I was given this book by Tyndale Publishing Network with the wonderful opportunity to review it however I wished. All opinions are my own.
Glorious Summary of “The Returning” by Rachelle Dekker – derived from the back of the book, for who can summarize it better than the book itself?
“They say the Awakening is coming.
That she’s the key.
But can she find her identity in the light
Before she perishes in the dark?
Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.
But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil. ”
This book is the third installment of the series.
Upon receiving this book, I wasn’t aware of the previous books at first until I started to read and do some research. I quickly made it my goal to dive in to the series and read all three books before reviewing “The Returning“.
I sped through the books, all whilst trying to do them justice. I found my self-ordained task to be effortless, as these books drew me in, much like her father’s books have always done since I was a little girl. In case you all didn’t realize, Rachelle Dekker is the daughter of the esteemed Ted Dekker, who is also a famous Christian fiction author.
“The Returning” came at a perfect time in my life, and I found it to become much more than just an ordinary book. It quickly began re-awakening a lot within my spirit! I even confess that my dreams have become impacted by the words of Truth and Life within these pages written by Rachelle Dekker.
The words spilled throughout “The Returning” coaxed, soothed, and called to my soul. Words from the book that cascade over every chapter, and consequently resonates and lingers within the deep cavernous recesses of my weary soul. Words such as,
“Remember what I call you, beautiful daughter.(pg. 226)”
“Remember who you are. Your identity lies in me alone, and I see you as blameless. Beautiful, perfect daughter. (pg. 226)”
“Remember who you are. You are the light of the world. (pg. 227)”
“Take heart, See beyond what is in front of you. Hear the call; remember who picked you, crafted you, held you through all things. (pg. 230)”
As a soul who has lived through much abandonment and rejection in earthly terms, and is on a long road of healing and erasing the lies with His truth about who I am, these words were more meaningful to me than I can adequately describe. It was as if Yeshua Himself was speaking directly to me throughout this whole series, and specifically this book, “The Returning“.
I am at a point in my life where I am dealing with a lot of pain and addressing the numerous lies I have believed that have written my personality and self-belief system and fueled my self-hatred and immense feelings of shame. I have lived as a creature of fear… but that is NOT who I am!
That is not my identity…
That is not my soul.
I must call forth the Truth of who I am and REMEMBER.
I was leery of this book at first as it seemed almost like a cheesy bible study with a fiction aspect to it, but the more I read and processed, the more I fell in love and realized that I was meant to read this book… and it is anything but cheesy! I resonate a lot with Elise and Carrington in this book, especially with their battles with fear and self-doubt. Elise, even on a deeper level, as she battles with rejection, abandonment and feeling worthless. My adoption and personal life are a testimony of those struggles, as well as His restoration.
Some of this book confused me at times. Questions such as, who is Aaron supposed to represent? (This is answered below in an interview with Rachelle Dekker by Tyndale Publishers). Where do these powers exactly come from and how do they manifest?
These were answered more as I read deeper into the book and had self-reflection.
I definitely encourage readers to not be afraid to challenge and ask questions when they read!
A true author will answer your secret questions as you go deeper, or at least guide you on the path to find the answers within yourself… I found this to be very much true in the affirmative with Rachelle Dekker. She is a truly gifted author, in my honest opinion.
It is intense how palpable the light and darkness (darkness specifically) is in this book, but it speaks to me because I love to see the world with an allegorical eye and it helps redshift my focus back to the reality of our world… peel back the mask of lies and numbness and face the spiritual battle and awakening right before me every moment of my life.
I just LOVE the quote at the beginning of the book about the mask, which I’m not sure if my reader’s remember, but I have been going through a lot of soul work in being genuine, vulnerable and removing “the mask” in which I find myself hiding behind way too often in a false hope of achieving the veneer of “perfection”, which just leads to living a lie.
This Quote by Kara Dekker goes as follows – pulled from the beginning pages of the book “The Returning“:
Do you know who I see behind this thick glass?
A distorted image I call me.
But do I really know the person behind the bask, the body, the facade?
For you see, all I’ve ever known is how to attempt to be perfect
And when I fail, my mirror gets darker until all I see is filth.
We all live in tainted glass that consumes us.
But do we have to?
What if I decided to wipe my mirror clean?
Pull a lamp string to bring in light.
Forgive myself for my mistakes…what happens then?
What if I chose to shatter my mirror altogether,
Believe in my beauty and worth and step beyond the
I’d have to live in a world with flawless glass,
Where I never hated myself, never hated others.
Wouldn’t that be a world?
Interview Questions for Rachelle Dekker by Tyndale Publishers:
- What themes are explored in this book? Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel, I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are.
- You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith, and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives? Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments based on the past and what we think the future will bring; then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.
- Aaron is a somewhat mysterious character throughout the series. What is he supposed to represent and what kind of spiritual leader is he? I like to leave this one open, which I know isn’t really the answer you want. I want the reader to decide who he is to them. For me he’s a guiding light, an angel maybe, a representation of the spirit who communicates with us and leads us. He can be many things—mostly, though, he’s a great way to hear truth.
- How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers? I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same.
If you are looking for a Christian fiction book that will take you on an adventure of the imagination as well as a self-reflection and growth journey of the soul… then I highly recommend this book! It is just marvelous! I can’t wait to read more from Rachelle Dekker. I am so glad she answered her calling to be a writer, as I am sure she has already touched many lives. I know for sure, her writing has indeed touched my life.
At the very least, I encourage you all to check out her book at this link for more information! You won’t regret it!
Amazon Link (hardcopy and kindle formats available): “The Returning” by Author: Rachelle Dekker.
As always, my kindred spirits,
May you be awakened and renewed by His love for you every morning,