Coming Home. Ah, those two words for many of us evoke thoughts of family, safety, warmth, togetherness. In Karen Kingsbury’s last Baxter book Coming Home- A Story of Unending Love and Eternal Promise, I would say the descriptors are more like heartbreak, battle, loyalty and eternal hope. This book opens with Ashley Baxter rallying the troops (her siblings and their families) to pull off a 70th surprise birthday party for their father and patriarch of the family John Baxter. And so all of the siblings are invited and heading back to Indiana to take part in this special celebration with each one asked to write a special letter of love for their father. In the process the reader gets to take a walk down memory lane as each sibling recalls their own story and how their Dad was influential in it. For me, a true blue Baxter family fan, I found it enjoyable to look back on each character’s story and journey and how love of family and faith in God brought them through. The Baxter’s weren’t perfect, in fact some of their choices along the way were choices that were not what we would hope they would make, but no matter what, their love for each other and trust and faith that God was working in the midst of the rebellious times proves to be what gets them through. For a new reader, you could actually learn about each character’s back story in a condensed fashion and so I believe you could engage in this story. I thought it was well done.
The tragedy in this story, and there is tragedy, was pretty heartbreaking. I can’t give it away as that is too much of a spoiler. But, I will say that the Baxter family rallies around each other as they have never had to do before and it is hard, heartbreaking and yet in that way that Karen Kingsbury always has with her storytelling, it is filled with heart, faith in God and their deep abiding love for each other that actually leaves you with tremendous hope and faith. I thought this ending was very fitting and there is a hope that Karen Kingsbury will still give us certain little sneak- peaks into the Baxter’s lives in the future through other books. I will have to say that for some reason this series has struck a chord with me and I know many other’s as her books are often NY times bestsellers. There is just something about the Baxter family that you just really care about these characters and what happens to them. And so with this last book, as I began to read it, I thought that the title was so apropos “Coming Home” as that is how you feel about the Baxter’s that they are real and could be your next door neighbors, and what wonderful neighbors they would be.
I received a free digital copy if this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.