Read the back of Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher and, like me, you might groan. Another modern-day version of the Prodigal Son, this current version following Roxy Burke’s journey home after an unsuccessful attempt at making it in the music world of Nashville. However, this journey hardly ends at the front door, as Roxy’s return creates turbulence for the rest of her family, especially her sister Elena. While Roxy easily finds forgiveness from her father, her older sister Elena’s response is less than welcoming.
Despite the initial groan from the well-known theme of the story, I was quickly drawn in by the easy-going language and frequent, fast-action flashbacks. Pictures of the sisters’ earlier lives create life-like characters and an understanding of their motivations and personalities. The close relationship of the sisters in their youth when contrasted with their strained relationship at Roxy’s return is heartbreaking. An added twist in the relationship comes from Wyatt, Roxy’s former boyfriend, now Elena’s fiancée. The stress from that situation was enough to keep me on edge and turning pages.
Roxy, though arrogant and frustrating in many of the flashbacks, undergoes a transformation that makes her character easy to like, both by the reader and the other characters in the story. It is Elena, however, who is the more complex character. Despite the fact that she is the “good” sister who has been hurt by Roxy’s actions, her unforgiving nature and harsh treatment of her sister makes her easy to dislike. At the same time, she is the character I found myself relating to most in the story. The honesty of her response to her sister and the picture of her trying to justify her actions to herself is exactly something I would do. I can appreciate Elena because I can see myself in her, as much as I’d rather point the finger and judge.
Even if, like me, you hesitate when you first pick up the book, you will have a hard time putting it down. With characters you can relate to, and a plot that keeps you turning pages, Return to Me is a unique version of an old story. – Bethany Wheeler, Christian Book Previews.com
[Note: This novel has no relationship to the motion picture “Return to Me,” starring Minnie Driver and Robert Loggia.]
When Roxy Burke left home for Nashville, she swore she wouldn’t come back until she was a star. But it’s desperation that drives this prodigal back to her family, and no one is prepared for what happens next. Roxy has crashed and burned. She’s squandered an inheritance, lived a wild life, and wasted her talent. Desperate and ashamed, she now must return to her father and sister, neither of whom she’s talked to in seven years.
Roxy’s father welcomes his daughter with love and tenderness. But his easy acceptance is hard on Roxy’s sister. After years of being the dutiful daughter, Elena feels resentment and anger toward her wayward sister. Even more problematic is the reaction of Roxy’s former boyfriend. Once a rebel, Wyatt has given his life to Christ and plans to enter the ministry. He and Elena are engaged, but Roxy’s return raises questions that could mean the end of Elena’s perfect future.
The Burke family faces the return of the prodigal and must reach out for healing. Will they each be able to accept God’s grace?