Karen Kingsbury / Author Zondervan Publishing Company $14.99 (
The latest offering from Christian publishing phenom Kingsbury spills over with her trademark sentimentality and easy prose, but is marred by melodramatic implausibilities. In the prologue, Emily Anderson, a beautiful, brilliant, athletic college freshman is pining for her lost parents, at which point the novel flashes back to how they got lost. While Kingsbury strives to make their disappearance believable, it never quite adds up. In particular, readers are led to believe that Emily's famous fighter pilot father had been inaccessible to her because she was spelling his name wrong when doing internet searches. Still, the story is less of a stretch than Kingsbury's mistaken identity novel, One Tuesday Morning, and this one is also more complex and nuanced: it deals with teenage pregnancy, Iraq and Afghanistan. Kingsbury indicates in her author's note she believes she has represented the debate fairly, and there's no doubt her treatment of the topic is gentler than most, but she conflates Christianity with conservatism and support for the war. Her one antiwar character is a liberal non-Christian who, despite being a seasoned war correspondent, appears never to have thought very deeply about her beliefs. As is the case with Kingsbury's other books, any shortcomings are unlikely to faze her ardent fan base.
Reviewed on: 12/05/2005