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Review: Return To Me, The Restoration Chronicles, Book One by Lynn Austin

Publisher: Baker Publishing Group/Bethany House, October 1, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction, Return to Jerusalem from Babylon
Format: Paperback
Pages: 465
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Bethany House and An Open Book program, in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my opinions.

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The second book in the series, Keepers of the Covenant. The book will be available October 7, 2014.

In 539 BC, Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall for the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, King Belshazzar. The destruction and end is near for the kingdom of Babylon. A new ruler conquered Babylon, his name is Darius the Mede, a Persian king. The Jewish captivity is almost over, the new king has declared all of the people who had been held captive by the previous predecessor may return home. Home for the Jews had been Jerusalem, but the temple is gone, the remains of their beloved homeland is desolate, and the area has been corrupted by the Samaritan people. Many of the Jews living in Babylon have no memory of Jerusalem, for them, home is Babylon. Iddo is a priest, he was a boy when the captivity began. He decides he and his family will return to Jerusalem. His grandson Zechariah is a boy with a heart for God's service. He is also torn by a relationship with a beautiful girl named Yael, and she is drawn to pagan beliefs and idol worship. The Jews living in Babylon have become desensitized and corrupted living among a pagan culture hostile to the One true God. Iddo is anxious to return to Jerusalem, but the journey will be long, and when they return what kind of new life will they be able to create?

My Thoughts:
Return To Me, is written in the third point of view. The story takes place over several years. From the end of Babyon captivity, through the journey back to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of a new life and a new temple.
Iddo's family gives an intimate nature to the book. Their feelings of anxiety and fear of a new life in Jerusalem made me realize what the returning Jews must have felt. They'd lived in Babylon long enough to become "comfortable" living in the city. The pagan influence of the Babylonian people no longer bothered most of them. To pack up their things and move their family to a land they had no memory of must have felt strange and foreign. Iddo is a servant of God above all else. His family looked to him for guidance and direction; however, not all of his family were able to pull away from what they'd become accustomed to.
Yael, is a torn person. Torn between two worlds. One world of worshiping the True God. Another world where sorcery is used for self-interest and gain.
Return To Me, is a historical fiction look at the time period when the Jews returned to Jerusalem, but it is a modern teaching story for us. Living in a western culture where we have a strong influence from the media, we are apt to be persuaded to fall-in with attitudes, words, and actions, which are hostile to God. It can happen so slowly that it goes unnoticed by us until our conscience is not stung.


Joyful said…
I really enjoyed this one and I am looking forward to the release of Keepers of the Covenant.