Forever Faithful, by Karen Kingsbury is absolutely fantastic! The complete trilogy, this 1124 page book includes all three books, Waiting for Morning, A Moment of Weakness, and Halfway to Forever.
The books present the stories of Matt, Hannah, Tanner, and Jade as they go through extremely difficult situations. Hannah's husband and oldest daughter are killed in an accident with a drunk driver and she struggles with hatred and court battles. Jade and Tanner are separated for years at a time twice, then end up in a custody battle for their son against Jade's husband. Then, in the third book, Matt and Hannah struggle with the ups and downs of adoption, while Jade and Tanner struggle with her fight against cancer.
I had a hard time putting this book down! The characters are well-developed and quickly seem like old friends. I found myself going through all of the emotions they were feeling: anger, joy, pain, fear, frustration, relief, and hope. The stories were written in a way that they could easily have been real.
I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Christian fiction. Karen Kingsbury is an amazing author that draws you in right from the first word!
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
This morning, not even 48 hours after receiving the book, I finished. For my review I will, try to, give a brief synopsis without giving too much away and then my thoughts on the book. Let me just say though, if you choose to read this trilogy (which I hope you will, if you like Christian fiction), have the tissues handy. I shed many tears over these stories and my puffy eyes are proof of that.
In **Waiting for Morning**, we are introduced to the Ryan family. Tom, a doctor, had married his childhood friend Hannah, and together they had two daughters, Alicia and Jenny. When we meet the family, Hannah is at home waiting for her family to return from their annual weekend camping trip prior to the school year beginning. As Hannah is waiting her mind starts wandering to reasons as to why her family is late. A feeling, that she cannot shake, comes over her and the worry/anxiety continues. Later on two police officers arrive at the door of her family home. Immediately Hannah knew this couldn't be right, they had to be at the wrong home. NOTHING like this could happen to her family. Sadly it is true. Her husband and eldest daughter died in a horrific car accident. Their youngest daughter survived. Waiting for Morning takes us through Hannah's journey of grief, resentment, anger, and the desire to see Brian Wesley, the man who killed her family, be placed in jail. What about Jenny though? She's withdrawing and dealing with all this as well. Only, her mother doesn't notice. Hannah hires a lawyer, Matt Bronzman, that is skilled at handling drunk driving cases and she also becomes involved with MADD at his prompting. It is through MADD that Hannah meets a friend named Carol. Carol walks Hannah through all this but there is one thing she isn't telling her friend. One thing she cannot tell Hannah. Not yet. Will Hannah ever be able to forgive? Will she continue to resent God and doubt his existence? Will she return to Him? What about Jenny? Will she get the help she so desperately needs? Will Hannah and Jenny be able to move forward with their lives?
*My thoughts*: The message behind this story is one that I think many people can relate to. Not so much that we've lost loved ones to drunk driving but more so the heartbreak and questioning that is happening. Even the doubt. Could I remain strong in my faith if something like this were to happen? Could I continue on and forgive? I might be like Hannah and grow distant and be upset with God about these happenings. I believe that for all who are struggling the bible verse Karen Kingsbury has atop chapter one, might be related to by many: I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed. (Lam 1:20a) I know I've felt that way before. Maybe it's time for me to pay Lamentations a visit.
**A Moment of Weakness,** introduces us to Tanner, Jade, and their families. They are childhood friends and Tanner knows Jade is the one for him. Even at age 12, he knows this to be true. Tanner's mom, Doris, she doesn't like Jade or Jade's parents. She will not tell anyone why though. Doris knows that Jade's Mom is having an affair with another man and that she will be leaving her husband and daughter. Doris also knows that her son is meant for someone better than Jade Connor, after all she will end up like her Mother or a drunk like her Father. A little ways into the story we find out that Jade and her Dad are moving to Washington. Jade is convinced that her Mom will meet up with them there. She doesn't know that her Mom has left them as her Dad only told her that Mom had to leave for a while but would meet up with them later. Tanner tells Jade before she leaves, that he will marry her one day! Fast forward 11 years, Tanner's Dad has passed away and his Mother (Doris) is now living in the Northwest! Tanner is in Washington state for a summer internship and Doris is just praying that Jade no longer lives there. Needless to say Jade does still live there and happens to meet Tanner again. A summer love happens, dreams for the future are discussed, a line is crossed, distance happens due to a mission trip, and suddenly they are apart. Believing lies, Jade goes to the man her Dad thinks she should be married to. A quick marriage and she disappears from Tanner's life for another ten years. So much has happened. Jade is going through a divorce and her soon to be ex wants full custody of their son because his wife is a religious fanatic and, in his mind, hurting their son. Jade doesn't know what to do, so she does the only thing she can think of, she calls Tanner's law firm. Next thing you know Tanner and Matt (Bronzman) are flying up to meet with Jade so they can handle this case. Will Tanner and Jade reconnect? Will Jade get her son back? Will the truth about Ty come out? What will happen with Doris, will her secrets ever be revealed?
*My thoughts*: I'll be honest, parts of this story were predictable. But that didn't matter to me. This was a story of love, loss, hurt, shame, and reconnection. The verse that plays over and over in this story is Jeremiah 29: 11-12, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Such a true verse. God does know the plans he has for us. He knows what our future holds and how much time on this earth we have until we are reunited with him again. If it is His will to help us, it will happen. We must first come to Him though.
**Halfway to Forever** brings back the characters we have grown to love: Matt, Hannah, Jenny, Tanner, Jade, and Ty. (Tom and Alicia are also mentioned.) Matt and Hannah have since married and Jenny is getting ready for college. Jenny is smiling again but Hannah knows there is still something missing for her daughter. There have been talks between Matt and Hannah about adding to their family through adoption, will this work for their family? Meanwhile, Jade and Tanner have now married and are busy raising Ty while praying for another pregnancy so they can add to their family. They struggle with getting pregnant, have a miscarriage, but continue to pray with each other and the Bronzman's. Jade isn't feeling well, there are frequent headaches, nausea, and tiredness, what is going on? Everyone urges her to go to the Doctor. She finally goes and gets great news, she's pregnant! An answered prayer. Around that time the Bronzman's receive good news also and are excited. Great things are finally starting to happen for both families, or are they? A pregnancy, a soon to be adopted child, great jobs, happy families, it's all so great but then it happens. Jade has a seizure. The adoption falls through. Tanner works more to not deal with Jade's condition. Everyone is emotionally hurt. What will happen? What will God do in their lives? Will they remain faithful to Him? Will the Bronzman's add to their family? What will happen to Jade's unborn baby? What about her health? What about her marriage to Tanner?
*My thoughts*: I was a wreck reading this book. I cannot lie. I loved the story and it tugged at my heartstrings. Be still and know that I am God, was the verse that kept playing on repeat throughout. Was it predictable? Yes and no, I mean obviously there are parts where you'll read it and say "I knew that would happen" but then there are those other moments where it takes you by surprise a little bit. Things happen in our lives, and while they are not always good, they happen and it is how we respond to those events that will speak as to who we are and what we believe. This book also furthers my desire to have a friendship like the Bronzmans and Eastmanns have. To have that other family that you can share these life events with and know that they will be there to pray with you. To have that type of friendship is something I can only dream of but I look forward to God putting people like that into my life.
I truly hope that you will check this book trilogy out. It is worth reading. The stories are good. You will need tissues. There are things that you can take away from this fiction series. Give it some thought.
*received through the publishers book review program. All thoughts and opinions are my own. *
I usually go for the historical novels so reading this Trilogy is my first experience with the writings of Karen Kingsbury and I am impressed. Her writing style is extremely polished and her characters and story lines are gripping portrayals of the life struggles that we all face at one time or another. They are packed full of spiritual content without being preachy or boring. No fluff here! I found this compelling volume to have life changing messages for the Christian and non Christian alike. The characters are like real life friends to me and this is one book I will keep in my library and read over again. Karen Kingsbury is definitely one of the best authors I have read in a long time.
Titles included in the trilogy are:
Waiting for Morning
The emotional story of a grieving widow and her struggle with hate and revenge after a drunk driver kills her husband and daughter in a car crash. The fact that she is a Christian does not make her struggles any easierâ€”in fact she finds herself mad at God and questioning why he allowed this tragedy in her life. I found this story to be riveting and emotional. The characters were very well rounded and believable. This is sure to touch every heart and make us think about how actions have consequences. I found it very interesting that she used the book of Lamentations as a foundation for this novel.
A Moment of Weakness
Poor judgment and bad decisions are explored in this book about a Christian couple who put themselves in a compromising position and then must spend years paying the price for A Moment of Weakness. This book has a powerful message that will captivate and educate at the same time.
Halfway to Forever
This book revisits the characters from Waiting for Morning and A Moment of Weakness combining their lives into one very gripping and moving story. Halfway to Forever explores how we all must eventually fact the hard stuff in life, but God is always there with us. I cried a bit, but the message was worth it and very powerful.
I received this complimentary copy from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through their Blogging for Books program. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here are my own.
I was ready for some fiction reading but I didn't realize there were three books in one volume when I signed up for this book! When I received it, I thought I would never read it before Christmas. I sat down and started to read. I was caught into the story immediately. Karen Kingsbury is one of the best writers I have read. She really knows how to develop her characters and is not afraid to draw you into their conflicts, their sorrows, their struggles. I felt as if I was reading about friends of my own because the characters were so well portrayed. I finished the first book in one night because I could not put it down. Went on to the second book thinking it could not be as good as the first (that is just how it always is). I was wrong! It was just as good and I finished it in two nights! The last one was even better!
This book is hard to put down. I loved the characters and how they show up in the later volumes as well. Well written. I laughed and cried...some of those gut wrenching sobs that you are embarrassed to have while reading a book. Wonderful writing!!!
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"
If you want to read the first chapter of this book for free, click here. Just be forewarned...you will have to go and buy the book!
I have now read this series for the second time and I can tell you it was even better the second time through! Be ready to have that box of tissue ready at your disposal because you are going to need them. Wow, Karen Kingsbury has that gift to bring our emotions to the forefront. She can make us laugh, cry and then turn around and do it all over again.
In this Forever Faithful Trilogy we have, Waiting for Morning, A Moment of Weakness, and Halfway and Forever. In book one we witness how tragedy can bring us to the breaking point in the blink of an eye. But Kingsbury shows us we are never alone and God always and forever has a plan. In book 2, we see what can happen when we allow our feeling to overtake us and in one choice life changes forever. In the last book we see how God doesn't just bring us half way through an experience and leave us there to fend for ourselves. He carries us all the way through. Even when we cannot see what's up ahead, He can and through it all, He is preparing us for each experience.
We meet the Ryan family and we have a front seat into their living room window. The story continues with Jade and Connor. In book three the life of these very relatable characters brings us to love them even more. You feel as though you have walked the valleys with them and laughed through the great joys that has touched their lives.
I absolutely loved this book and you will too!
This book was a gift from WaterBrook Multnomah Press for it's review.