>Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin
Bethany House Publishers; paperback; 428 pages © 2008
In Until We Reach Home, Christy Award winning author Lynn Austin has created another page turner peopled with believable characters experiencing authentic conflict in realistic settings.
The reader comes to know and care deeply about Swedish sisters Erin, Kirsten, and Sofia as they interact among themselves and with others along their corporate journey to America and their individual journeys to maturity.
One of the most enjoyable scenes is the way a young German man in detention on Ellis Island transcends speech barriers with Sofia through the universal language of scripture. Using his German Bible, he finds verses that describe what he wishes to convey and points her to the corresponding texts in her Swedish Bible. Austin’s use of scripture here evidences the natural familiarity of someone who regularly spends time in God’s Word, unlike some authors who might have implemented a concordance and forced obscure passages to fit the story.
This immigrant story touches a common chord with humanity and rings true for the many Americans who have their heard their own family stories of troubled travel and adjustment to the “New Country.”
Austin goes beyond the typical immigrant tale to open readers’ eyes and hearts to the unique trials experienced by single young women. She credibly portrays the young women’s differing personalities and their inner struggles with anxiety, fear, and—finally—faith.
Faith is the foundation that turns a house into a home. The yearning, guilt-plagued, lonely heart finds rest, forgiveness, and fulfillment in Christ. God is sovereign over all events and works through them for the good of those who love him. These are the underlying themes that echo through the pages of Until We Reach Home.
This novel is highly recommended for personal reading and for placement in church libraries.