Readers have their favorite authors and Karen Kingsbury is one of mine. I wanted to love this newest book about one of my favorite fictional families but …
Two years have passed since the car accident that took the lives of Sam and Erin Baxter Hogan and three of their four daughters. Erin’s father, John Baxter has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the recipient of Erin’s heart. The family is divided about meeting Kendra and some say they’ll miss Christmas so they don’t have to meet her. At the same time, Maddie West, daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas.
I’m going to write this review to two different groups of readers.
- Readers who have read all of the Baxter books before and
- Readers who are being introduced to the Baxter family for the first time.
Group 1, you’re up first. I’m a member of this group since I’ve read all 23 books that precede this one. What bothered me about this book were actions taken by some of the characters that I found unbelievable. These actions didn’t make the Baxters feel like the characters that I’ve grown to love. Then there were details and portions of the storyline that didn’t match up with previous books. I don’t want to say much more than that for fear of spoilers but as a reader of the Baxter books I was a little disappointed about these elements of the story. It hurts me to say but this book was a 3-star read because of the above-mentioned. If it wasn’t for Erin’s surviving daughter, Amy it would have remained a 3-star book. However, each time Amy was involved I sniffled my way through that scene. Her heartbreak became my heartbreak. Amy and the emotions I felt for her made this book for me. Karen always manages to pull at my heart-strings and she did that with Amy. I also enjoyed seeing Maddie at age 18. Group 1, you’ll remember Maddie and what happened to her sister, Hayley. At the time of the incident it wasn’t explored how Maddie felt back then. I liked seeing Maddie now trying to deal with the trauma of that event. In conclusion Group 1, look for something special at the end of the book. I believe lovers of the Baxters will enjoy it.
Group 2, you’re next. The things I mentioned above probably won’t bother you because you won’t have the in-depth background Group 1 has with the Baxter family. I think you’ll enjoy this read and want to go back and read the previous books, which I highly recommend you do. But don’t worry! You can absolutely read this book without reading the others. A Baxter Family Christmas begins with an introduction to the family … Who is who, how old they are, who their kids are etc. You’ll simply want to read the rest of the books to fill in the greater details of storylines mentioned here.
In the end reader friends, this is a really quick read (less than 2 hours total reading time according to my Kindle). It’s a good way to pass an afternoon snuggled up in your favorite reading spot. While there were instances when I wanted more, ultimately I believe old fans of the Baxters or new will enjoy this book.
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.
Rating: 4 stars
Title: A Baxter Family Christmas
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Release Date: October 25, 2016