I feel as if I haven't written a book review in such a long time. It isn't as if I haven't been reading. Really. It is because I've been reading this hefty tome:
I discovered Karen Kingsbury about the time her very popular Baxter series was published. I fell in love with the Baxters and followed them through multiple book series. I also dearly loved reading Karen's intros in each book sharing the growth of her children- three biological children and three boys adopted from Haiti.
Somehow I had missed entirely some of Kingsbury's early works. Thus the reading of A Kingsbury Collection. This collection includes three novels, and even if I hadn't read the publication dates, I could tell they were older novels because of Karen's description of her children. If fact, she only has her three biological children in these novels. The Haiti adoption is briefly mentioned in the third book.
Where Yesterday Lives is the story of Ellen Barrett's return to her family home on the death of her father. Ellen needs to come to terms with things of her past in order to heal the relationships with her siblings and with her husband.
When Joy Came To Stay is the story of Maggie, seemingly a well put together Christian woman, with a terrible secret. Only when she acknowledges this secret and seeks help for her severe clinical depression can healing begin in her life and in her marriage. It's a novel of forgiveness and hope and deals with the oft taboo topic of depression among Christians.
On Every Side may have been my very favorite of these novels. Based on a real life case of public action taken against a city for a statue of Jesus in a park, this novel is an allegory of the story of Joshua. It's a story of hope and courage in the face of evil as well as a story of God's grace and forgiveness.
I've long been a Kingsbury fan. Her novels combine moving stories with sweet romance and often speak to me spiritually. My one complaint with her novels is that occasionally her characters seem too good, a little contrived. I don't notice this in some of her stand alone novels, but it's been my complaint- especially through the Baxter series.
These older novels don't have that problem for me. Kingsbury created compelling, realistic characters that faced real, difficult situations and came away drawing closer to God. Kingsbury's passion for adoption comes through in every story as well as her compassion for women in situations of unplanned pregnancy. I really appreciate that she can carefully and compassionately deal with some of these difficult topics.
I give this one a strong 4.5 stars and a PG rating for content.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.