Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

Return to Me is Biblical fiction, and nobody does it better than Lynn Austin.  Based on events of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, it's the story of Jewish exiles returning to Jerusalem from Babylon after 70 years in exile. Ezra and Nehemiah are often skipped over because people think they are just history books without any relevance for today. But, in these histories, God's people face challenges similar to the ones we face today. They try to rebuild the temple despite conflicting messages from the government and interference from pagan neighbors. They try to stay true to their faith, surrounded by idol-worshipers.

The story gets off to an exciting start with Belshazzar's feast where Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall for the Babylonian king. Soon, Babylon is overrun by the Medes and Persians. The conquerors allow the Jews to return to their homeland, and they're given permission to rebuild the temple. Iddo is a priest who, as a child in Jerusalem, remembered the destruction of Jerusalem and being taken to Babylon. His grandson, Zechariah, is studying for the priesthood. Other characters include Iddo's wife, Dinah, and Yael, a girl who is being raised by her father with help from Dinah. Familiar Bible characters, like Haggai, make appearances as the story progresses.

This is the first in a new series, The Restoration Chronicles, by Austin, a Christy Award winner. I always enjoy her books because she has a gift for making you feel like you are part of the story. The setting comes alive for me, a tribute to Austin's diligent research of the Bible and commentaries. Although the story moves a bit slow at times, I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about Old Testament history. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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