Today I’m excited to share my thoughts on the second book in the “Carthage Chronicles” series, Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry. Also, I’m doing a giveaway! You can enter to win 1 paperback copy of Return to Exile at the end of this post. (Thanks to the publisher and Lynne for the unexpected extra copy!)
You may remember my review of the first book in this series, Healer of Carthage. This second in the series picks up a few years later, following Dr. Lisbeth Hastings as she’s raising her daughter in modern day Dallas and following Cyprian Thascius as he contends with exile to a secluded island.
For numerous reasons, including an ancient-turned-modern plague at her heels, Lisbeth decides to take a major risk and try to get back to Cyprian’s world in 3rd century Carthage. What she encounters there is nothing like the chaos she left 6 years ago. With a plague still raging in the city, familiar political nemesis Aspasius is still trying to exterminate the early church and overthrow Cyprian’s property.
Lisbeth faces some unexpected surprises and twists when she returns to Carthage. The story is so fast-paced, you have moments to get used to her new reality before the adventure changes and she’s pulled deeper into commitments in the past.
Lynne’s writing style is so easy to read, almost a conversational tone. Although a good portion of the story takes place in ancient Carthage, I never felt distracted by that fact or by the unique blend of modern characters in that ancient time. I was anxious to see how Lisbeth and Cyprian’s stories would continue. Lynne doesn’t disappoint! We get to see their worlds collide again, with a new child in the middle.
One thing I loved about the first book was Lynne’s way of reminding the reader that Lisbeth is from modern day but stuck in the 3rd century. She continues this with subtle humor and mentions of culture (Disney princesses!) and technology, while staying relevant to the story.
This story is one that will keep you on your toes, with drama that reads at times like a medical thriller. The themes of the story, though, are most important: letting go of fears, loving your enemies, and holding on to faith when it’s hard. This is shown through the drama of the early church’s challenges in culture and politics. Also, through a picture of the importance of family, no matter what boundaries and obstacles may separate them for a time.
Or, see my fun interview with Lynne from last year!
Thanks a ton to Lynne Gentry and to Howard Books for the free review copy in exchange for my honest review. I’m so glad I was able to be on your team!