My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It looks like things are finally coming together in Dayne and Katy’s life. They’re planning to get married, planning for a house in Bloomington, and trying to get closer to Dayne’s birth family. Just when everything seems to be perfect, a tragic accident occurs and suddenly, Dayne is struggling for his life. They need a miracle.
Meanwhile, Luke is having marriage trouble. In fact, he’s having trouble of every kind as he tries to adjust to the idea of having a brother, especially a brother who is so much more successful than he is. He struggles with jealousy, bitterness, and a feeling of loss from his mother being gone, and it spills over into all areas of his life.
Ultimately all must learn to pull together and to really love on each other in words, in acts and in prayer for each other.
This book is a much stronger entry into the Baxter series than the last book. I really loved seeing Dayne’s growing relationship with God, his entries into relationship with his family, and the way the family surrounds him to give him and Katy an act of love. As usual, here are my thoughts about each point-of-view character.
Katy: I’ve complained about her throughout the series. However, when times were hard in this book, she really shone. She realized that she loved Dayne more than her life in Bloomington. She found a strength in herself beyond caring about the tabloids. She found grace and love within herself as well as determination to get through no matter what. She’s someone who has realized what’s really important about life and has made adjustments in her actions and speech accordingly. That’s a really good thing.
Dayne: As I mentioned above, I really loved seeing his spiritual growth, knowing what’s going on in his head, and seeing his determination at whatever he puts his mind towards. He spends much of this book in a coma, and yet, his character is not diminished because of it. I’m really pulling for him and for the whole Baxter family, and I’ve enjoyed the journey through having him as the main character of the story over the past five novels.
Ashley: She’s another character who often annoys me, but really shines in this book. She puts all her effort into helping Dayne and Katy during their tough time, and she is able to really pull off an excellent act of pure love. It’s beautiful, and might be the best part of the book 🙂
Bailey: She’s a teenager, and she’s shifting back-and-forth between boys, wondering who she really “likes” and who really “likes” her. She’s also an actress in the kids’ theater group, but most of her role in this book is all caught up in her teenage feelings for different boys. Ugh. Reading this made me feel two things: (1) Old, (2) Like these days are coming up way too fast for my own children!!
John: He has a beautiful emotional range, and I have really enjoyed his role in all five of these books. I would never have wanted Kingsbury to kill off his wife, but he has really shone as he has dealt with that, with finding his child, and with navigating the waters of his life post-spousal death. I have been enjoying the budding relationship with Elaine, and despite a first blip in it this book, I am hoping that Kingsbury writes much, much more about them. I also nearly cry as he remembers his wife, re-reads her old letters and wishes that she was there to see their family now.
Luke: I just wanted to hang my head a few times at how spoiled he was acting this book. A new brother, and he’s so jealous that can’t stand it. He also feels like a failure because his life is not the way that he had always dreamed and he feels like less than a man as he still can’t provide for his wife and young children. He really pulls it together by the end of the book, but not before causing his wife and his whole family a ton of drama.
Jenny: She only has one or two point of view sections in the book. Mostly she’s there to provide a calmer, more adult perspective on Bailey’s teen drama. She’s enjoyable to read, and I always want to hear more from her view on life.
Reagan: There are problems between Reagan and Luke, and Reagan begins the book feeling like they’re all Luke’s fault. In fact, her life isn’t going the way she would like, and she feels like it’s Luke’s fault. She’s still holding grudges from when they got pregnant out of wedlock, and she doesn’t even realize it until things are bad enough between them that the word separation comes up. She has to realize that the downward direction of her marriage is not solely Luke’s fault but that she has a lot to learn and to atone for in the wrong way she has treated Luke. It’s a realization that I’ve had to make in my life, and it’s a good one.
That’s all for this Firstborn series of Baxter books. It’s a strong finish, enough to keep me reading on into the next series 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing more adventures of the family. After all, Kingsbury hasn’t even gotten Dayne and Katy married yet!