Review: Robin Lee Hatcher’s RETURN TO ME

Every family has one. A rebellious child. Not a bad child, just a headstrong one. It’s the same for the Burke family in Robin Lee Hatcher’s new book Return to Me.

Jonathan Burke has two daughters, Elena and Roxy. The fractures in his family begin with the loss of their mother in childbirth. The last promise Elena makes her mother before her death is that she will take care of her little sister, Roxy. And she tries. Elena is a dutiful daughter and becomes a lovely Christian young woman, but as her sister puts it, Elena has never wanted anything that didn’t meet her father’s approval.

Such a world is too small for Roxy. She’s the popular sister, the beautiful sister, the one to whom everyone’s attention is drawn. So when she receives an inheritance at the age of twenty-five, she takes off to Nashville to make it as a country singer despite the objections of her father and her sister. The rift in the family is of Roxy’s making, but it ends up breaking her father’s heart. And as for Elena? Her last words to her sister are that you reap what you sow. Her heart hardens. She thinks that Roxy is asking for whatever happens to her.

A lot of things do happen to Roxy in Nashville, and none of them are the success of which she has dreamed. Finally, broken and hungry, she hears a Voice that summons her home. Little does she know that she’s coming home in more than one way.

There are some twists in the story of the Burke family, not the least of which is the fact that when Roxy gets home, she finds her former boyfriend, Wyatt, engaged to her sister. Wyatt feels a call to the ministry, and it is because of his testimony that Roxy really comes home. To her Heavenly Father.

I cried when I read this book. As a parent, I felt for Jonathan Burke. As someone who has known the feeling of being separated from God, I felt for Roxy. And as a sister, I felt for Elena as she struggled with extending grace.

Not having to earn your place is a hard idea for people to wrap their heads around, and the story of the Prodigal deserves retelling. Both sisters in the story learn that it isn’t possible to hide their failings from God. And they learn that He loves them anyway.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. — Ephesians 2:8,9


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June 2007
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