What a great novel. This is what Christian fiction is all about!
Ellie and Nolan have been best friends since grade school. When Ellie is fifteen, it comes out that her mother has been having an affair and is pregnant with another man's child. Ellie's father, a legalistic Christian, throws his wife out. He takes a military reassignment across the country and tells Ellie they are leaving in a day.
Ellie and Nolan meet one last time, write letters to each other, bury them in a park and vow to meet again in eleven years. What follows are years of heartbreak and pain. Ellie never hears from her mother - not even a letter. And, even though Ellie has written to Nolan, he never responds.
After several years, Ellie, desiring love, reaches out to a young military man. When she becomes pregnant, she can no longer take her father's harsh words and leaves. She is making her way as a single mom, now estranged from both her parents. And Nolan, what about Nolan? He is a successful NBA star. Does he ever think about her? She thinks about him every day.
Angry at God, Ellie is resigned to her future. But God has other plans.
This is what Christian fiction is all about. It is about how God works in the lives of those who love Him. It is about forgiveness and restoration, even when it seems all is lost. It is about hope in the midst of a hopeless situation. It is about God loving us even when we have given up believing it is so.
There are some serious issues Kingsbury addresses in this novel. One is legalism. Ellie's father is very legalistic and alienates his wife and daughter when they fail to live up to his godly standard. Other issues include infidelity, pregnancy outside of marriage, and more. Kingsbury has given us much to think about in this novel.
Be sure and have a tissue handy when you get close to the end of this touching novel.
By the way, those who read The Bridge will be happy to read a bit about Ryan and Molly in this novel.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Ellie Tucker would be considered rich beyond measure to some. She carried with her the love for both of her parents even despite the odds now challenging their marriage, but most of all she carried the love of her childhood friend Nolan Cook. Now it seemed like everything she had come to love and accept was slowly being ripped apart from her by the choices her parents had made.
When her father confronts her mother late one evening after coming home late from work again, the truth spills out from their bedroom door during an argument, that her mom, Caroline was having an affair and is now pregnant. Her father, Alan, has asked her to leave and move out. He can't raise another man's child under his roof and he no longer loves Caroline after this. Thinking only of her best interests, Alan arranges for him and Ellie to move from Savannah, Georgia to Camp Pendleton in California. He believes the further away from her mother she is, the more he can control what is happening in her life.
On the eve of her move, she spends her final night like most every night previously, hanging out in Gordonston Park, where they claimed their very own personal spot in the park. Their spot was the same every time. The patch of grass, alongside the biggest oak tree in the park - maybe the biggest in the city. The one dripping with Spanish moss, with gnarled old roots big enough to sit on. They had come here to talk about life since the summer before sixth grade. Back then they played hide-and-seek among the trees, with the enormous oak serving as home base. During the school year, when it was warm enough, they'd do their homework here. And on nights like this, they would do what came easiest for them.
They would simply crack open their hears and share whatever came out. Nolan had always confessed to Ellie that he loved her and would marry her someday and now it seemed that someday would never ever come. Not with Ellie living so far away. So they made a plan. Like always they ran past the smaller trees to the biggest one in the park, thirty yards from the gate. Their tree. Nolan set the down the box he had brought and the shovel beside the largest root., the one they used as a bench. "Here's the plan. We'll write each other a letter and put it in the box. Today's June first. We'll bury tour letters here by the tree, and eleven years from now, on June first, we'll meet here and read what we wrote." They agreed to write and call each other and hopefully find a way to see one another before the eleven years, but at least they had hope that one day things might be different then they are now.
In the latest novel by Karen Kingsbury, The Chance, is an inspiring look at what the power of faith, hope and love can offer to those dealing with such a profound sense of loss. The loss of her parents marriage, the loss of her friendship with Nolan, and the loss of ever seeing him again like she had been every single night since the sixth grade. This is the story of the eleven years since that day and seeing what Ellie and Nolan's lives have gone. Did Nolan make it to the NBA after all? Did Ellie ever write her best selling novel? Or did God have far different plans for all of them that they never saw coming? You'll have to pick this one up to find out!
I received The Chance by Karen Kingsbury compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I have never read a Karen Kingsbury novel that didn't impact my life in some way. This one really makes you appreciate what you have and to never take for granted one day. It's too easy to miss the bigger picture happening right in front of you, thinking you will always have a tomorrow. This is more than just a novel about hope but also one of forgiveness. The message is one you won't want to miss. I compare her novels to Nicholas Sparks in the Christian world of publishing and she really makes an impact in the way you see your own personal life. I love her dedications in her novel, each a personal letter to her children and husband to inspire and encourage them in their own lives. You can honestly feel she puts a part of herself in each of her books. I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for her next book, Fifteen Minutes that you get an excerpt to read at the conclusion of this novel. If you've never read a novel by Karen Kingsbury, pick one up and see if it doesn't impact you on a deeper level than you ever thought possible!
True that Ellie and Nolan's story has touching moments. However, the fantastic aspects of the story's characters in a real-life setting make the plot unbelievable rather than inspiring. Credibility is what moves you to the next level. While well-penned I just couldn't take it seriously.
You better have a tissue handy during this one. But it isn't any different from any other of Karen Kingsbury's book. She is a writer that has passion for what she does. And it is brought out in her books. This book isn't any different.
The Chance is ultimately about second chances. This story begins with Ella and Nolan being the best of friends. Circumstances soon break them apart, but will it be forever? Ella and her father move because of human error on her mother's part, but before they go Ella and Nolan bury letters that they have written each other, to be opened eleven years later. Life continues and has many bumps along the way. Ella watches from afar as Nolan acheives his dream of being a basketball star while her dream is put on hold.
You'll just have to read the book to see what happens. Help from a wonderful couple from a prior book has a hugh part in this story.
I recently reviewed The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury. The Chance is the second book in this series but it definitely could be read as a stand alone story.
Karen Kingbury is creating a truly wonderful series that is full of heart, love, faith and dreams come true. I love the positive, encouraging feel to these books. The Chance reminds the reader that true love is powerful and blessed by God.
Ellie and Nolan have an incredible story that tugs at the heart of anyone reading. They are torn by the circumstances of life, driven by things beyond their control. They have allowed life to fly by all while still holding tightly to the past.
A past that will test their hearts and their love for each other.
In the midst of their story, the stories of the other characters are unfolding and experiencing amazing healing.
Tears might come at many points throughout this inspirational story.
Karen Kingsbury has once again written a book that will be well-loved by readers everywhere.