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.
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.
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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.
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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.
I received a copy of this collection from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for a fair and honest review.
It was a blessing to receive this book with all 3 books in one. (Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side) It is a very thick book, but that is to be expected. This was a very real book.; a book where it shows how father’s need to step up with their daughters and be the role model God wants them to be. I really enjoy the basis of the books of each person realizing family is important and should stick together even in rough times. The first book is about Ellen returning home and making some bad decisions that involve an exboyfriend, when she should be focusing attention on her family. I think it is easy to get caught up in thoughts, but we should strive to be the person God wants us to be. Family is important. The second book about Maggie who has to face consequences of choices she made in life and dealing with depression. It is a story about forgiving yourself and others. The third book about Faith and Jordan and how they find a balance of fighting against each other with the past they have. You see Jordan coming around to God’s view of life. I received The Kingsbury Collection from Waterbrook Multnomah for review.
This is a book that contains the three novels listed below. I have seen other reviewers criticize the size of this book. Yes it is large, but HELLO it is 3 books in 1. Did you think it would be small? *rolls eyes* I have never heard of Karen Kingsbury before getting this book. I just recently started to read Christian Fiction and I am so glad I picked this one up! Karen Kingsbury.......you are one of my new favorite authors and I am proud to have your book on my shelf!
Where Yesterday Lives
I LOVED this book and I will tell you why. The very FIRST page is captivating. You immediately want to know who this guy is and what is going on. That continues ALL the way through. I was absorbed in the characters. I wanted to know WHY they were the way they were. I wanted to know if they would be able to work it out or not. Not once did I get bored or want to put it down!
The way the author wrote this story was amazing to me. Just as I was getting to know a character and really want to know the details, the author switched it and put you in a different character's head. I found this to be both intriguing and frustrating (in a good way). I wanted to find out what the rest of the story was with the character so the author FULLY had my attention and I did NOT want to put this book down!
Let this be a warning to you all, you WILL cry when you read this. The last few chapters had me crying so hard I could hardly see the book. The emotions were radiating off the pages and I felt like I was there in real life watching all of this unfold. That just amazes me that a book could be so well written like that! Props to you Karen Kingbury! This is one of the best books I have ever read and I am proud to add it to my personal library!!!
When Joy Came To Stay
Once again, I am floored by Karen Kingsbury's writing style! This story had you guessing to fill in the missing pieces as she went from character to character. You get to a good point with one character and you are dying to know the rest of the story but it quickly jumps to a different character leaving you desperate for information. I could not put this book down until I finished it.
I will give you this information. There IS a child abuse scene that is VERY hard to read so if you have a hard time with that, beware. I was crying so hard in that scene I had to walk away for a bit to calm down.
Once again, she writes so well that I feel like I am in the room with these people. The emotions coming off the pages is just amazing. Very easy to get caught up in this book!
On Every Side
This is another great book by Karen, while it was not my favorite, it was still amazing! Written well, full of emotions, and a great story line based on a true story.
You start off hating Jordan and over the course of the book you find yourself loving him! Faith is an amazing character that caught my attention from the start. She is one of those characters that you quickly fall in love with.
I was not sure what I would find in the Kingsbury Collection. I was excited to see a 700+ page volume with three novels in it. (There is little this reader loves better than having another book in my hands when I finish the first good one!)
In the Kingsbury Collection I found stories of Grace and Forgiveness - and also some very dangerous actions on the part of the characters. These were stories of Redemption, and her character's pasts were true to life, with brokenness and sin. However, the ones who professed to be Christians did not always make Godly choices when they needed to. A theme I saw in these books were Fathers who did not guide and guard their daughters. Every book contained a Father who was more or less negligent in his God given duties toward his daughter, his duty to shepherd her and protect her heart, mind, soul and safety. The results were tragic, as they always are.
This fatherly negligence is too common in our world, even in the professing Church, and so these characters have broken hearts like has happened far too often. They model the need to walk with Christ despite having a past that was not ideal. The sin was mostly presented as horrible and sad... reminding us of the sin sick world we live in.
Book 1. Where Yesterday Lives. As I read about Ellen's family, who all came home to plan their father's funeral, I really hoped this family would find healing in God. All sorts of pain and sadness were locked up in these men and women. The dangerous choice in Where Yesterday Lives is Ellen's choice. Ellen returns to her hometown and decides to call up an old boyfriend. Ellen has a marriage that needs healing like the rest of her life. The answer is never to re-connect with an old boyfriend, who harmed you a decade ago and is still driving around town in his truck dating women, who still has no life and no plans and no purpose.
Going out with her old (and unbelieving) boyfriend was never a Godly idea, and Ellen knew it because she lied to her sister about who she was meeting. The man who almost ruined Ellen's life is not the one to seek out. Her husband back home, who loved her faithfully and steadily had no clue what she was doing. He needed to step up the spiritual leader and lead her back to her commitment to God, and he needed to come with her to help her deal with her family. When he didn't, she turned to the old boyfriend. Of course the old boyfriend had time to "romance" her and pay attention to her....he had no real life. This sort of thing must never be thought of positively. It was flirting with sin, and it was not the answer to Ellen's questions. Ellen realizes this at the end...that the wise woman builds her house and the foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.
Ellen's family needs to draw together, but the conclusions they come to as they try are not entirely true. Jane needed to forgive her father and move past her bitterness and rage toward him for not protecting her, but deciding that it "wasn't his fault" is not a true conclusion. She had a part in her actions, surely, but Scripture is clear that the blame for hurt daughters in laid literally at their father's door. Forgiving him does not mean dismissing his abuse of his role as father. He failed in his duty to protect his girls, the most precious treasures God gave him.
There was a doctrinal question too, when Ellen chided herself for "ever questioning" her parents Catholicism. There are Christians within the Catholic Church, people who have repented and been saved by trusting Christ alone, but that does not change the fact that the doctrines of Catholicism contradict Christian doctrines. This was glossed over by Ellen's father when she tried once to question his Catholicism, and then he essentially tells her not to try to make him a Protestant.
Book 2. When Joy Came to Stay. This story is a story full of Grace, and has a lesson to teach in compassion and forgiveness. This story taught an even stronger lesson in protecting your daughter, and the absolute folly of dating. When Ben Stovall breaks Maggie's heart by telling her he "needs time" after monopolizing her life and leading her to think he was ready to marry, she is taken advantage of by a loser drug dealer. When Ben Stovall comes back into her life, it is just as she is deciding whether or not she can raise a baby alone. Her professing Christian parents allowed this to happen, thinking that raised voices were all the guidance and discipleship she needed. She tells Ben she is going away for a semester, and secretly plans to turn her baby girl over to a waiting family. Ben marries her, never knowing what happened during the year he left her to follow his heart.
When Maggie descends into deep depression eight years into her marriage with Ben, she fears she is going crazy. She begins to believe that if Ben hadn't demanded "perfection," she wouldn't have had to give Amanda Joy away. Hating Ben and herself, she checks into Orchards, a Christian hospital. Ben finds her note and is desperate to understand what happened. As he puts together the pieces of his wife's life, he finds their daughter in the foster care system and decides to bring her home and become a family.
The story of Maggie's return from depression was convincing, because depression is a hidden pain that many in the church suffer from and don't know where to turn. Orchards had doctors and nurses committed to wisely using Biblical counsel and limited medication, helping her restore her relationship with God and Ben. In Orchards, Maggie comes out into the light of truth again after years of darkness and lies.
When mercy and grace come into Maggie and Ben's lives, they finally make room for joy, Amanda Joy, to come and stay. This book has a satisfying ending.
Book 3. On Every Side.
This book looks at an important battle in our day, the battle by atheists and humanists to remove all acknowledgement of God's Providential Hand from public places. As Geoffrey Botkin said, when speaking of obscuring and revising history, "Rebellious men hate the past because it is full of providential meaning, and they hate the future because it is unpredictable and uncontrollable by man. Rebellious men also hate time because it is limited and reminds them of their appointment with death, and they hate eternity because they cannot control it or access it on their terms. But since time is inescapable and since what has happened shapes what is and what will be, rebellious men seek to make God and Christ remote from the present and future by abstracting them from the past."
In On Every Side, HOUR Humanity Organized and United in Responsibility, is committed to someday creating an America where all the Jesus freaks meet in barns at night and prayer will be little more than a state of mind. Yes. That is what they said, and it is chillingly familiar to what is being said today, right down to the increasingly more common taunt that Christianity is child abuse. Being schooled in how to counter illogical rhetoric is critical today.
In One Every Side, Jordan Riley is the sharp young lawyer who intends to remove the statue of Jesus that has stood for one hundred years in Bethany's city park. What the watching world does not know is that Jordan Riley prayed in front of that statue every night the year his mother died when he was thirteen. Now his crusade is to remove any fingerprints left by those who love God. His greatest triumph was convincing New York State to fire a teacher who had prayed with one of his students after she lost friends in a car accident. Still living on the rush of that victory, Jordan thinks removing this statue will be easy. Until he realizes that the girl he once vowed to marry is still in this town, and her family is active in opposing the humanist agenda. Working with her late father's partner, Faith Evans is determined to keep this staue. And so is the town of Bethany.
I found On Every Side's premise delightful, because isn't it awesome when a prominent humanist and atheist converts and his whole life changed? God's Grace is amazing. I also love that the organization who stands against HOUR is modeled after the ACLJ.
I received The Kingsbury Collection from Waterbrook Multnomah for review.
In A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One, author Karen Kingsbury captures the reader with three poignant stories of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
Each story is independent of each other and can certainly be read alone. However, including them in a three-in-one book made the stories all the more interesting and engaging.
From inception, the reader is captivated by each plot. The characters are credible and draw one into the story line. There is mystery and suspense which helps explain the character's actions and more often than not, their reaction to their present circumstances. The minor characters are intrinsically interwoven where they do not become a disturbance to the plot but rather a key component for the evolvement of the protagonist.
Each story highlights the redeeming power of God in the midst of life altering events. Forgiveness and repentance are key themes throughout all three stories. In Where Yesterday Lives, Ellen Barrett must come to grips with leaving behind the memories of a life she once had to be able to fully embrace the life the Lord is offering her. Maggie Stovall's story in When Joy Came to Stay painfully reminds us that the past does not always remain in the past. Her courageous story of coming to terms with the mistakes she made as a young lady only go to show it is never too late. On Every Side, Jordan Riley finally understands that waring bitter wars will never heal his broken heart but allowing God to tear down the walls around his heart will.
This book is surely not to disappoint those who enjoy relatable and engaging story plots.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Karen Kingsbury is certainly known as one of the Queens of Christian fiction, and this volume is packed full of three novels sure to please her faithful readers. The subject matter in these three novels is deep: death, depression, separation of church and state. Of course, faith and spirituality drive the actions and thoughts of the believable main characters. Characters who have flaws and doubts and struggles just like us. I struggle with depression myself so this book certainly struck a chord with my heart. It is not easy for those who must suffer with it or for those who love the depressed individual. Karen Kingsbury addresses this and the other issues beautifully with love and concern. I am not sure how much I love the "volume" presentation though, as it is a heavier book to hold while reading, and it definitely looks daunting when first glancing at it and hoping to read a quick novel to forget the cares of the day. It does not disappoint though, but I think I would prefer it in three separate novels in print.
"A Kingburys Collection" Three Novels in One: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay and On Every Side. Author Karen Kingsbury. The book is comprised of almost 800 pages of Christian fiction written by a New York Times Best-Selling Author. Each story contains a strong lead female character. Each is either a journalist or a TV news anchor. Initially I found this rather curious until I learned the author has a history in each. With "Where Yesterday Lives" we travel with the main character as she struggles with less than ideal circumstances in her marriage and her family of origin. Her Father dies at the beginning of the story so Ellen travels back to her home town to be with her family to make arrangements for his funeral. The story explores the various struggles and history of each of her siblings, as well as those of Ellen, and culminates with each having a better understanding of each other as they make peace at their fathers funeral. As a reader I found I was promptly drawn into the story. While I found the characters to be complex, as people are, I did find I began to question the authenticity of some aspects of her characters, which, as a reader, I found a little bothersome--this being particularly true with the character Jake, Ellen's boyfriend of six years prior her marriage, to another man. The author started to lose me about three fourths the way into the story, as I found it felt to me like it was time to wrap it up. I basically skimmed the last few chapters to get to the conclusion of the story. "When Joy Comes" is a story of both an adult woman, Maggie, and a child, Amanda Joy. Maggie is married to her golden boy husband, a devout Christian man, and she is employed as a journalist. She and her husband serve as foster parents. Early in the story you realize Maggie has a secret that haunts her. Amanda Joy is a lovely little girl who finds herself in the foster care system, and suffers some horrible experiences in the process. Fairly quickly things begin to unravel in Maggie's life and the reader begins to get the inside story to her dark secret. I found I was really drawn into this story. As I began piecing the story together I was anxious to see it work towards a happy ending. As with the previous book, again I found about three fourths the way into the story the writer was again beginning to lose me. I'd already figured the plot out and simply wanted to get to the point where it was all resolved. The writing, at this point, felt like needless filler, so I skimmed it to get to the culmination of story. Were this story based on true events, I'd not expect such a happy ending due to the circumstances that brought about the problem, but for a fiction novel the reader is provided with a very joyful ending. "On Every Side", in my opinion, is the best of the bunch, of the three stories. I actually liked the main characters, Faith Evans, and Jordan Riley. The essence of this story is a legal battle that involves a statue of Jesus which stands in the center of a town park. Faith is a newscaster who is also a passionate Christian. Jordan, a powerful attorney, has an ax to grind and goes after the town with a lawsuit mandating the statue be removed. The conflict comes as we learn Faith and Jordan were very close friends as children until Jordan's mother dies, leaving him and his sister orphans, separated and lost while being placed into the foster care system. As the legal battle unfolds, things become complicated as Jordan and Faith find each other again, yet find themselves on opposite sides of the legal battle. In the process the reader is able to travel the journey Jordan has taken up to this point, allowing for the opportunity to understand his confusion and pain. At the same time the reader is also able to journey with Faith and feel her passion, and understand her struggles to find balance between her career goals and her values and beliefs. As the reader I was very drawn into the story, feeling the emotions of the characters, championing for them, and experiencing the story as if I were there. This story engaged me from beginning to end and I really enjoyed what I felt to be a truly happy ending. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."
This is a great collection of books. I haven’t previously read a lot of Karen Kingsbury’s novels, but the few I have read have been a wonderful true-to-life portrayal of God’s faithfulness in the lives of His people. I love that virtually all of her novels end with someone singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Over the summer, I did read one of Kingsbury’s novels: Waiting for Morning. This book prompted me to spend some time in Lamentations, and at one point I preached on Lamentations 3 at church – all because of reading one of Kingsbury’s novels on the faithfulness of God.
These particular novels are interesting because they not only describe God’s faithfulness (each in a different way) but because they also describe the ways in which God calls the lost to Himself and protects the redeemed. In Where Yesterday Lives, a young woman’s unexpected loss brings her face to face with the ways in which her faith has become less than active. As she explores her past, she must come to terms with what her future will look like. In When Joy Came to Stay, the realities of depression and expectations are explored, with a stark examination at what happens when living a lie becomes more than unbearable. In On Every Side, the battle for religious freedoms is part of the story, but it’s not the whole story, it’s just one way in which the characters interact on their journey to find Truth. God cares deeply for His children; these stories show some of the “real life” ways in which this reality finds expression.
I have been blessed to read these stories, and I am glad that an author like Karen Kingsbury has the ability to create characters and write tales that are relevant and fresh for women (and men) who are believers.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
She has a gift for putting words together in a way that always pulls at my heartstrings. The trio of stories in A Kingsbury Collection was no different.
First, you encounter Ellen in When Yesterday Lives. Ellen has had a lot of successes and failures in life. When her father dies, she returns to her childhood home to make peace with people and events from her past. Ellen has no idea what God has in store for her.
Next, you meet Maggie in When Joy Came to Stay. Maggie and her family are on an uncertain journey with depression and all that comes with it. Faith in God will see them through.
Finally, you meet Faith in On Every Side. Faith is a young woman who must make a stand for the truth of God in our uncertain world.
As always Karen Kingsbury introduces and tells interesting tales of the tough stuff we deal with in this world.
A Kingsbury Collection, Three Novels in One, includes three books by Karen Kingsbury: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side.
In the first book, five siblings struggle to get through their father’s funeral while dealing with their disputes with each other. Ellen, the oldest, is the main character, but the book jumps around a bit from one point-of-view to another. In the end, they all come together, but the story is extremely emotional, requiring a box of tissues toward the end.
The second book was the best of the three. It was the story of a couple who seem to have everything going for them, until she comes face to face with depression and the consequences of past decisions. Meanwhile, her husband races around retracing steps in her past to try to unravel the mystery of her difficulties. The story is well written, with characters that are easy to relate to.
The third book focuses on a newswoman taking a stand against someone she would never have expected to be an enemy. Faith decides to defend her faith when a statue of Jesus in the local park is requested to be removed. She feels that this should not be just another religious item that is removed because it offends a few people when so many enjoy it.
These stories were well-written. The characters seem like everyday people you could meet in your home town, as in most of Kingsbury’s books. I did, however, find the size of the book difficult to handle. It is too big to stick in a purse or bag, making it hard to take along with you to read. I also found the idea of God speaking audibly to the characters in the last book a little far-fetched. But overall, very good books for those who enjoy this author.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
If you've never picked up a Karen Kingbury novel, you are truly missing out on some great reads! This is my 7th book and it's actually three books in one. A Kingbury Collection combines, Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay and On Every Side in one massive volume so you can keep the momentum going when you finish the first book and immediately begin the second and then the third in this series. In each book you find a message within the book and you can immediately relate on some level to one or more of the characters in each of the books. She immediately draws you in as you begin each of them and not being able to put them down until you finish each of them. It's almost like an addiction because you will want to read more and more of her books. There is a feel good feeling that each of her novels leave behind and you can't forget them once your done.
In Where Yesterday Lives, the book opens with a scene of a man having a heart attack in his living room while gaining one final look at the family portraits that hang on the wall before blacking out. Ellen Barrett was a top news reporter for the Miami Times and when she receives word of her fathers heart attack from her husband Mike, she knows it's not going to be good. It was a call that she expected and dreaded at the same time. When Ellen asks Mike to accompany her to Michigan, he explains he can't take time off of work on such short notice. She isn't looking forward to returning home to deal with things and her family, but will this be the sort of thing that God can use to bring healing to her family or will it ultimately drive them apart.
In When Joy Came to Stay, is a story dealing with the effects of depression on the life of Maggie Stovall and also how it impacts the lives of those around us. It focuses on how sometimes the person we see on the outside is not the person who is dealing with life on the inside. It takes the reader into the heart of what happens when life spirals out of hand, and too often we put on our facade to show the world that we're alright when deep down inside we are trying to find ways to simply hang on for one more hour. This was a story I could definitely relate to on many levels and shows you the inside view of what goes on in the mind of someone who is depressed and how it impacts marriages, families and even our friends. Sometimes in the case of Maggie's husband Ben, he can't seem to wrap his head around why his wife simply can't snap out of it and move on with her life. Is there a way for them to work together or will this circumstance test just how solid their marriage really is after all?
Finally in On Every Side deals with what it's like to deal with defending your faith. Just how far would you be willing to go to stand up for what you believe? In this casse, Faith Evans is about to be tested in ways many of us are. She is s solid newscaster who decides to defend her faith when a hundred-year-old statue of Jesus that stands in the middle of their park is asked to be taken down in a violation of the separation of church and state. Now Faith is about to go head to head with powerful attorney, Jordan Riley who is fighting for human rights and is completely against the God that Faith believes in. Will they be able to find common ground or will this be another religious item that is removed simply because it offends a handful of people?
I received this wonderful collection compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review and have been completely captivated by the entire collection. It's hard to pick a favorite in this three-in-one book because there are powerful messages to be gained in each of them that will help you or someone you know, at some stage in your life, maybe not now but in the future. Karen Kingsbury continues to be a favorite author for me and I look forward to every single one of her books that come out or even ones I haven't yet been graced with the opportunity to read just yet. If you are looking for a wholesome story with a powerful message, consider picking this one up at your local book retailer. In my opinion, this one rates a 5 out of 5 stars and has found a permanent home on my library shelf.
Where Yesterday Lives When the sudden death of her father shakes Ellen Barret’s world, she realizes that each of her four siblings remember him differently. A week together to plan the funeral brings out all the repressed and unspoken hurts from their growing up years. To complicate Ellen’s confusion, she gets in touch with her old boyfriend. Ellen and her husband have neglected their faith and each other, so she could be headed for disaster. Will an old friend’s prayers for her be answered?
When Joy Came to Stay Maggie has repressed the lies of her past until depression brings her to the point of desperation. How can a Christian be depressed? How can someone who writes advice for families have her own family in shambles? Her husband, Ben, has to find out what is wrong with Maggie. She has checked herself into a psychiatric hospital and refuses any contact with him. Will he be able to forgive and love her when he finds out the truth?
Karen Kingsbury always probes a nerve with her books. She is not a “happy ever after” type writer, but is realistic with what actual people face, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally because of decisions’ consequences.
On Every Side I had never read On Every Side before as I had the other two, so I enjoyed it the most—not knowing what was going to happen. One interesting thing about this book were the characters’ names: Bob Moses, Joshua Nunn, Faith, Jordan, and the park in town where the well-loved but suddenly controversial Jesus statue was located—Jericho Park! These names made the book fun to read because the characters got inspiration from the book of the Bible, Joshua.
Jordan Riley, a lawyer for a group determined to rid public places of any references to God, targeted the Jesus statue in the town where he had lived as a boy. To him, it seemed God had failed him when his mother died, and his sister and he were separated. When he returned to the small town, he found his best childhood friend still serving the God he had left, and they were on opposite sides of the conflict.
This book is so good, and I do not want to give away any of its secrets! Karen Kingsbury deals with walls the characters had built around their hearts, and just like Jericho’s walls, they have to come down, because as Faith says, “You can’t be angry at God forever.”
Like other Kingsbury books, there is a historical basis for the main plot—to remove the Jesus statue from public view. She is my favorite Christian fiction author. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to receive this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for blogging my opinion.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
As I really like Kingsbury's writings, I am enjoying these stories. They are fiction, but could be true as these things happen in everyday life. I am just finishing the second book of the three stories.
A Kingsbury Collection by Karen Kingsbury is a collection of 3 novels by Ms Kingsbury. These are all great stand alone novels so it makes a great book to take on vacation or other trip. Where Yesterday Lives is a novel about Ellen Barrett returning to her childhood home to help her family as they plan her most beloved father’s funeral. The large family works through many of the hurts and joys of their past together. This one is a real tear jerker so don’t even attempt to read it if you aren’t comfortable crying wherever it is that you are reading—quite emotional. When Joy Came to Stay is a novel about Maggie Stovall who has a charmed life at least to those that she surrounds herself with. She has the job that she has always dreamed of. She is married to the man that she loves. But she finds herself falling deeper into the hole of despair and depression and this story tells of her journey through it. Great story of those involved in foster care (both as the child and as the parent) as well as living with depression. On Every Side is the story of a community coming together to save a 100 year statue of Jesus which had stood inside the city park of all of that time from a big city law firm who would have it torn down for religious freedom. This is the story of fighting for the rights of Christians within the law of religious freedom of the Constitution. This is also a novel though at the end of the story it tells of a very similar incident which took place in Marshfield, Wisconsin. I enjoyed all of these stories most especially the first—but this could be because of my life experiences. Ms Kingsbury is quite a good writer and I really enjoy her books. It is especially nice to have all three well written novels within the confines of one book—quite economical. I look forward to reading more of her books. I received this book from WaterbrookMultnomah for this review.
I love Karen Kingsbury, I have to admit to being a little let down by this collection. For me Where Yesterday Lives was the best of the three. I thought Ellen was a character that I could connect with easily. Her trials were something I could connect with. When Joy Came to Stay was well written in the beginning, but about half way through I started to get bored, I liked Maggie's character a lot, but just was something missing, and by the time I made it to On Every Side my inspiration for reading was more or less gone. The story took on a almost rhetorical turn. I would recommend this book to others but also recommend they not try and read it all at the same time, treat each story as a new book take a few days in between. And I'm still a Kingsbury fan.
I received this collection for free from the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.