Christian Fiction is a genre that does not appeal to everyone. In my opinion, Karen Kingsbury is the Queen and I look forward to each of her books because they always hold a lesson I need at the time.
In the latest novel from Kingsbury, Hamilton High Principal Wendell Quinn is tired of the violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and low expectations at his Indianapolis school. He wants to see change, so he starts a voluntary after-school Bible Study and prayer program. He knows he is risking his job by leading the program, but the high turnout at every meeting encourages him. A year later things at the school are clearly better, the program doing well—until one parent calls the press.
In This Moment focuses on Wendell’s court case and fight for religious freedom with his lawyer … can you guess who? Luke Baxter, of course. This is a Baxter novel after all 😊 There is no need to read the previous Baxter novels before reading this one. In This Moment begins with an introduction to the family. You’ll see brief updates about the family throughout, but it’s done well and readers who aren’t familiar won’t feel lost.
I found Wendell’s case interesting as it explored a subject matter I’ve never really considered before. I found the story surrounding the parent who called police believable and heartbreaking. However, I found the solutions to each these matters to come too fast, to be anti-climactic. I wanted something else, but I’m not sure what.
What lesson did I find in the pages of In This Moment? If not me, then who? This is the question that Wendell asks himself often and it’s what I wonder now after finishing the book. If there’s something I feel I’m being called to do – If not me, then who? The message for me is to listen, do what God asks no matter how scary that task sounds.
Even though the conclusion of In This Moment didn’t completely grab me, the message I walk away with in my heart is what makes this book.
If you’ve read Karen’s Angels Walking series, see if you can spot the appearance by one of its angels 😊
Advanced copy of In This Moment provided by NetGalley.
UPDATE – November 13, 2017 … I decided to re-read In This Moment after being told Karen made significant changes to the story between the NetGalley copy I read and the finished product.
While there were changes, nothing changed enough to alter my feelings, so my 4-star rating stands. I mentioned a couple of things in my previous review that did change and I’ll chat about them now.
The Baxter recap was moved from the very beginning to the end. The text didn’t change, only the location, so first time readers of the Baxters can still get a quick look at the family.
What I learned from this book, the “If not me, then who?” statement. It was more appropriately changed in the final copy to “What can I do in this moment?” Fits better with the book title, right? Same lesson I mentioned before still applies. No matter how the question was worded, it still had an impact on me.
There were a few things that stood out to me during this second reading. One, the expanding of Alicia’s story, which I thought was done well and added depth to that part of the story. Two, the statement “You told us hurt people hurt people …” It struck me how true this was. How it is human nature to strike out at those around you when you’re hurting. Finally, Wendell’s reason behind starting the Bible Study was ultimately to help his students. Students that didn’t have family support at home. Wendell wanted to give them a safe place to come, a support system and he did that with the Raise the Bar program.
Rating: 4 stars
Title: In This Moment
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Release Date: November 7, 2017