In A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One, author Karen Kingsbury captures the reader with three poignant stories of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
Each story is independent of each other and can certainly be read alone. However, including them in a three-in-one book made the stories all the more interesting and engaging.
From inception, the reader is captivated by each plot. The characters are credible and draw one into the story line. There is mystery and suspense which helps explain the character's actions and more often than not, their reaction to their present circumstances. The minor characters are intrinsically interwoven where they do not become a disturbance to the plot but rather a key component for the evolvement of the protagonist.
Each story highlights the redeeming power of God in the midst of life altering events. Forgiveness and repentance are key themes throughout all three stories. In Where Yesterday Lives, Ellen Barrett must come to grips with leaving behind the memories of a life she once had to be able to fully embrace the life the Lord is offering her. Maggie Stovall's story in When Joy Came to Stay painfully reminds us that the past does not always remain in the past. Her courageous story of coming to terms with the mistakes she made as a young lady only go to show it is never too late. On Every Side, Jordan Riley finally understands that waring bitter wars will never heal his broken heart but allowing God to tear down the walls around his heart will.
This book is surely not to disappoint those who enjoy relatable and engaging story plots.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Karen Kingsbury is certainly known as one of the Queens of Christian fiction, and this volume is packed full of three novels sure to please her faithful readers. The subject matter in these three novels is deep: death, depression, separation of church and state. Of course, faith and spirituality drive the actions and thoughts of the believable main characters. Characters who have flaws and doubts and struggles just like us. I struggle with depression myself so this book certainly struck a chord with my heart. It is not easy for those who must suffer with it or for those who love the depressed individual. Karen Kingsbury addresses this and the other issues beautifully with love and concern. I am not sure how much I love the "volume" presentation though, as it is a heavier book to hold while reading, and it definitely looks daunting when first glancing at it and hoping to read a quick novel to forget the cares of the day. It does not disappoint though, but I think I would prefer it in three separate novels in print.
"A Kingburys Collection" Three Novels in One: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay and On Every Side. Author Karen Kingsbury. The book is comprised of almost 800 pages of Christian fiction written by a New York Times Best-Selling Author.
Each story contains a strong lead female character. Each is either a journalist or a TV news anchor. Initially I found this rather curious until I learned the author has a history in each.
With "Where Yesterday Lives" we travel with the main character as she struggles with less than ideal circumstances in her marriage and her family of origin. Her Father dies at the beginning of the story so Ellen travels back to her home town to be with her family to make arrangements for his funeral. The story explores the various struggles and history of each of her siblings, as well as those of Ellen, and culminates with each having a better understanding of each other as they make peace at their fathers funeral.
As a reader I found I was promptly drawn into the story. While I found the characters to be complex, as people are, I did find I began to question the authenticity of some aspects of her characters, which, as a reader, I found a little bothersome--this being particularly true with the character Jake, Ellen's boyfriend of six years prior her marriage, to another man.
The author started to lose me about three fourths the way into the story, as I found it felt to me like it was time to wrap it up. I basically skimmed the last few chapters to get to the conclusion of the story.
"When Joy Comes" is a story of both an adult woman, Maggie, and a child, Amanda Joy. Maggie is married to her golden boy husband, a devout Christian man, and she is employed as a journalist. She and her husband serve as foster parents. Early in the story you realize Maggie has a secret that haunts her. Amanda Joy is a lovely little girl who finds herself in the foster care system, and suffers some horrible experiences in the process. Fairly quickly things begin to unravel in Maggie's life and the reader begins to get the inside story to her dark secret. I found I was really drawn into this story. As I began piecing the story together I was anxious to see it work towards a happy ending. As with the previous book, again I found about three fourths the way into the story the writer was again beginning to lose me. I'd already figured the plot out and simply wanted to get to the point where it was all resolved. The writing, at this point, felt like needless filler, so I skimmed it to get to the culmination of story. Were this story based on true events, I'd not expect such a happy ending due to the circumstances that brought about the problem, but for a fiction novel the reader is provided with a very joyful ending.
"On Every Side", in my opinion, is the best of the bunch, of the three stories. I actually liked the main characters, Faith Evans, and Jordan Riley. The essence of this story is a legal battle that involves a statue of Jesus which stands in the center of a town park. Faith is a newscaster who is also a passionate Christian. Jordan, a powerful attorney, has an ax to grind and goes after the town with a lawsuit mandating the statue be removed. The conflict comes as we learn Faith and Jordan were very close friends as children until Jordan's mother dies, leaving him and his sister orphans, separated and lost while being placed into the foster care system. As the legal battle unfolds, things become complicated as Jordan and Faith find each other again, yet find themselves on opposite sides of the legal battle. In the process the reader is able to travel the journey Jordan has taken up to this point, allowing for the opportunity to understand his confusion and pain. At the same time the reader is also able to journey with Faith and feel her passion, and understand her struggles to find balance between her career goals and her values and beliefs. As the reader I was very drawn into the story, feeling the emotions of the characters, championing for them, and experiencing the story as if I were there. This story engaged me from beginning to end and I really enjoyed what I felt to be a truly happy ending.
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."
This is a great collection of books. I haven't previously read a lot of Karen Kingsbury's novels, but the few I have read have been a wonderful true-to-life portrayal of God's faithfulness in the lives of His people. I love that virtually all of her novels end with someone singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness." Over the summer, I did read one of Kingsbury's novels: Waiting for Morning. This book prompted me to spend some time in Lamentations, and at one point I preached on Lamentations 3 at church - all because of reading one of Kingsbury's novels on the faithfulness of God.
These particular novels are interesting because they not only describe God's faithfulness (each in a different way) but because they also describe the ways in which God calls the lost to Himself and protects the redeemed. In Where Yesterday Lives, a young woman's unexpected loss brings her face to face with the ways in which her faith has become less than active. As she explores her past, she must come to terms with what her future will look like. In When Joy Came to Stay, the realities of depression and expectations are explored, with a stark examination at what happens when living a lie becomes more than unbearable. In On Every Side, the battle for religious freedoms is part of the story, but it's not the whole story, it's just one way in which the characters interact on their journey to find Truth. God cares deeply for His children; these stories show some of the "real life" ways in which this reality finds expression.
I have been blessed to read these stories, and I am glad that an author like Karen Kingsbury has the ability to create characters and write tales that are relevant and fresh for women (and men) who are believers.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
She has a gift for putting words together in a way that always pulls at my heartstrings. The trio of stories in A Kingsbury Collection was no different.
First, you encounter Ellen in When Yesterday Lives. Ellen has had a lot of successes and failures in life. When her father dies, she returns to her childhood home to make peace with people and events from her past. Ellen has no idea what God has in store for her.
Next, you meet Maggie in When Joy Came to Stay. Maggie and her family are on an uncertain journey with depression and all that comes with it. Faith in God will see them through.
Finally, you meet Faith in On Every Side. Faith is a young woman who must make a stand for the truth of God in our uncertain world.
As always Karen Kingsbury introduces and tells interesting tales of the tough stuff we deal with in this world.