A Kingsbury Collection

Time came to choose a new book to review for WaterBrook Multnomah.  I glanced through the offerings and decided it was time I read something from one of their most prolific and popular authors, Karen Kingsbury.

I selected A Kingsbury Collection offering the reader three novels in one volume.  The novels are Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side.  I will give a short summary and brief review of each.

A Kingsbury Collection | Three Novels in One:
Where Yesterday Lives • When Joy Came
to Stay • On Every Side
by Karen Kingsbury
Published by: WaterBrook Multnomah
Published: 2005
Genre: Christian Fiction | Romance
(Summaries from back cover)

Where Yesterday Lives

Summary: Ellen Barrett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with an uncertain marriage, a forgotten faith, and haunting memories of her picturesque hometown and the love she left behind.  The eldest of five siblings, she longs for the time, long ago, when they were a happy family. Now Ellen’s beloved father is dead, and she returns home to make peace — with the people who still live there, with the losses and changes that time has wrought, and with the future God has set before her.

My Thoughts: On so many levels I can relate to Ellen Barrett.  As a writer, yes, but not a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, I understand her perfectionist personality, her commitment to her job, and the pride she takes in her work.  As the middle child of three siblings, who are as disconnected as three could be, I yearned along with Ellen as she hoped to bring peace to her family once again.  And as a daughter, I felt her pain as she grieved for her father who was now gone just as I grieved when I lost my best friend and father.

Kingsbury wastes no time in engaging the reader.  From the beginning, you know that you are about to take a journey, a journey about love, hope and faith.  A journey about loss, anger, and untold stories.  Characters about whom you have to ask no questions as Kingsbury grows them before your eyes.  Tension ebbs and flows, and the reader keeps expectantly waiting for something, anything to change or happen.

I enjoyed Where Yesterday Lives very much and highly recommend it.

* * *

When Joy Came to Stay

Summary: Maggie Stovall is one of the golden people. She has it all together…at least on the surface. Ben Stovall is a godly husband and successful attorney. He has no idea of the darkness about to overtake his life. Amanda Joy is a child of society–abused, broken, thrown away. But her trust in God is still alive. When Joy Came to Stay is the heart-wrenching story of one woman’s descent into the shadows of depression, her husband’s search for understanding, and a precious child’s unwavering faith.

Maggie and Ben seem to have it all.  But do they?  They have success, financial means, each loves the Lord.  So what could go wrong?

Amanda Joy is a child who has suffered much at the hands of the foster care system, except for the love of her social worker.  Amanda Joy only wants one thing — to have a mommy and daddy who will keep her forever.

My Thoughts: The day Maggie falls into the darkest depths of depression is not only one of the hardest days of her life.  It also tears Ben’s world and potentially his career apart.  However, their personal faith commitments are strong and it is clear this will be an important part of healing for Maggie.

At certain points in the book, I struggled to read through the more dark passages.  However, when I finished the book, I saw the relevance of their inclusion.

To share more would be to reveal far too much and destroy your enjoyment of reading this book.  

* * *

On Every Side

Summary: Faith Evans is an up-and-coming newscaster, a woman of honor and integrity who must take a stand against the one man she never imagined would be her enemy. A beloved, hundred-year-old statue of Jesus stands in a small-town park–but some say it’s a clear violation of separation of church and state that must come down. Jordan Riley is a powerful attorney fighting for human rights and against God, but still reckoning with bitter boyhood losses. Amid political intrigue, social injustice, and personal conflicts, will love be enough when the battle rages on every side?

My Thoughts: Of the three novels, this may have been my favorite, perhaps due to my background of 30 plus years spent in a legal career.  However, it also focuses on an issue which we are finding more prevalent in our society — the effort of certain groups to remove plaques, statues and other references to the Christian faith from communities because they believe such evidences are in clear violation of separation of church and state.

Reading On Every Side went quickly because of fast-paced dialogue and action between the characters.  Kingsbury is a master at developing her characters and writing dialogue.  In this novel as in When Joy Came to Stay, there is a foster child also looking for a permanent home.  Although she doesn’t play a major role in the plot and storyline, she does bring a certain lightheartedness to some of the scenes.

On Every Side is a story of separation in relationships, both familial and friendships. It is a story of loss of faith and restoration. It is the story of reunions and new opportunities and starting over.

Once again, I enjoyed this novel very much and give it a high recommendation.

* * *

Meet the Author:

Portrait by Dan Davis Photography

Portrait by Dan Davis Photography

Karen Kingsbury is a USA Today and New York Times best-selling author, with more than 15 million books in print.  Dubbed the Queen of Christian Fiction by Time magazine, Karen has written more than forty Life-Changing Fiction titles.  Her emotionally gripping novels include the popular Baxter Family Drama, which encompasses the Redemption, Firstborn, and Sunrise series, as well as stand-alone novels such as Like Dandelion Dust, When Joy Came to Stay, and This Side of Heaven. Karen and her husband, Don, live in the Pacific Northwest and are parents to six children, including three adopted from Haiti. Visit her website at www.KarenKingsbury.com.

* * *

I received a copy of The Kingsbury Collection from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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My next review:  The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whelan

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