Book Review: Leaving by Karen Kingsbury

“Life changes. People come and go, and seasons never last.” Pastor Mark Atteberry’s voice rang with passionate emotion. “Nothing stays the same. We can count on that. Good times come and go…finances are ever changing…our health will eventually fail us. And though death or decision, everyone we know will someday leave us.” He paused, his eyes searching the congregation. “All except for Jesus Christ. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. And because of that we have the strength to love with all our hearts…even unaware of what tomorrow brings.” He smiled. “That’s what I want you to take away from today’s service. Jesus stays.” – Pg. 25

Zondervan sent out requests for a blog tour for Karen Kingsbury’s “Leaving.” I immediately responded, but the answering email said my blog was not accepted. The package came in the mail anyway and I nearly jumped for joy. I circled it in my day planner and eagerly opened the book. I had not been following a lot of Kingsbury’s books, but was familiar with the Baxter Family Series. The book is part of the “Forever in Fiction” series.

“For a number of years now, I’ve had the privilege of offering Forever in Fiction as an auction item at fund-raisers across the country. So many of my more recent books have had Forever in Fiction characters that I hear from your reader friends how you look forward to this part of my novels, reading this section to see which characters in the coming pages are actually inspired by real-life people, and learning a little about their real stories. Then you enjoy looking for them in the coming pages, knowing with a smile how it must feel to their families, seeing their names Forever in Fiction.” – Pg. 19

There are two stories told in this book: Bailey Flanigan and Cody Coleman. They grew up together and fell in love, but Cody walked away without any explanation angering Bailey and her family. Cody’s mom resides in prison. He suffers from PTSD from the Iraq war and a lack of self-worth. Bailey’s family thought of him like family and his disappearance caused a lot of hurt. Life goes on though and we follow their stories until their lives collide in the end.

The writing is phenomenal and joyous. Warmth and love flow in the words and around the Baxter family tree. Their faith and struggles draw you into the story. I enjoyed reading the story, but the ending didn’t leave me satisfied. I felt this same way after watching the second installment of the original Star Wars. Kingsbury’s book series continues in June 2011 with the second phase of Bailey Flanigan’s life called Learning. Just like Star Wars, episode II, I have to read the second phase to find out how Bailey’s love life will evolve.

Zondervan gave me the book to review. All reviews are objective.

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