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"You don't have any say in this, Dad. I don't need your permission. I'm twenty-five, for crying out loud."
"I know how old you are, Roxy. But you're still not being sensible. You've never been to Nashville. You don't know anyone there. All I want you to do is have a plan first. You don't need to be in such a hurry."
"A hurry?" Roxanne Burke stared at her father, her insides churning. How could he not know how much this meant to her? That this was all she'd dreamed about since she was a little girl? "Dad, I've been waiting for this day all my life. Now I've got the money Grandma left me, and I'm going whether you like it or not."
Her sister, Elena, stood near the living room entrance, arms crossed over her chest. "Listen to Dad, Roxy. You're always running off half-cocked, letting your emotions make your decisions for you. You've barely managed living on your own. You haven't kept a job longer than a year since you quit working at Burke's. How do you think you'll manage alone in a strange town?" She shook her head. "Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville. Most of them are chasing a pipe dream."
"You mean, like me?" Anger flared. "What do you know about it? You've never wanted to do anything or have anything thatDad didn't approve of. You don't know what it's like to want something different, something more, something big. I may let my emotions show, but at least I have emotions. I'm not going to settle for less than I want. I'm going to Nashville and I'm going to become a star."
Elena laughed, the sound sharp and humorless. "You have no common sense."
"And you don't know what it's like to live. Oh, aren't you just so self-righteous and sweet and perfect? The good Christian girl, always Daddy's little helper." She spat out a curse.
"Roxy!" Her father took a quick step forward. "That's enough. You won't speak like that in this house."
"You're right. I won't. Because I don't intend to be in this house again. Not for a long, long time." Her voice rose. "Not until I'm famous, and you both have to admit you were wrong. The next time you hear from me, my name will be on a CD. You'll see." She glared at her father, daring him to contradict her. When he didn't say anything, she turned toward her sister.
Elena's gaze was cool, her voice controlled. "You're a spoiled, selfish brat, Roxy Burke, and I predict you're going to get exactly what you deserve. You reap what you sow."
I hate you! The words were there, ready to fly. Burning her mouth even as rage burned her chest. But words weren't enough to express the depth of her hatred, to let her oh-so-perfect sister know how she felt about her. Besides, Elena never disappointed their father. Elena never did anything wrong. Elena was the perfect one, and Roxy was the foul-up. Well, this time was different.
Muttering one more curse, she marched out of the living room, brushing her sister's shoulder intentionally as she passed. Seconds later, she slammed out the front door.
"I'll show them."
* * *
The Boise airport buzzed with early morning activity. Business men and women in their suits and shiny shoes, carrying briefcases full of important papers. Families with small children and too much luggage, headed off on vacation. All of them would return to Boise in a day or a week.
But not Roxy. She wasn't coming back. Not until she was famous.
"I appreciate you bringing me to the airport, Myra," she said when they arrived at the first-class check-in line.
Myra Adams, her best friend since high school, set Roxy's guitar case on the floor, then brushed her wiry brown hair back from her forehead as she straightened. "Hey, I'm glad for the chance for us to talk. I haven't seen much of you since I got back from California, and who knows when we'll see each other again? I'm off to Brazil in two more weeks, and you're going to be a Nashville singing sensation."
"Elena and Dad don't think that'll happen."
"I'll bet they do. They just don't want you to leave. They'll miss you."
"You're confusing my family with your family."
Myra's eyes narrowed. "Aren't you being a little hard on them?"
Roxy didn't reply.
"Okay." Her friend chuckled softly. "Change of subject. Tell me what your plans are once you get to Nashville."
Before Roxy could answer, the agent behind the counter motioned her forward. She handed him her ticketing information and ID while Myra set the two large suitcases onto the scale.
"One-way to Nashville, Miss Burke?"
"Yes." Her stomach fluttered. It was happening. She was on her way. At last.
The agent looked at her driver's license, her face, then the luggage. "Two bags to check?"
About six and a half hours from now, she would step off the airplane and into the heartbeat of country music. Nashville, the city that had launched countless careers. As it would launch hers. She knew it. She could taste it.
"Here you go." The agent held out her boarding passes and ID. "Your bags are checked through to Nashville, Miss Burke. Have a good trip."
"Thanks. I will." She turned toward Myra with a grin. "I'm going to have a great trip."
Myra picked up the guitar case while Roxy grabbed the handle of her roll-aboard, then they headed toward the escalator.
Roxy checked her watch as they rode to the upper level. "I've got about forty minutes before I have to be at the gate." She pointed to a row of hard plastic seats. "Let's wait over there until I need to go through security."
As soon as they sat, Myra picked up the conversation where they left off. "What will you do first when you get there?"
"Buy a car. A red convertible, I think." Red was flashy. Her sister hated anything flashy. Roxy grinned. Maybe she would send Elena a picture of that flashy new car when she got it. "Then I'll find an apartment. A place where I can entertain other people in the business, the kind of people who can help me get where I want to go. Like potential talent agents. That's the other thing I've got to do right away. Find representation."
"Isn't that hard to do?"
"I don't know. Guess I'll find out." She tilted her head to one side. "Did I ever tell you my mom had some hotshot agent offer to represent her?"
"No. When was that?"
"The first year she and Dad were married. Travis Thompson's agent heard her sing at some sort of benefit in Boise, and he told her if she wanted to go to Nashville, he'd make her a star."
"Who's Travis Thompson?"
"You haven't heard of Travis Thompson?"
"No. Who is he?"
Nobody in Nashville would have to ask Roxy that sort of question. One more reason she needed to get away from here. Nobody in Boise understood her or the music she loved so much. Her dad didn't. Elena didn't. Her best friend didn't. Her boyfriend didn't.
"He's a singer with more gold and platinum albums than you can count. Entertainer of the Year several years running. He's a country-music legend. He must be in his sixties by now and doesn't perform as much as he used to, but he was huge in his day. Everybody in Nashville thinks the world of him."
"Sorry." Her friend gave her shoulders a small shrug.
Roxy opened her mouth to say more, then stopped. It was a waste of time. She'd never turn Myra into a country-music fan, any more than her friend could turn Roxy into a nature gal willing to traipse around the jungles of South America, studying bugs or whatever it was Myra planned to do there.
"Will you make sure to send me your address as soon as you've got your apartment in Nashville? I'll write to you."
"Sure. But where will you be?"
"You can call my parents. They'll know how to get in touch with me."
Roxy's throat tightened. "I'm going to miss you, Myra." She thought of her dad. She would miss him too. She might even miss Elena, although wild horses couldn't drag that admission out of her. Not after yesterday. "Promise you'll take care of yourself down in the jungle."
"I will. And you promise the same. My jungle may be safer than yours."
Roxy laughed. "I doubt that."
Excerpted from Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher Copyright © 2007 by RobinSong, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted May 22, 2012
This was my 1st Robbin Lee Hatcher book. Referred by Terri Blackstock on facebook. Loved this story. The only negative thing is my kids got hungry because i could not put the book down long enough to fix dinner! Thank you Terri Blackstock for the referral and thank you B&N for the 99¿ deal!
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Posted April 27, 2012
Posted January 29, 2009
'My review as seen in ACFW's E-zine, the August edition.' Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher is a powerful example of the ideal Christian fiction novel. It parallels the story of the prodigal son and was so engaging that I finished the story in one day. I just couldn¿t put it down. I identified with Roxy despite her many flaws. Roxy¿s change of heart when she discovered Christ in an unlikely setting reminded me of my own personal experience. I remember the same still, small voice calling out to me until I finally gave my heart to the Lord. Of course, Roxy¿s older sister Elena decided Roxy needed to experience additional consequences for her sin. Like what Roxy had naturally suffered as a result of squandering her inheritance hadn¿t been painful enough, and not realizing, of course, all that her sister had already lost because of her poor choices. I¿ve never seen a better example of how self-righteousness wounds new believers and destroys relationships and trust. Return to Me is also a wonderful illustration of the emotional and spiritual fallout resulting from manipulative rejection, and the believer¿s need for a close walk with the Lord in order to resist pride and jealousy when new Christians succeed where they may have struggled. Thus the spiritual arc of the characters comes across as very genuine, especially when it comes to the older sister¿s attitude. There are some gritty situations in this story, but nothing I wouldn¿t let my teenager read. Overall, it¿s a fabulous example of the regrets people experience as the result of poor choices, and the subsequent struggle to forgive one¿s self. The author concludes by portraying the Scripture that refers to all things being possible through Christ Jesus. I highly recommend this story because of the life-changing lessons within.
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Posted June 8, 2007
How does it feel when you've hit rock bottom, squandered your money, lost your dreams, and have no choice but to limp home defeated? How does it feel to be a good girl, the one who's done everything right, only to watch your loser party-girl sister steal your spotlight and seemingly never have to 'pay' for her sins? How does it feel for a parent when a grown child leaves home in anger and disappears without a trace for years on end? With keen insight and a light, contemporary touch, Robin Lee Hatcher explores these questions in her new book, Return to Me. If you've ever had the slightest bit of empathy for any of the three main characters in the biblical prodigal story¿or if you've never even heard of the prodigal story¿this book will touch your heart. Deep and universal themes resonate throughout this tale of a Nashville-bound singer with dreams of stardom and the talent to match, who loses everything through her own rebelliousness and immaturity. Forgiveness can be so difficult to accept. Grace can be so hard to offer. And when things in your life don't seem to be working out just the way you've planned, it can feel impossible to figure out what to do, or where to go next. Return to Me is a beautiful illustration of the truth that no matter what the problem, LOVE¿of God, for God, and for each other¿is nearly always the answer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 5, 2007
¿Return to Me¿ is a uniquely woven tale of two sisters united by birth, bound by love, and distanced by loving the same man. Journey through a tumultuous tale portrayed through both sisters¿ eyes as they first handedly recount their emotional paths causing the title to explode with symbolism. Elena is a typical first born child the one others deem perfect the dependable one. She does what is right just because it is right. Meet Roxy demanding, spoiled, selfish, easy on the eyes, and gifted with an amazing talent for singing. Wyatt at different times is in love with both sisters, proposes to both, and in the end must choose the one most suited to accompany him to seminary. Readers will journey with Roxy into a tailspinning, heart wrenching lifestyle into the music industry, and watch her make bad choice after bad choice. Her desire to go home, and the acceptance she finds is akin to the biblical prodigal story. Roxy must embrace forgiveness from others and extend it to herself. Return to me is about Roxy answering her father¿s prayers from long ago that Roxy would indeed return to him, it is an answer as Roxy accepts the Lord as Savior as he called her before she was born, it is a return to the sister who mothered her after their own mother died in childbirth, and a return to using the gift God placed within her to sing and glorify him. Readers are easily pulled into rooting for Roxy, and are moved to tears as she struggles to climb out of a pit of her own making. Elena, the dependable one, has always secretly envied Roxy. Roxy seemed to have it all. She was the one admired, and always in the center of attention. Readers experience Elena¿s own journey of returning to God past her own pridefulness and unforgiveness, as well as a return to Wyatt the man who used to be in love with her sister. Wyatt must also return to a love for God, and respond to the calling on his life to enter seminary leaving his law practice. Hatcher lures readers into empathizing with each sister, and longing for them each to heal from their hurts. Tugging at the heartstrings, readers relate to both Elena and Roxy finding themselves cheering for the two of them rejoicing when finally they shed past failures, recriminations, visads, and experience genuine acceptance and the bond of sisterhood transcending any and all former or future strongholds all the while reminding us God accepts us just as we are all he asks is that we come.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2007
If I knew Robin Lee Hatcher personally, I¿d think she wrote this book about me. But, I think that is what is appealing about Robin¿s writing. She crafts stories that we can all identify with in one way or another. You may be the parent who feels the pain of a child leaving, worrying about them, praying they¿ll return. You may be the sibling who misses their brother or sister, yet feels like the one who left and eventually returns reaps rewards that are undeserved. You could be the lover or friend who loses that someone special and must move on. Whichever you are, this book has something for you. This is the first book I¿ve read by award winning author, Robin Lee Hatcher. Several of her books will be on my Summer Reading List, the hard part will be deciding which of the over 50 it will be. The skillful way in which Robin weaves her tale made me feel as though I was an eye-witness to each scene. When Roxy returns home the author writes ¿It was the reception she¿d longed for but hadn¿t dared hope to receive. Roxy didn¿t deserve his love. She wasn¿t the woman he¿d raised her to be.¿, I was in tears. ¿God takes my mistakes, my stupid choices, my failures, and even my successes and the pride that can go with them, and when I trust Him with it all, He turns it into good results in my life.¿ The key word for me here is trust. ¿It¿s not easy, this walk of faith. But the walk is good and so is God.¿ Amen. Pick up a copy, find yourself in the story, and see God¿s love for you, no matter who you are or where you¿ve been. Luke 15:32 says ¿But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.¿ That¿s what life¿s all about folks, being found, returning to Him!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
The story of the prodigal son is a familiar story to almost everyone, even if you didn't learn about it in Sunday School. I always sided with the older brother because I thought it was really unfair of the dad to give all the attention to the younger brother. Yes, I know that the older son will get everything in the end, but the father never acknowledges that he appreciates what the older son does. So it always seemed to me that as Christians we seem to be taken for granted by God. In this book however, I found myself siding with Roxy. Her story made me rethink about the way I felt about the prodigal son because I felt for her and wanted her to be able to start over again. Elena came across to me as being overly paranoid and would jump to conclusions without talking to others first. The scene that really got me was when she tried to dissuade Roxy from singing in church and how she wasn't believing Roxy could become a Christian. It was really sad at how bitter Elena had become especially after reading about the sisters' past. Reading the flashback stories really helped to shape the characters and allowed me to understand why they acted a certain way.I really liked Wyatt and enjoyed reading how his life changed from before to he was saved to after and how it affected both sisters. The story feels fresh and even though I know how the ending is going to be, I still wanted to read to see how it all played out. This was my first Robin Lee Hatcher novel and I was very pleased with it. This book is highly recommended for those who know the prodigal story, those who don't and especially for anyone that has a sister.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2007
I lovvvvvved this book. It is my current favorite book by Robin Lee Hatcher. I did not know at first if I would like a book in this setting because everyone knows the story of the prodigal son. This book is amazing! Robin puts a new twist by making it the return of the prodigal daughter. I related most to the older sister but all of the characters stood out on their own. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I highly recommend it. It has a permenant place on my bookshelf. P.S. Dont forget the prequel novel 'A Carol for Christmas'.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2007
WOW!! This book is deserving of all the superlatives I've seen in other reviews, and then some! I've read many retellings of the Prodigal Son, but never one that captured my heart as this one did. Not only did it touch my heart, it made me think. Like others have said, we all tend to identify most closely with one particular character in the story, but Robin has a knack for helping readers relate to all the characters. Please don't miss this one- it is a must!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2007
Kept me guessing how it would turn out till the very end. A wonderful story, wonderful reflection of the story of the prodigal son, with a message that will touch people from all walks of life! I'd waited a long time for this book to finally come out, and it was definitely worth the wait! Robin Lee Hatcher remains one of my favorite authors.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2012
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Posted April 21, 2012
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Posted January 27, 2010
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Posted June 26, 2012
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