A Baxter Family By Karen Kingsbury
Published By Howard Books October 25, 2016
Genres: Women’s Fiction/General Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.
In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.
At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.
Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life.
Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.
Karen Kingsbury’s latest book in the Baxter Family Saga is one that should not be missed. True to Baxter style there is a dilemma that must be solved, but this time its one that could keep the family apart at Christmas if they can’t find a solution soon.
I am convinced that Karen Kingsbury likes nothing better than to make me cry happy tears – that or she holds stock in Puffs and Kleenex tissues. Whichever way it is let me say this: If you are looking for a book to challenge your faith this is it! I have faithfully read all of Ms. Kingsbury’s books and, like many others I’m sure, I feel like the Baxters and the Flannigans are some long lost family I didn’t know I had but love to learn more about them. Although still a little upset with the conclusion of the Bailey Flannigan series, I went into this story so excited to see who would be Ms. Kingsbury’s latest character of choice. The main story of whether the Baxter’s should meet the recipient of their daughter/sister’s (Erin) heart for Christmas challenged me in a good way. I really had to consider if, given the tragic loss of a family member, would I seek to meet this person like John or, like Ashley, would I decide this stranger had no place at my family’s Christmas gathering. I would love to say that I would be like John but there is a very honest part of me that might still feel a bit like Ashley, not sure if this meeting is either right or necessary. But I was so glad to see that Ms. Kingsbury found the best solution for everyone in that Erin’s daughter Amy told Ashley she wished to meet the person who had her mommy’s heart. Ashley’s fear for Amy’s pain and her own pain over the loss of Erin dissolved completely and she finally found the peace and healing she had needed since Erin’s death. What a wonderful way for Ms. Kingsbury to bring everyone together – through the love and curiosity of a child. The sub-story included in this book was that of Maddie West, John’s grandaughter who is dealing with guilt and shaky faith. Maddie has decided if her sister Hayley can’t do or experience something then she won’t either, even the possibility of love. After all, its Maddie’s fault that Hayley is handicapped anyways since she didn’t watch her sister close enough and Hayley almost died. Ms. Kingsbury created in Maddie a character so like many of us – needing God to show us He is there and has good plans for us. And Ms. Kingsbury was very careful to explain through Maddie’s mom as well as Connor Flannigan that the guilt she carries is from herself and not from God. God was not looking to punish her and has many good things for Maddie to experience that may be different from that which Hayley will experience. And through all of this Ms. Kingsbury wove the true story of Christmas: that Jesus came to the earth to forgive and save mankind in His Mercy.
I will certainly be recommending this book to others and am planning to purchase copies of this book for myself and others this Christmas.
I received this e-book from Howard Books via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.