Learning (Baxter #20)

Learning (Bailey Flanigan, #2)Learning by Karen Kingsbury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bailey is in New York, living out her dreams of acting and dancing on the Broadway stage. She is also growing closer to actor Brandon Paul. However, she still finds her thoughts often consumed with Cody Coleman and longs for some way to make this broken relationship whole.

Cody is coaching a high school football team, and trying to knit them together off the field. He is also helping a dear friend to recover from a near-fatal car accident. As he grows closer to Chey, will he let go of his feelings for Bailey? Or those feelings cause him to reconcile with her?

This is actually a much better book than the first book in the Bailey Flanigan series. Maybe Bailey’s finally starting to grow on me. I’m enjoying the supporting characters, and I’m really enjoying Cody’s storyline. This is a book I really liked.

Here’s my take on each of the point of view characters. As always, this comes with a **SPOILER WARNING***

Cody: He is head coach of the high school football team now. His takes his struggles from his youth and is able to use them to help the young players have better lives. He’s really making a difference for the young men on his team. He is also deep into a friendship with Cheyenne, and this friendship is starting to get romantic. He still thinks of Bailey, but the love that he has with Cheyenne is different from the love he had with Bailey, and it’s an awesome difference. I look forward to each scene that he’s in, and he is probably my favorite character in this series.

Bailey: Bailey is struggling to adjust to Broadway. She isn’t quite to par with the other dancers in skill, and she doesn’t fit in well with them personally. She feels God telling her to reach out to the other dancers and love them and tell them about him, but it takes the death of a dancer she has developed a closeness with to truly push her into following God’s voice in her new job. She is also getting closer and closer to actor, Brandon Paul, and enjoying all her adventures with him. By the end of the book, she has realized that she is in love with Brandon, and they are officially an item. Her scenes with Brandon always have a surreal feel to them as he is the perfect and most romantic boyfriend that I’ve ever seen in life or in writing.

Ashley: Ashley is struggling with her husband’s new lung disease. It isn’t the fatal disease, but it’s still serious, and her husband is mourning the loss of his career as a fireman. She’s having difficulty understanding and being the supportive wife that she knows she is called to be, but she’s doing her best.

Jenny: Jenny is in the book to provide a picture of her loving her sons and loving Cody when Cody stops by for a visit. She is warm and generous and loves Cody as much as her own children. She’s the mother I aspire to be (but fail to be most of the time).

Cheyenne: Cheyenne is recovering from an awful car accident. She is relearning how to walk and is developing a deepening relationship with Cody. Her point-of-view scenes show her still missing her fiancee who had died, and her questioning if it is okay to love Cody differently from Art. I think it’s great that Cody and Cheyenne are both so emotionally wounded, and I feel like they make a great pairing.

Brandon: His point of view is included to show how he’s doing on the movie set as far as his commitment to God goes. We also get to see his joy in planning a special day for Bailey and his desire for the two of them to be serious and to grow old together.

Even though there’s two more books left, I hope there’s not a lot of Bailey/Cody drama to go because I like them in their different lives and I like the lives that they’ve made for themselves. I would hate to see them cause their current partners agony by destroying that for a relationship that never really got off the ground between them. I just have to get that out there.

However, there’s still too much emotional distance between the two of them for there to be a happy ending right now for either of them. I would love to see a reconciliation of their friendship and a forgiveness of both themselves and each other. I would love to see Cody be able to continue to be a part of the Flanigan family. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but there’s a lot of emotions for Cody and Bailey to both work through to get to that place in their relationship.

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