Book Review: Come Back to Me
“The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.
That’s exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father’s quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life…. He’s left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time.
…Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.
William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Christian Romance
Come Back to Me in a Nutshell
*Thank you Netgalley and Revell Fiction for the eARC. All opinions in this review are my own.
Come Back to Me is a time-traveling Christian romance that dips into several genres. On one hand, you’ll notice some thriller (almost Da Vinci Code-like) chases and historical explorations. On the other, we have time-traveling, the ultimate cure for illnesses, historical battles, Tree of Life lore, and…to top it all off…steamy romance.
This sounds like a lot (and it is), but Come Back to Me ties in all of these elements pretty well.
When you strip Come Back to Me of all these extra components, you’ll find that it’s a romance at heart, exploring the relationship between a modern woman and medieval man.
Now, full disclosure: This book is steamy. As in, you’ll-probably-need-a-fan-to-cool-yourself-off steamy. The main characters are very attracted to each other and are very single-minded at times. This is a Christian book that contains no explicit content, but the amount of “bedding” thoughts may be too much for conservative readers.
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What I Liked:
By far, William was my favorite character. He’s the tall, dark, and handsome classic-type hero, but he was by no means one-dimensional. Because of the wars and grief he endured, William has several layers that makes if much more endearing.
I also really appreciated how tender and loving he was to Marian. Especially given his time-period.
After I got past the first few pages, I enjoyed Come Back to Me and couldn’t have put it down. I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. reading it because I just had to find out if Marian would stay in the past or go back home. The author artfully built the suspense of the novel until it resolved in a most satisfying way.
This was a pleasant surprise since Come Back to Me is part of a series.
Tying Lore with History
Come Back to Me proposes that the miraculous healings from the middle-ages (and throughout history) could be attributed to seeds from the Garden of Eden’s Tree of Life. Ultimately, the novel ties in the Fountain of Youth with the Tree of Life with historical events from the middle ages.
Somehow it all works.
Things I didn’t like…
As you read these disadvantages, Come Back to Me is a romance with a splash of time travel and fantasy sci-fi. I am more of a sci-fi fantasy reader who likes a splash of romance. So, my brain automatically goes to the plot logic and action and in-depth relationships between the characters.
The first 20 pages of Come Back to Me were difficult. Right from the get-go, I wasn’t on board with Marian. Her reaction to her father falling into a coma didn’t seem realistic (even despite their estrangement). I was also distracted by the initial information dumps. While I do appreciate some backstory, the amount of information in the beginning really stopped the story from unraveling organically.
Don’t let this be a make or break for you though. Story beginnings can be difficult. I think if you get past this initial hump, you’ll enjoy the story.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t develop an attachment to any of the characters (except for William, of course.) I also struggled with the emotional connection between Marian and Will. The attraction was sizzling, but I never got the sense that they got to know each other.
While I felt like the author did a fantastic job getting into Marian’s head, I still didn’t feel a great connection with her. I think this may have been, in part, that she was a scientist but when transported to the middle ages, she seemed “feisty” but like every other woman. I have loved to see more of her scientific background contrast with an era where women were largely uneducated and trained to be submissive.
One thing that I just didn’t get on board with was the main “science” behind the novel. Water that heals everybody’s wounds but somehow transports them back in time? It just didn’t make sense. Even when the main characters explained it, it didn’t make sense. And, without revealing any spoilers, the rules behind time-traveling didn’t either.
Now, having said that, it was very easy to just shrug and move on.
Would I Recommend?
Even with all of those reservations, Come Back to Me is a fantastic novel. If you’re a fan of Christian romance authors like Francine Rivers or you’re looking for a clean version of Outlander, you’ll be very happy with Come Back to Me. I am primarily a speculative fiction reader and I was thoroughly entertained by this book!
I will definitely read the sequel!
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