What is it about Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter family that draws me in again and again?

When John Baxter is asked to relive his love story with Elizabeth for his grandson Cole’s heritage project, he’s not sure he can do it. But over a few weeks, he tells Cole everything. If you’ve read all the Baxter books, particularly the Redemption series, this part of the book will be familiar to you. There were parts of this look back that read like a repeat of previous books (perhaps more so for me since I recently re-read the entire series) and other parts that were new and fresh because of new details included this time around. Even though some of this was familiar to me, I enjoyed this deeper look back at John and Elizabeth’s courtship. It’s where this family got its start and sometimes it’s good to reminisce.

Cody Coleman is working through the breakup of his complicated relationship with Andi Ellison. Can Cody and Andi work through what is keeping them apart? I enjoyed this part of the book though their story ended a bit quickly for my tastes. I needed there to be one more conversation between the two prior to the ending of the book. I can’t tell you how their story ended because that would be a spoiler 🙂 But I can say that I’m eager for what comes next for the couple.

To answer the question I began this review with … What draws me to the Baxter family? It’s the emotion and that these characters feel like real people to me. But unlike the other books, this one didn’t make me CRY, though I did get a bit teary eyed over a puppy. I’m not sure why this book didn’t grab me like previous books?

Love Story does have brief updates about the rest of the Baxters and Flanigans but there isn’t much here with the whole family. The focus of this novel are John and Elizabeth (let’s call it a prequel to the Baxter series), and Cody and Andi. Haven’t read any of the Baxter books? You can jump in right here without feeling lost. Not only does Karen do a good job of giving you some details without a complete rehash of the story, but the book begins with an introduction to the family … Who is who, how old they are, who their kids are etc.

I’ll wrap things up with this moment between Ashley and Landon. It’s the moment from the book that I’ve been thinking about long after finishing it. They are talking after finding an old pitcher that Elizabeth had glued back together after it was broken and Ashley says …

She told us the repaired pitcher was an illustration of God’s grace. The way he saw us. We would have broken times in life. Times when we threw a ball where we shouldn’t and the next thing you knew something very precious was lying on the ground in pieces. She told us God would always put the pieces back together if we were willing. The end result might not look exactly as it did before, but it would be beautiful all the same. Beautifully broken. That’s what she called it.

I love Kingsbury and I always will. Was this one of her best Baxter books? For me, no. But that won’t stop me from anxiously awaiting the next update on the Baxters (November 2017). They feel like real people, real friends and I need to know what they’re up to.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.


Rating: 4 stars

Reviewer: Jennifer

Title: Love Story

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Release Date: June 6, 2017

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