PUBLICATION DATE: June 26, 2012
ew York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury doesn’t disappoint with her latest book.
Coming Home is a stand-alone novel about the Baxter family readers have grown to love in Kingsbury’s previous series. It’s a story about heartbreaking grief, God’s amazing love, and the power of family.
The Baxter children are making plans to celebrate their father, John Baxter’s, seventieth birthday. John’s children Dayne, Brooke, Kari, Ashley, Erin, and Luke are making travel arrangements, planning the party, and looking forward to spending time with each other. However, shortly before the surprise party, the entire family is shocked by a horrible tragedy and the lives of loved ones hang in the balance.
As the family members spend time together at the hospital, they re-live memories with each other, and through this process, some are healed of long-standing wounds. For example, Ashley admits that she has been jealous of Erin at various times in their lives. Other family members eventually realize that the future will be defined as life before the accident and life after it. By the end of the books, the truth about the family’s history is revealed. Throughout the dramatic events, John Baxter attempts to guide his family and teach them that God’s love never fails.
Coming Home is intended to wrap up the stories about the Baxter family, and it’s a satisfying conclusion.
Although reading the previous books isn’t absolutely necessary in order to enjoy Coming Home, it would certainly help. You’re likely to get so much more out of this book if you have the background from the others, especially since there are so many characters. Without previous familiarity, it can be hard to keep track of everyone and it’s much more difficult to feel emotionally connected. That being said, I would imagine that even without having read any of the other Baxter family books, it will be easy to get swept up in this story, which is full of emotion.
As I mentioned, at times it can be hard to keep track of everyone in the book, and the story jumps around a fair amount as we shift viewpoints. The large cast of characters makes it difficult to dig deep with many of them. However, Coming Home is intended to touch upon all the Baxter family members, and it does accomplish this goal. After all, this book is supposed to serve as a farewell to the Baxter characters.
My only other complaint is that John Baxter is almost too perfect. He’s such a likeable character and I admire his strength and his convictions. Still, he is almost too good to be true.
Overall, this is an enjoyable book despite some very sad content. If you don’t mind shedding a few tears, it’s a sweet, emotional story. The author’s depiction of heaven is lovely and the title fits nicely within the overall theme of the book. The book memorably conveys a strong message about the ties that bind family members together and the power of God’s love and enduring faithfulness.