Longing (Baxter #21)

Longing (Bailey Flanigan, #3)Longing by Karen Kingsbury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book picks up where Learning ends. Bailey is continuing to work on Broadway and to develop her relationship with Brandon. They have the incredible opportunity of being in New York together for several weeks as his work brings him to New York. They really appear to be falling in love and spinning off into their own happy ending.

Meanwhile, Cody’s experiencing great professional success as a football coach. His love life isn’t so great as his girlfriend, Cheyenne, is given a horrifying diagnosis. Even as he cares for Cheyenne, he can’t help but experience terrible feelings of longing for Bailey. Will he tell Bailey how he feels? Will he fight for her? Will they be together?

This book is a quite satisfying read in the Bailey Flanigan series. The relationships deepen. Both main characters go through quite a bit of emotional growth. All seems to be ticking towards a happy ending for Bailey, but I’m still hoping that Cody gets a happy ending too. He certainly deserves one after all he’s walked through.

Here are my perspectives on each of the point-of-view characters. There are spoilers ahead:

Bailey: She’s in love. She’s happy. She loves Broadway and the people in her Bible study. She increasingly loves Brandon and the time she spends with him. After a couple of serious conversations with Cody in this book, we see that she has emotionally put Cody in the “friend zone,” and she’s ready to move on with her life. The only wrinkle in her life is when the Broadway show she’s working on closes down and she’s not sure what direction to go in after that. She’s moved in with Katy and Dayne Matthews, and is experimenting with life in Los Angeles, proving that she’s getting closer and closer to a happy ending with Brandon.

Cody: He’s going through an excellent time professionally as his team wins the state championship and he’s getting attention from Sports Illustrated. He’s also getting job offers from other teams. He is not walking through as great a time emotionally. He doesn’t feel that he’s in love with his girlfriend, Cheyenne, but she receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and his love for her is strong enough that he walks with her through the diagnosis. He experiences such pain, and at time needs the comfort of God and of his surrogate father, Jim Flanigan. He also realizes, through his conversations with Cheyenne, that he does not truly love Bailey, but he loves the idea of Bailey. He tells Bailey that, and he apologizes for the way that he has treated her. I would be really surprised if he and Bailey were to get together at this point, so I hope the author doesn’t try to force them together in the next book.

Brandon: Brandon walks through a lot of jealousy as Bailey is gaining closure with Cody. He also wants to propose to Bailey, but hasn’t found the right timing. He’s on the cusp of signing a major seven picture deal with a Hollywood studio, but Dayne Matthews has put some questions into his mind that make him wonder about the wisdom of his choices. He realizes that he needs to spend more time in God’s word and that he needs to stop and think about the choices that he’s making.

Ashley: Ashley’s barely in the book, and it’s just to show a Baxter Christmas celebration, and to announce Landon and Ryan both have new careers. Ryan is going to be coaching with the Indianapolis Colts. Landon is going to be doing drug education in the local schools. We also get a mini update on each of the Baxters, but really Dayne is the only Baxter that’s in this book more than just a little bit.

Katy: Katy is a voice of calm and reason for Bailey. She’s the big sister figure who has been there and done that with the paparazzi. She is supportive and she allows Bailey to move in with her and Dayne while Bailey is trying to start a career in Hollywood. We also get some great scenes with Katy, Dayne and their little girl through Katy’s eyes. Love having her back in the story.

Jenny: Jenny’s in the story to give a shoulder to cry on for Bailey during all Bailey’s tough times. She also showcases what the other Flanigans are up to during this book. She shows the impact of Landon’s new job. She also meddles a little and tries to push Cody and Bailey together because of her love for Cody and because she’s always thought that no one would love Bailey the way that Cody did. At the end of the book, she confesses to her husband the way that she’s tried to control her daughter’s love life and how she’s going to give up trying to control things. (As a Mom, I say, we’ll see how that goes! LOL)

That’s about it for this book. It was a truly lovely book, and I really liked it and sped through it. I plan to also quickly speed through the next book. I’ve realized that I’m only a couple of books away from having my Baxter journey to be over. Even though I am excited to move on to some new books, I will be sad to leave their world since I’ve grown so used to it.

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