Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Return To Me By Lynn Austin Book Review

17384512 // Return To Me //
The Restoration Chronicles Book #1
By Lynn Austin
{Review By Bethany}

Title: Return To Me
Series: The Restoration Chronicles // Book 1
Author: Lynn Austin
Source: Bethany House Book Review Program
Number of Pages: 459
ISBN: 0764208985
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
// Book Synopsis //

"After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo's prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God's chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain.

Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers.

Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, "Return to Me" tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home."

// Bethany's Book Review //
Return to Me is an epic novel based on the Old Testament in the Holy Bible, which is the first in the well anticipated Restoration Chronicles series from author Lynn Austin!
This is the second book I've read by Lynn Austin, and I was very pleased with it! I was very intrigued when I first heard about this book, since there aren't a lot of biblical fiction novels out there; so I was very eager to read it. Turns out, Austin doesn't disappoint, and gives a wonderfully written epic novel that is very close to the original stories found in the Old Testament. This was very important for me, as I want it to be as close to the original as possible; and I think that Lynn Austin did a excellent job with this novel. Now I'm very eager to read the second book in the series!
While this book was rather long (around 450 pages), it covered about 20 years of the characters lives, and had excellent character development. I personally loved getting to view well known Bible stories in a new light, as you get to see other issues and things going on at that time to compare against the story, which really helped me see the story of the early Christians' while in captivity and after being released to re-build the Temple; in a different light. This book did a wonderful job of reminding me how even though the Old Testament can seem boring and irrelevant at times, how it really contains such important stories of those who lives long ago-stories we will do well not to forget. For history that is forgotten is sure to repeat itself.  I would highly encourage anyone who is having a "dry" time in the Old Testament, to read this book as it is definitely refreshing "water" to a quenched soul. I was actually reading from Isaiah for my daily devotions for the Bible in A Year program during the time I was reading this book; and it was very helpful to be reading Return to Me at the same time, as things such as the Israelites customs, sacrificial schedule, way of living, etc. all the sudden influences how I read from Isaiah. It helped me to understand Isaiah better since I was able to see the background and the bigger picture, as well as contributed to a overall better time reading from my Bible as it didn't seem as dry having read a fictionalized story based from that time.
I really enjoyed meeting the characters, Iddo, and his family and friends, in this story and following their journey from being captives in Babylon to being freed and re-building King Solomon's Temple-which is a task that is far easier said than done. Throw in some antsy pagan neighbors trying to influence you for bad and even kill you, and a difficulty getting permission from the King to rebuild, and add that to everyday life in the village and you've got yourself a very interesting novel.
I liked how Lynn wrote this book to give the perspective from each of the characters, and how she would usually switch out perspectives each chapter, with the chapter coming from the view of a different person each time-giving you a very well-rounded idea of the characters and their most secret thoughts that would otherwise be unknown. I loved getting to see how the characters changed over the years and grew closer to Christ though struggles, and it really encouraged me.
Overall, I loved this refreshing novel from Lynn Austin, and can't wait for book two and book three in the series, to continue the journey! I would highly recommend this book to Austin fans or fans of biblical fiction, as it is a epic read that is both refreshing and enriching!
N O T E :: I received a free copy of Return to Me from the publisher, to read and review. I was not required to give a good review, if I didn't like the book, and was not paid in any way for reading and reviewing this book. All thoughts expressed in my review are completely honest and unbiased.

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