Monday, November 13, 2017

Where We Belong ~ a Bethany House Book Review

Historical Fiction, Christian authors, Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has long been entertaining and challenging her readers through her various historical fiction books. Her newest release: Where We Belong is another gem in the treasure trove of her writing. It left me guessing the entire time, and the ending was not what I expected, but oh, so much better! 

I received a copy of Where We Belong to review from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Bethany House is one of those names I have come to trust when choosing a book to read in my limited free time. Wanting more than just another story, over the years I have found their selection of authors those who both inspire and challenge me in my own Christian life as I read along and become immersed in the lives of the book's characters.

Where We Belong is the story of two sisters, Rebecca and Flora, beginning when they were just teenagers in 1860 and following their lives through the end of 1890. This 30 year long story unfolds as the reader is taken back and forth from the sister's present adventure in the Sinai Dessert in 1890 through their growing up years and early adulthood. I appreciated how the story wove their current struggles and triumphs into their past adventures and mishaps. 

Lynn Austin once again writes fictional  characters whom you come to love because they are so achingly human, and flawed, that you wish they were real so they could be your friends. Rebecca and Flora share a special deep bond forged partially because of their close ages, and partially because their mother died when they were quite young. Their father raised them in a loving, but businesslike, home. The one point he always reminded the girls was that God had a plan for their lives, and it was up to them, with his guidance, to figure out what that purpose was and to pursue it.

As I read through the exploits of Rebecca and Flora, I was reminded again how close two sisters can become, even when they are vastly different in personality. My own daughters have often finished each others sentences or communicated a whole paragraph of meaning in one or two words when talking with each other. Rebecca and Flora are that kind of a sister duo.

I thoroughly enjoyed Where We Belong and would recommend it for anyone ages 16 and up who is interested in Biblical Archaeology, finding God's purpose for their lives, or who is an avid reader of Historical Fiction.

Now, the spoiler alert!

If you want to be caught completely unaware the first time you read Where We Belong, then stop reading now, click here to get your own copy of the book, and then close out this tab. For the rest of you - carry on!

Rebecca is the studious, academic type, and Flora is the beauty with a huge heart. Sisters are often written as foils of one another, and this pair is no exception to that. What you learn throughout the book is that while they each have strengths, they both most definitely have weaknesses as well - areas where God is still refining them. This made them both lovable in their own way. Where We Belong begins with Rebecca and Flora enduring a sandstorm in the Sinai Dessert. This trip, with their young butler Soren and new ladies' maid Kate is just one of many overseas adventures these sisters from Chicago have made over the past 30 years. We find out that Rebecca and Flora are well off, due to the methodical investments their father made during his lifetime, but desire to use their wealth to further God's purposes, not just their own. Their father first took them abroad during the summer of 1860 and it fueled Rebecca's desire to learn more about foreign places, the ancient world, and the still-young field of Biblical Archaeology. Flora is involved helping the poor and less fortunate in and around Chicago through various charities, but has joined Rebecca on this trip because of her love of her sister, and a desire that Rebecca find what she considers the missing piece of a puzzle that she has long been searching for.

Fans of Lynn Austin will find her trademark attention to detail prevalent throughout the book, without becoming bogged down. Mrs. Austin paints a vivid picture of the characters and settings, while still keeping the plot engaging. This 470 page paperback book would make a delightful read for anyone with a yearning to travel abroad, and would also make a lovely gift both to those who already know Christ, and those who are still searching.

You can connect with Lynn Austin on her website

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I received a free copy of this book from Baker Publishing group in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write na honest review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own. I and disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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