“Return to Me” by Lynn Austin

The heart-searching story of the people of Israel, exiled in Babylon, who learn that they can finally return to their homeland.  King Cyrus has asked the Israelites to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem; but though this should be cause for great joy, not everyone is happy with the news.

For Iddo, the patriach of his family, the news that his people can finally return home brings tears of joy to his face and horrible memories back to the surface.  For his wife Dinah, born in Babylon, this news is less palatable; especially when leaving Babylon means leaving her home, children and grandchildren behind.  For Zechariah, Iddo’s grandson who is on the brink of manhood, this news leaves him facing a very adult decision: leave his parents and travel to Jerusalem, or ignore the call of the God he can’t be sure exists.  For Yael, Zechariah’s young friend, there is no choice about going; but she needs to decide which way to turn in difficult circumstances–the steady stars, or the unfathomable God of her forefathers.

Confusion reigns in everyone’s hearts as they desperately try to navigate the opposition facing them when they arrive at the ruins of their once-great capital.  But the opposition is not limited to the peoples surrounding them. Opposition even comes from their own ranks, and their own hearts.  What does their God require of them?  He is a God of Laws, but is He also…more?  Does fear drive their worship…or love?  

An excellent book that looks at the hearts of people and the difficulties that they must overcome to truly Return.  This is the first of a series and I am eager to read more.  Such a realistic take on what was really going on at the time of the Return to Jerusalem, and, biblically accurate.  The author weaves biblical text into the story effortlessly, from both the prophets and the Torah.  She adds biblical contemporaries into the story at just the right moments.  It is a story that is gripping and enlightening, both for the characters and the readers.

Buy it.  You won’t be sorry.               

Thank you to Net Galley (https://www.netgalley.com) and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with an advance copy to read and review. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

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