Just Beyond the Clouds
Karen Kingsbury / Author Center Street $14.99 (352p) ISBN 978-
In characteristically heart-wringing, tear-jerking style, bestselling inspirational novelist Kingsbury finishes the story of Cody Gunner she began in A Thousand Tomorrows. Elle Dalton is director of an Independent Learning Center for Down Syndrome adults when she meets Cody, her student Carl Joseph's brother, who is intent on removing Carl from the center. Romance ensues between Elle, still brokenhearted over being jilted at the altar four years ago, and Cody, an angry bull rider who still grieves the loss of his wife to cystic fibrosis. Meanwhile, it's up to Elle-and Carl Joseph-to show Cody that Down Syndrome adults are capable of much more than most people believe. Kingsbury handles the many point-of-view changes with aplomb, although the chapter told from Carl's perspective is less successful. Some readers may wonder about the literary value of auctioning off a character spot in a novel to the highest bidder (the money goes to charity), as is done here, and there is some telling instead of showing and repetition in the prose. But the plotline is sweeter than sugar, and Kingsbury makes an admirably strong advocacy statement for Down Syndrome adults. Kingsbury's legions of inspirational fiction fans should find this exactly to their taste; new readers will also discover that it reads well as a stand-alone.
Reviewed on: 09/03/2007