Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
“Instead of waiting for God’s presence to come to me again, He wanted me to pursue Him the way the Torah says to do, with all my heart and soul and strength. Following rules and offering sacrifices is meaningless without love,” Zechariah explains to Yael in Lynn Austin’s novel, Return to Me.
First of the Restoration Chronicles series, this four hundred and fifty-nine page paperback book is targeted toward readers who enjoy the fictionalization of Old Testament Bible stories. Using the New International Version of the Bible, there is no profanity or lewd scenes except for minor violence and sorcery. Divided into six sections that cover over a twenty year time period, after the lengthy tome is a short glossary along with a note to the reader and promotions of the author’s other works.
Being a Jew in Babylon during seventy years of captivity was a hard life. But when King Cyrus decreed Jewish people could return to Jerusalem to rebuild Solomon’s Temple, priests such as Iddo was more than happy. However, his wife and children did not want to leave the comfort, familiarity, and friendships they made in the pagan world that promoted rituals over belief in the One True God.
While the determined fifty-seven year old Iddo and his wife, Dinah, prepare for the long trip, grandson Zechariah prays mightily to God if he should go or stay. He gets his answer during his bar mitzvah and becomes one of the forty-two thousand Jewish sojourners starting over. In the caravan, Zechariah’s best friend, the young and beautiful Yael, and her father accompany them.
When they arrive in Jerusalem, Dinah becomes bitter and angry as she misses her children while Iddo tries to remain politically correct with other Levites. Swayed by forbidden sorcery, astrology, and idolatry, Yael makes Zechariah promise not to tell others of her vices as she yearns for the different, less-strict life of the nearby Samaritans, making him more diligent in his quest to find God.
With the focal point of returning to their homeland being to rebuild the Temple in spite of the constant setbacks, Iddo, Dinah, Zechariah, and Yael realize that instead of God seeking out them, He wants them to return to Him.
As Zechariah grows from young boy to a godly prophet, the author weaves Biblical characters and history taken from Second Kings, Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Daniel in a fictional setting that makes the Scriptures come more to life.
This book was furnished by The Book Club Network, Inc. in lieu of an unbiased review.