7 November 2012

ACRBA Review: Return to Baragula by Mary Hawkins

This is the first review for the new Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance blog tour. A blog tour is a group of blogs all reviewing and promoting the same book in the same week. ACRBA will be touring two books each month: one novel, and one non-fiction or children's title.

5 - 9 November

is introducing 

(Ark house March 2008)

by Mary Hawkins

About the Author:

Mary Hawkins is a best-selling inspirational romance author with other 825,000 romance books in print. During the first few years of being published she also had five medical romance novels released by Harlequin Mills & Boon before concentrating on inspirationals for Barbour Publishing (Ohio). Return to Baragula is her first single title and the first released by an Australia publisher.

Mary was a Queensland farmer's daughter, became a registered nurse and has a graduate diploma from a Sydney Bible College where she met her husband. Ray is a retired minister who is also a published author. They enjoyed ministries in Australia, three short term mission trips to Africa and two years at a church in England before settling in beautiful Tasmania. They have three adult children and are now proud grandparents. Mary is a member of several writing organisations including American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers America, their Faith Hope Love chapter and Australian Omega Writers. She enjoys speaking appointments and writing workshops where she can share the journey she has been walking for many years with her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. You can find out more about Mary at her website,

Book Description:Return To Baragula

Over the years Emily Parker's actions as a teenager have impacted not only her own life, but the lives of many different people.

Now, six years later, she returns reluctantly to her home town of Baragula only to discover the man at the heart of those actions, Matthew Davidson, is the community's respected doctor.

While Emily's faith is now severely weakened by all that has happened, Matthew's life has completely turned around since he committed his life to Christ. His personal relationship with God is tested when he discovers how his behaviour when a non-believer hurt so many, especially Emily, and feels responsible for her hardness of heart towards the Lord.

Disease attacks the community while danger from another source threatens Emily and her family. Through it all, will Matthew and Emily's faith be strong enough to forgive each other and put the past behind them?

My Review

Emily has returned Baragula, the small Australian town where she grew up. The first person she trips over (almost literally) is Matthew Davidson, her best friend's brother. And, although he doesn't know it, the father of her twins. Matthew and Emily met at Schoolies week (like Spring Break) and were instantly attracted, although Emily knew that as a Christian, she shouldn't form a relationship with Matthew, who had no faith.

Yet now, six years later, Emily has lost her faith and Matthew is a stalwart member of the local church as well as being the town's doctor. Emily has to deal with her reaction to Matthew's new faith, and as a Nurse, is forced to work beside him as the town faces an epidemic. Meanwhile, Matthew is struggling to work out why such a strong Christian as Emily has lost her faith, and where her children fit in. Mixed in with this are some strange happenings, like a brick through the window of Emily's house.

Return to Baragula is the first book of a trilogy, and I own all three. The second book, Outback from Baragula, is even better than this, although I didn't enjoy the final book, Justice at Baragula, as much. I really like Mary Hawkins characters and plots (although her writing can be a bit strained at times), and I particularly like the fact that the book is not based in the US, as so much Christian fiction is. I have read and re-read this book and the sequel, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic suspense novel that is just a bit different.

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