Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Chance - by Karen Kingsbury

Ellie Tucker and Nolan Cook are best friends, and when Ellie's Dad forces her to move across the country when she's 15, they promise to stay in touch.  Just in case something happens, however, they write each other a letter and bury it in their favorite park with a promise to come back eleven years later to read them.  Those eleven years pass without any words between them and with enormous changes in their lives.  Will they find each other again?  Will they even try?

I have to admit that I enjoyed this book more than I expected.  I thought that the premise was interesting, and I was invested in wanting to see Nolan and Ellie find each other again.  Yet, there was something that kept me from loving the book.  Partly, I think that there were too many twists and turns and random chances that kept the story moving towards its inevitable conclusion.  I do believe that God could orchestrate such minute details towards an end goal, but there were so many extra characters thrown in to bring it about that it felt a bit forced, without enough details about those characters to bring depth to the story.  It was like there were a half dozen semi-stories thrown into the mix that muddied the waters.  (As an aside, it looks like some of the characters do have their own story in The Bridge, but without reading that first, they felt unfinished in this book)  Additionally, Ellie's father goes through a profound transformation that has the greatest bearing on the story, and yet we see very little of the actual process of his change.  The transition from being a Christian who thinks that rule-following and power-enforcing is the way to live, to a genuine believer who shows humility and love for his family would have been an engaging story to follow.

Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars, but round it down to 3.  I do think that it shows some of what I enjoyed about Karen Kingsbury's early books, more complex characters and deeper journeys of faith, but it could have been so much more.

You can find The Chance HERE.
Karen's website, along with information on all of her books and stories about lives changed from them can be found HERE.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

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