by Marianne Evans
Don’t you just love it when you come upon a book series that hits you so hard you think about it even when you’re busy at work? Even when you’re driving around town on errands? Cooking and cleaning?
Do you ever find yourself so deeply immersed in a story that you find yourself thinking about the characters at the oddest times, pondering the circumstances they find themselves in, simply because they’ve been so vividly, authentically drawn?
You feel for them, because you share in their tribulation – the questionings – and most of all, the beauty of their faith.
I’m in the middle of just such a series, and I honestly can’t read them fast enough (fortunately it’s a long, detailed series, so I have many wonderful nights of reading ahead of me). I’m halfway through the second part of the three part “Baxter Family” series by Karen Kingsbury, and as a new reader of this Christian inspirational author, I’m riveted.
Some background about this series, which has actually been around for quite a while: The Baxter family includes John and Elizabeth Baxter, and their five children: Brooke, Kari, Ashley Erin and Luke. The series evolves into three parts: The Redemption Series, The Firstborn Series (because we come to learn there are actually six Baxter children!) and the Sunrise Series.
Against a tapestry of events both small and large: from small-town living in Bloomington, Indiana to the world-shattering events of 9/11, Kingsbury weaves together story threads that beautifully engage each and every character: their struggles, their faith in Christ, their relationships with one another, their spouses and loves, and in no way does Kingsbury shirk away from tough questions, circumstances and the struggles so many Christians face as they try to remain faithful to God’s call in a culture that goes so strongly against Him at times. These characters are real; they’re flawed, yet retain a grace and nobility in the face of crisis – even if they have to learn life-lessons the hard way. They have secrets, they have dreams, they fail and they succeed and as a reader I find myself rooting for them every step of the way, because to do so is like rooting for every Christian brother and sister who lives life the best way they can day in and day out.
Most of all I’m impressed by this family’s unshakeable faith in God and their unconditional love toward one another. Faith and family devotion forms the bedrock of their lives and the backbone of the entire series.
Karen sets scenes in such a way that they become part and parcel of the story she tells. She uses dialogue in such a way that it reflects character, mannerisms become as familiar as those of a best friend. And her plotlines will, through the course of a book, make you feel any one of a hundred emotions as you ride through these stories along with the characters you come to love.
I refuse to give away a single plot point – only because I pray you pick up book one of the Redemption Series, which is the story that kicks everything off. These are Christian inspirationals – yet they are never preachy. Instead, any Christ-centered message revolves around characters coming to terms with who and what they are. These stories are a combination of the romance and family saga genres, and I believe once you start reading them, you’ll be hooked as well.
It was my niece who first recommended Karen Kingsbury, and the Redemption series. I took her recommendation to heart, but didn’t act on it until almost a year later. From there, I dove into the entire Baxter Family series with passion and enthusiasm. I’m in awe of Ms. Kingsbury’s talent and am delighted to have this chance to let you know how deeply these books took root in my heart and inspired me as a writer, and a Christian.
I can’t recommend these books highly enough. Enjoy – and God bless!
What's your favorite fiction series? Why? Or is there a book you wished was part of a series? If so, what and why?
To read an excerpt of Marianne's newest release, Hearts Surrender, go to Gina's blog.
The series is offered in both print and electronic formats via White Rose Publishing (http://www.whiterosepublsihing.com/) and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/).
Connect with her at: http://www.marianneevans.com/
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744?ref=ts (Facebook Fan Page)
Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church ; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.
A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.
After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?