Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles – Book 1) by Lynn Austin

About the book (description from back of book) – After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true – King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem.  Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God’s renewed favor.  For too long they’ve remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo’s sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart.  And so only a few choose to leave everything to return – return to their home and their God.  Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy.  As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo’s beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God’s leading.  Zecharaiah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the family they left behind.  But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah – and history – forever.

Review:  Return to Me is a very good book.  This is the first book I have read by Lynn Austin and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This is book one in her new series – The Restoration Chronicles and I look forward to reading more in this particular series.

Although the book is fiction, it is based on Old Testament scripture which tells of the Israelites’ being taken captive and their exile to Babylon after many years of disobedience to God and their return to the Promised Land after the 70 years of exile.  I enjoy reading this type of book because it causes me to really think about actual characters and events within Scripture and how the people may have dealt with their circumstances. 
Iddo remembers being taken captive and removed from the Promised Land.  He remembers all the horrors and the people who died along the journey from Jerusalem to Babylon.  Although he has a “good life” in Babylon, his heart longs to return, just as Scripture told they would someday.  He has married, raised a family, and is now trying to instill in his grandchildren who God is and the promises from God.  When King Cyrus gives the decree that the children of Israel may return to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, Iddo is beyond ecstatic.  He is ready to leave right away, but his family has great reservations.  They have become very comfortable with their lives in Babylon and have forgotten all that Iddo has taught them concerning their true heritage.  Outside of Iddo’s wife Dinah, his oldest grandson, Zechariah is the only one of the family that leaves with him.  Iddo’s children promise to come later once Jerusalem is rebuilt, but their lack of faith in the God of Israel forever leaves a mark upon their lives.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book is that it reminds me so strongly of the scripture in Deuteronomy 6, where the children of Israel were instructed/commanded to teach their children about God so that their “days may be long.”  It reminds me how often we turn to God in trouble and He “rescues us” and then we forget Him when things are good.  Although this story is written in the setting of Old Testament days, it could just as easily have been set in our modern day.  Even though this book has been labeled fiction, it carries a whole lot of truth!

I highly recommend “Return to Me” – I most definitely will be reading more by Lynn Austin! (rev. P. Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Return to Me was provided to us by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author, Lynn Austin, and publisher Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for our honest review. No compensation was received for this review.

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