I shared a week or so ago that I figured since I’m a bookworm AND a blogger (but even more of a blogger than a bookworm) I might as well read free books and write about them.
Or something like that.
I’m eventually going to add a separate Book Reviews page to this blog so the posts won’t just show up on my front page. But since I haven’t gotten to that yet, you can all just read my first one.
Hope you all had a wonderful long weekend and Labor Day.
I’m a long-time Karen Kingsbury fan and was excited to get my hands on her latest novel.
Coming Home was pitched by the author as a book that could either stand alone or serve as an introduction/finale to the twenty-two books that have made up the Baxter family series. The first part of the book was spent reviewing major events in the lives of John and Elizabeth Baxter, though Elizabeth passed away earlier on in the series, and their six children and their families. The underlying theme is that, no matter the trial, God has always proven Himself faithful to them through some, sometimes, extremely difficult circumstances.
Coming Home was no exception for this family…there was the usual trial, this time magnified to a much greater degree than any of Kingsbury’s readers could have even imagined. The entire family has planned to reunite for a surprise party for John’s 70th birthday, and while traveling “home” to Indiana from Texas, Erin (the youngest daughter), her husband Sam, and three of their four girls are killed in a horrific car accident.
To say this was a smack in the face to all of us who have literally fallen in love with the Baxter family is an understatement. We have laughed with them, cried with them…and in this book, sobbed buckets with them. I understand the thread of God’s faithfulness, and it’s true. He is faithful in all things, which we do see in this story. But for a finale to a series that, literally, millions of people love…she could have been a lot kinder to her readers.
I did appreciate the fact that the topic of organ donation was emphasized. It provided some type of saving value to a story that just seemed too awful to even imagine. That part made the events of the story a little easier to swallow for those who don’t view the Baxters as “just” characters in a book. But still…I didn’t love the book. And I’m still reeling over the fictional fact that she basically killed off an entire family we’d come to love.
That said, many people have expressed that they are done reading books by Karen Kingsbury after this one. I’m not there. She’s a gifted writer, and she tells stories that really connect with people and where there hearts are. But if you haven’t read the Baxter series, this is in no way an introduction; and if you want to enjoy the books, don’t start with this one. (And really…don’t end with it, either.)
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.