Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Love Story - Karen Kingsbury

If you've read any of the Redemption series, Sunrise series, Firstborn series, Bailey Flanigan series, or the Above the Line series, you're familiar with the Baxter family and the other characters that fill out their lives.  This book is described as being the Love Story of John and Elizabeth Baxter, the heads of the Baxter clan, as told through John's memories as a class project for his grandson Cole.  However, their story is only a piece of this novel, and readers will catch up with several characters from throughout the Baxter Family Series, including Cody and Andi, Bailey and Brandon, and Ashley and Landon.  As Ashley listens to her parents' story, that was far from perfect, she is forced to revisit the past that led to Cole, and how her story led her back to Landon.  Bailey and Brandon are about to have a baby, and Bailey is keeping in touch with Andi as Cody and Andi try to figure out how to move forward with their lives.  This novel will dip you back into the Baxter family as if you'd never left them.

As part of Cole's project, he hears the tale of the man who prayed for John and Elizabeth that one day "God [would] give [them] a marriage and family so beautiful all the world [would] want to know [their] secret."  The early Baxter books conveyed that family so well that I think most readers probably wanted to be a Baxter; I know I wanted to come home to that cozy house and enjoy the family picnics and camaraderie.  The Baxter past hasn't been an easy one, and while I do feel that some of the trials get glossed over in these books, if you look, the story of grace and redemption is still there.  Several of the main characters in this installment are forced to confront their previous mistakes, and learn from them to live more godly lives, and to begin a legacy that will live on in the faith of future generations.

While this book lacked some of the depth and faith searching of the early series, it was a good step forward for the Baxter family, with a good review of their past.  It did a good job reminding readers of the characters' connections, without rehashing too much of the previous series.  A reader new to the family might be drawn in enough to go back and live with them throughout the earlier series.

I give this book 3 stars; I enjoyed checking in with a favorite fictional family, but I felt that it both tried to cover too many stories at once, and yet didn't catch up with enough of the family to feel like coming home.  I also felt that it was a little light on how the consequences of past choices affected the characters' lives; everything always seems to work out perfectly for the Baxter families, and while I know it's fiction, it would be nice to see that there are always ramifications to mistakes, even where there is grace and forgiveness.

You can find Love Story HERE.
You can find the author, Karen Kingsbury, HERE.
There have been articles for awhile now that they're making the Baxter Family into a TV Series.

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

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