Monday, June 11, 2007

Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me

"It was Roxy, the prodigal, who captured my attention at first, but I also loved getting to know Elena, the good daughter, and discovering her hurts and hopes. By the time I was done writing the novel, I'd come to care about every member of the Burke family. I hope you will, too."--Robin Lee Hatcher

One of two siblings goes off to waste an inheritance on riotous living, while the other sibling stays home and does the right thing. The wayward sibling returns, broken and beaten down, to a joyous welcome from the father.

Sound familiar? Yes, it's the biblical story of the Prodigal Son. But in her new book, Return to Me, Robin Lee Hatcher has taken the essential elements of the age-old tale to spin a modern story of two sisters. And under her skillful pen, the result is an enjoyable and absorbing read.

I've enjoyed many of Robin Lee Hatcher's books because of her ability to weave a story and make the characters come to life. Return to Me is no exception.

The story begins with Roxy Burke at the end of her rope. Her quest for singing stardom in Nashville has come to a dead end, thanks to her own unwise, prideful and irresponsible decisions. She has literally wasted all her inheritance, is broken and desparate.

That's when she decides to go back home to Boise, Idaho.

The story of how her return is accepted by her father, Jonathan, and Elena--the "good" sister--is interesting enough. But Hatcher adds a complication: Elena is now engaged to marry Roxy's former love, Wyatt.

It's to Hatcher's credit that we pull for Roxy, despite the obvious mistakes she's made and the bad things she's done. There is an appealing vulnerability to her character.

Woven throughout the story are flashbacks into the characters' past lives that give us a greater understanding of them and provide insight into their present actions. The result: you care about Roxy, Elena and Wyatt, and they become real people.

Hatcher makes no apologies for including a clear Christian message in the story. You will finish the book with your faith affirmed, and with the satisfaction of having experienced a very good read.

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