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Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles) (Volume 1) Paperback – October 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Christy Award Hall of Fame member Austin (Chronicles of the Kings series) resumes her fictional tour through biblical history with book one of the Restoration Chronicles, which follows the sojourn of the exiled Israelites in Babylon and their return to Jerusalem. Elderly Iddo can't understand the spiritual complacency of his sons, who would rather stay in Babylon than heed God's call. But his grandson Zechariah proves to be a devout, apt student of the Torah, helping to rebuild the Temple when they arrive in Judea and growing into his priestly destiny. But spiritual lethargy isn't a problem just for those who stayed behind. The long fight to reestablish a foothold in Judea grows wearisome for many who have returned. Pagan neighbors oppose the Israelites economically and entice them spiritually. Iddo, Zechariah, and several family members experience personal crises as they try to answer the main question of the story: what does God truly want from his people—obedience or faith? Secondary characters, mostly women, provide strong subplots, and Austin shines a bright light on ancient Jewish life and lands. Biblical fiction fans will cheer her latest offering, which bolsters this challenging genre. (Oct.)

From the Back Cover

From the Acclaimed Author of Chronicles of the Kings

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true--King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor. For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return--return to their home and their God.

Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading. Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah--and history--forever.

Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

"Austin shines a bright light on ancient Jewish life and lands. Biblical fiction fans will cheer her latest offering, which bolsters this challenging genre." --Publishers Weekly

"Biblical fiction enthusiasts can rejoice at the new series from Austin... Lively characters enmeshed in Jewish tradition provide an Old Testament drama that is sure to garner readership." --RT Book Reviews

"Eight-time Christy Award-winning author Austin launches a powerful new historical series that brings the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah to life. This work is sure to attract fans of Francine Rivers's biblical series." --Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Series: The Restoration Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764208985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764208980
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (380 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We're Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Katie Garvin on October 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've read a few of Lynn Austin's work in the past, and have always enjoyed the trip into the past that I've experienced through her books. Return to Me was no exception. With stellar writing and an intriguing and gripping plot, it didn't take me long to get lost in the characters lives.

I always really enjoy reading Biblical Fiction, and when I learned that Return to Me was about the Jews return to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon, I couldn't resist this book - I'd never read a book on this particular time period or historical event before, and was thoroughly intrigued!

The opening of Return to Me did a fabulous job of taking me back in time to be with Daniel when he was summoned for that all-important interpretation of the 'handwriting on the wall'. Austin portrayed Daniel so well - I was intrigued and interested in this character and his way of thinking. When you can read a story that portrays a character so well, it doesn't feel like your reading it at all -- but seeing it lived out in your mind -- I call that an incredible gift on the author's part. Those are the stories that you fly through, enjoy the best, and remember the longest.

Return to Me by Lynn Austin was a joy to read. I loved the biblical setting, the characters, the historical event...everything! As I've already said, the writing was amazing. The storyplot was great, too! If you haven't read any books by Austin, then I highly recommend you get a copy of Return to Me and enjoy it as soon as possible! :-)

I reviewed this book for Bethany via Litfuse. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michele A. Gerrells on October 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love Biblical fiction. I truly do! Now I know you may think that reading Biblical fiction is not the true account from the Bible and by and large it is not. Biblical fiction is a story taken from the Bible and told from an authors perspective. Which of course does not always keep with the true account of that same story in the Bible. However when I read a story based on the Bible it always causes me to dig deeper into the actual Biblical account of the story. I want to get out my Bible and read for myself the account of the story and find the true meaning of the story. I want to research the story and learn from it.

Lynn Austin does exactly that with her newest Book Return to Me, Book One of The Restoration Chronicles. I loved this book! I loved the richness of the story, the descriptions of Babylon and Jerusalem. The struggles of the Jewish people as they return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. It never occurred to me that even though the Jewish people were exiled to Babylon and grieved and longed for their return to Jerusalem, that many had became complacent. The Jewish people had been exiled to Babylon for 70 years. Many were settled there with their lives and families. They wanted to stay. To remain with what was familiar to them. They were frightened of change. Afraid of the future, the unknown and the long arduous journey back to Jerusalem.

It was sad to me to see Iddo’s own sons not want to return to their homeland. The struggle between families and how torn so many were. Once they arrived back in Jerusalem there were more struggles.

What I took away from this story was to trust God always, in all things and in all ways, regardless of what is going on around us or what seems to be nearly impossible.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By the ReviewNotes TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
With Return to Me, the first in the Restoration Chronicles Series, bestselling author and Christy Award Hall of Fame member, Lynn Austin, launches a new biblical saga of hope and redemption following the footprints of the exiled Israelites in Babylon and their return to Jerusalem.

Babylon was a land that was once foreign to them. It was a strange land! They sat by the river bank and wept for their homeland, deeply yearning to return. They were taken as captives - the Babylonians were their sworn enemies. Yet, when months rolled into years and years into decades, spiritual lethargy set in, Babylon becomes their home and the enemies became family.

But a faithful remnant continues to pray for deliverance. When the time finally came, very few were willing to take advantage of the offer made by King Cyrus. They had become complacent. The hunger, thirst and desire were no longer there. Foreign had become home, and the enemy was now family.

The journey home was not an easy one. Families were torn apart, many choosing to remain in Babylon, and only a few faithful ready to make the arduous journey. Like the wandering in the wilderness during the time of Moses, many began to question. But it was Iddo, the priest, and his grandson, Zechariah, who remained steadfast. Even Zechariah had his own doubts. But one life-changing encounter with God transformed him and history forever.

Based on the book of Ezra and Nehemiah, this fictional account of a period in Jewish history is an absorbing story of two men who stood up for a cause in the midst of doubt and desperation as the faithful remnant struggle to reconstruct their lives in submission to the will of God who beckons them to the Promised Land.
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