My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book continues the Baxter family drama, focusing on Ashley Baxter. A single mom who has gotten away from God and has committed a series of bad mistakes, Ashley has erected high walls over her heart. She holds everyone at length, especially Landon Blake, the man who has loved her since they were in high school. She’s convinced no one can love her, including God, because of the mistakes she has made. Still, after getting a job working with Alzheimer’s patients and after beginning to spend time with Landon following an accident he has at work, cracks begin form in the walls around her heart.
However, this book does not completely follow Ashley’s story. Kari and Ryan’s story also continues as Kari heals from Tim’s death and as Ryan works on the coaching staff of the New York Giants. Luke Baxter is also introduced as a major character, and he is a college student who shares a sweet relationship with his girlfriend Reagan.
When the events of September 11th enter into the world of their family, the story of these relationships twist and turn as does the nation. Ashley finds herself drawn back to God, but Luke finds himself driven away by his disappointments and his questions.
I found this book to be an interesting book. The world of the Baxters has expanded and grown to where, instead of this being a book mainly about one character, the book has begun to follow the whole family. The story is pleasant and was enough to keep me hooked. I especially loved the sweet interplay between Ashley and her Alzheimer’s patients. They really made the book for me. 🙂
One of the lingering interests that I had from this book was Luke’s story. He was firm and rigid in his beliefs about God. Then, a little sin, and what he felt was punishment and unanswered prayers from God completely turned him away into humanism and atheism. I think that this part of the story is a part where we can all relate.
Luke had always worshipped a God who answered his prayers in the way that he wanted them to be answered. He had never had a major prayer that wasn’t answered and had never felt disappointed by God. Then, he has an unanswered prayer and his faith comes tumbling to the ground. This is a struggle that is so common, especially among those who are coming of age in their faith. It is a struggle that I have had in my own faith walk. God does not always answer our prayers in the way we expect or prosper us in a way that aligns with the “American Dream.” Therein, lies a problem we often find in ourselves and our faith. I will be going into the next book as I have finished this one because I am interested in seeing how Luke’s story is resolved. It is clear to me that Kingsbury’s goal is to bring all the siblings to God, but the how is the interesting part of the journey, and one I’m looking forward to reading.