Book Review: Where We Belong By Lynn Austin

where we belong book review lynn austin

The synopsis on the back of the book: 

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert--and into a sandstorm.

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies' maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction 
  • Published: 10/2017
  • Pages: 480
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.47 Stars
Maybe the reason God made you and me so different is because the needs of His kingdom are so different.
— Rebecca Hawes
where we belong lynn austin book review

Why I chose this book

I first heard about this book on Instagram. On Goodreads, it was almost rated a perfect 5-star rating (which you don't see too often!). When I read the synopsis I knew I instantly wanted to read it. It sounded like such an inspiring story of a big fun adventure! Plus, I have always wanted to go to Egypt. 

First initial thoughts

Can I first talk about this cover??! It's just absolutely gorgeous! I am always happy to see an author put a lot of effort into making a beautiful and inspiring cover. And did you know that this story is based on a true story? There were actually 2 sisters who discovered ancient texts in a monastery on Mt. Sinai. How amazing and inspiring is that?! 

I just loved Rebecca. She was spunky, stubborn, and intelligent. She was a woman far ahead of her time. She wasn't having the typical life of a debutante. She realized that there was more to life than just marrying and having babies. I really liked that! She always believed that God had a bigger plan for her and I admired that. Her sister Flora, she was so sweet and really had compassion towards others. At first, she wasn't sure what to do with her life and was almost going to settle for less. 

Their father inspired their children to be compassionate and well educated. He didn't have too much dialogue in the book but I always enjoyed their conversations. One thing that did bug me a little was that Rebecca and Flora were a little too spoiled. Their father didn't discipline them when they disobeyed him. I think if the sisters didn't appreciate their father, things could have turned out for the worst in that situation.

Their father meets Mrs. Worthington, a widow on a ship during their travel back home from Europe. Rebecca instantly hated Mrs. Worthington. I actually liked her. I think because without her, the story may have not developed the way it did. Also, she made their father happy after many years of being without a wife. 

Setting

Ok, who can help fund a trip to Egypt?! I mean it is one of the seven world wonders! ;) 

The setting was spectacular. The book not only takes place in Chicago, but other places as well including Egypt, France, Italy, the U.K., and the Middle East. All these places were described just beautifully. I could see the place in my mind and imagine what they were seeing as the author described the place. Lynn also went into great detail of the Chicago fire of 1871. I didn't know too much about that fire so it was an intriguing part of the book. 

God knows when the end of our days will be. We have nothing to fear.
— Rebecca Hawes

Final thoughts

Forgiveness, prayer, grace, and understanding your place was the biggest theme throughout this book. Also, during this time women were expected to be at home, not be overeducated, not travel alone, and not fend for themselves. Rebecca and Flora showed others that they can be overeducated, they can take care of themselves, and they can marry for love.  Their faith never faltered and always put their trust in God. 

Edmund whom Flora and Rebecca meet on their travels is a charming and adventurous man. He reminded me of Indiana Jones a little bit. The romance between Flora and Edmund is just so sweet. I loved their little love story. When Flora picked him over another man she did not love back in Chicago I was rooting for her. She learned that love conquers all. 

Rebecca really grew as a character and what I admired was that she kept pushing Flora to travel and see the world. I think if Rebecca didn't take Flora on all her travels, Flora would have settled for less and would have been unhappy with her life. 

Later on in the novel, we are introduced to Soren and Kate. Even though their story was brief it made an impact. I just adored Soren and his little brother. They were so adorable! I think with having this brief story later on in their life helped us see how the sisters got there and how much they have changed as a character. 

Would I recommend this book? 

Definitely! This book will inspire you to continue your faith in God. That he has a plan for you, even if you may not know what it is. It inspires you to do what YOU want to do, not what we "ought to do" and what others tell us to do. Knowing where we belong is something we strive for every day. 

I hope you enjoyed the review! Have you read Where We Belong? If so, what did you think of the book? 

it's almost Friday and I hope you are having a fantastic week! Until next time. :) 

the caffeinated bibliophile