Thursday, April 26, 2012

Loving by Karen Kingsbury

Loving
by Karen Kingsbury
Bailey Flanigan series, Book 4
Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Available March 2012
Zondervan
352 pages



About the Book
The answers Bailey Flanigan once longed and prayed for are finally becoming clear. In Loving, the fourth and final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Bailey is planning a wedding and making decisions that will shape her future. Bailey enjoys the beginning of her new career and time spent with Brandon while Cody faithfully coaches his team on and off the field. But has she agreed to marry the right guy? Will she spend her life with Brandon Paul in Los Angeles, or will her heart draw her back to Bloomington, Indiana and Cody Coleman, her first love? Bailey has learned much and grown over the years, but the greatest challenges, the richest joys, and the deepest heartaches are still to come. Featuring members from Karen Kingsbury's popular Baxter family, Loving completes Bailey and Cody's story—the finale thousands of fans have been waiting for.

My Thoughts
Loving by Karen Kingsbury is the long-awaited conclusion to the Bailey Flanigan series. Really, it answers the question of who Bailey chooses to spend the rest of her life with, which is a question that has been building for the last 10 or so books in the Baxter series. I love Karen Kingsbury and appreciate that she writes honest stories that give characters real problems with difficult solutions. I love the way that God is a main "character" in each book, with the other characters constantly being comforted or confronted by God "speaking" to them through Scripture, assurances, and conversations with other characters.

That said, I didn't think that Loving was Karen's best book to date (although it wasn't bad). I felt that the main question (who Bailey would choose—Cody or Brandon) had been set up a LONG time ago and nearly answered in previous books in this series. I was hoping for a proposal and a wedding and of course a few other interesting twists. Instead, I felt like we went back and re-visited some of the issues that had been addressed and dealt with between the three main characters in previous books in this same series. (Especially the back and forth, wringing of hands, who should Bailey choose?!) At times, I also felt like this story line was a repeat of Katy and Dayne's relationship and struggles—which was addressed in a whole other series of books.

My biggest complaint, though, is that Bailey seemed too perfect. All the other characters in these five series have major flaws / sin issues / personal problems. But Bailey—and the rest of the Flanigan family too—just seems so . . . perfect. I would have liked to see her "talk back" to her parents or fight with her siblings or really struggle with something. Even overall "good" kids struggle, and certainly we all sin. Bailey's only real struggle is choosing between Cody and Brandon—and the decision seems to drag on far too long. Maybe it would have been better to shorten this series to two or three books.

Despite these "complaints," I still enjoyed the book and read it in less than 24 hours. I personally was satisfied with Bailey's choice (it's all about me, right?!) and I was glad to see Karen give the other guy a happy ending too. After the release of the final (23rd) Baxter book this summer, I think I'm finally ready to say farewell to these characters. I highly recommend the Redemption, Firstborn, Sunrise, Above the Line, and Bailey Flanigan series. Start from the beginning and be prepared for an emotional journey with characters who will capture your heart! [3 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist, with over 15 million books in print. Her Life-Changing Fiction™ has produced multiple bestsellers, including Take One, Between Sundays, Even Now, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, and Ever After, which was named the 2007 Christian Book of the Year. An award-winning author and newly published songwriter, Karen has several movies optioned for production, and her novel Like Dandelion Dust was made into a major motion picture and is now available on DVD. Karen is also a nationally known speaker with several women’s groups. She lives in Washington with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom were adopted from Haiti.

Karen Kingsbury Online
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1 comment:

  1. I thought I must surely be the only Karen Kingsbury fan in creation who didn't love Loving. My thoughts echo yours: Bailey was too perfect; the story line in Loving seemed to be drawn out to novel length; overall, this final book lacked the "substance" of the others. I found myself flipping through the last chapters and feeling dissatisfied at the end. Still, Karen Kingsbury remains my favorite Christian author and I will continue to purchase her books knowing they deliver charaters of faith, integrity, and sound biblical teaching so lacking in today's society.

    ReplyDelete

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