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mindy Halleck has written a novel with great intrigue, vivid descriptions and characters along with a fluid story that draws you into and holds you in the tiny oceanfront community of Manzanita, Oregon.

She brings so many elements into play: treachery, guilt, conflict, loss and recovery, redemption, family and more. It's a hard book to set aside once you enter into the community of characters.

A wonderful read!
Mary Arntson
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up way too late reading this book. I like the way she intertwined the different lives of the people in the book. There is love, mystery and moral decisions to be made in the story. I will highly recommend it to my friends.
Deb Idiens
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I loved the characters and how they were portrayed, and how the story just kept you reading. I really did not want this book to end, but couldn't wait for the ending. I have found a new author to read and follow. Thank you Mindy. ...more
Susan Frederick
I just finished reading Return to Sender, author Mindy Halleck’s beautiful novel set in Manzanita, Oregon. Her characters are compelling, complicated – and people I would love to know! Halleck has managed the trick of writing a literary novel that’s also a page turner, and she did plenty of research on a story that explores the ravages of war, spirituality and how relationships change us. It’s available on Amazon. I highly recommend it.
Jessica Edouard
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, a story not to be forgotten!

Still shaken by this emotional, perfectly written tale all I can say is , wow! I'm not sure if I should cry or smoke a cigeratte. All bets were off when I read the word, Bear! Thank you, Ms. Halleck, I very much look forward to your next novel and by the way, it's now 4 a.m! Bravo!
Victoria Shea
Return to Sender is very well written--a page turner for sure. But I abandoned it because it is a bit too sinister for me. I think most people would LOVE it.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Memorable characters, strong settings, true to the time, satisfying climax, excellent use of language and culture.
Lilac Reviews
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This is a great thriller novel. The chapters are labelled when the point of view changes from the main character Theo Riley or the villain, Genghis Hansel. There are also times when we are in a character's past. It is a difficult task to decide exactly where to start a story. The author shares a portion of Theo’s childhood before we are given a hint the current conflict and main story line. I understand why the author might have thought we needed to know his backstory. But she shared two differe ...more
Librarian Judith
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
Mindy Halleck shares a suspenseful look at a small town and a family in the 1950s who has seen more than its share of death and suffering. It is told, in first person, from multiple characters viewpoints, but the author clearly labels each change, which helps keeps any confusion at bay. There are also several divergents in time as the characters look back at times earlier- these are also labeled before each segment.

It's more suspense than mystery as there is no wondering who the "bad guy" is...h
Morgan Wyatt
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Return to Sender is a novel about impulsive choices and the continual impact they have on our lives. Author Mindy Halleck paints a colorful portrait of family tensions in the turn of the century Ireland. A tragic choice sends the Riley family to America to escape the machinations of a vengeful rival. It also sets young Theo onto the path of priesthood that is both unwelcomed and unsuitable. The timeline jumps around a bit, reflecting on what could have been, then hurling itself into the present. ...more
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Theo, aged 10 in Ireland, takes a stand in the world of gratuitous violence. Becoming American, he finds new violent depths in unspeakable tragedies of orphans in the Korean War. Atoning as a priest, he names his new action path when he cries out in Oregon, many years later, “I am Raven Two Fists!” having been helped to the name by the last Nehalem Indian, Solomon. That cry was my favorite moment in the book.

Such a strong story, standing tall on its own, I nevertheless found myself thinking of r
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book through the Goodreads FirstReads program in exchange for an honest review.

The book was engaging from the beginning as we watch Theo change the course of his life forever in honor and memory of his brother and due to his family's expectations. One instant in childhood changes this man's life forever, and he spends the rest of his life regretting what he did in his chosen life, regretting what he lost in making that choice, and seeking redemption and atonement.

He en
Michael Dally
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Won this book through a goodreads giveaway.

Really enjoyed this book. Story was very well written with strong character development and likeable characters. The pace of the book was well done and moved along smoothly with no real divergents from the main story line. Though the story is straight forward with no real twists or suprises, it really didn't need them, and I found myself continuing to read to see how it would all end. One problem some people might have would be with the shortness and nu
Kirsten Steen
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully-written debut novel!
This amazingly well-written and plotted debut novel is set in one of my favorite Oregon Coastal towns, Manzanita. I loved the main character who battles more than one demon since returning from the Korean War and thoroughly enjoyed all of his interactions with the other characters, especially the hilarious Church Ladies. The secondary characters equally showed their lovable but flawed personalities and quirky traits through their own voices. I am always on the lo
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beware, when you start reading Return to Sender by Mindy Halleck , you will ignore your housecleaning, eating and sleeping, and your favorite TV shows. I read it in one weekend, I just loved it.

Initially I wasn't sure this was my type of genre by the description, but I read it anyway. However, from page 6, I was consumed by the need to keep reading, Wow, what a hook on page 6 that effectually alters that little Irish Catholic boy's life, forever.

This book involves religious clash, cultural divis
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I heard Mindy’s award-winning short story, ‘The Sound of Rain,’ inspired her novel, ‘Return to Sender,’ I knew I had to read the book. She writes like a literary Dan Brown, twisting three men of different spiritual backgrounds into a compelling read. Father Theodore Riley has a bit of the bastard in him and seeks redemption through good deeds and the protection of his little sister Imogene, who cooks daily café specials of blackberry pie and elk chili. In their seaside community is another ...more
Bill Johnson
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Insightful story about an Catholic Priest who has to deal with his past in a small, coastal Oregon town. A very, very frightful villain. An old Indian shaman was one of my favorite characters.
Judith Works
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Craig Zajac
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Feb 19, 2015
Mindy Halleck
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Writers and Readers : Return to Sender 1 8 May 01, 2015 06:54AM  

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Award winning author Mindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest writer, blogger and writing instructor. Her short story, The Sound of Rain, which placed in the Writer’s Digest Literary Contest blossomed into her first novel RETURN TO SENDER. Mindy blogs at Literary Liaisons and is a member of Willamette Writers and the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations, and serves on the steering committee for the ...more

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