My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In Return to Me Lynn Austin returns to writing in the genre–biblical fiction–where I first met her. This story is set in the time of the exile and follows the priest Iddo and his son Zacharias as their family returns to a ravished Jersualem with the intention of rebuilding the temple.
The book is peopled by believable characters who go through the kinds of things you’d expect returning exiles to go through. Iddo’s wife, Dinah, pines for her children and grandchildren that never made the trek back and struggles to be content in her primitive Jerusalem home.
Zachariah’s best friend Yael feels the strong pull of astrology as she seeks to discover whether her sick mother will live. The star charts she gets from the Babylonian seer Parthia become a snare to her as she befriends a Samaritan family.
Main character Zacharias often misses his parents but believes that God has him in Jerusalem for a reason–if only He would make it clear.
It’s a story that takes place over a generation and gives life to an interesting and dramatic era of Israel’s history. However I found it slow-moving in parts, and a tad long. Perhaps this is because the author attempts to stay close to the Bible’s story line where there are years without too much happening.
Lovers of Bible fiction and students of Jewish history will want to add this book to their collections.
I received Return to Me as a gift from the publisher, Bethany House. As usual, my Kindle edition from NetGalley was full of weird spacing and missing ‘ff’s.