Author: Karen Kingsbury; Gary Smalley
Genre: Christian Fiction
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is my second time reading this book, my first time a year or two ago. I want to read the rest of the Baxter series, which is extensive and knew I needed to reread this book. The story was a heartbreaking one: Kari finds out her husband, whom she loves very much, is cheating on her. Soon after, she finds out that she’s pregnant with their first child. Her husband wants a divorce, Kari is committed to her husband and her marriage and wants to make it work.
One of the themes in this book was a line Kari continuously said: Love is a decision. It’s absolutely true. So many people feel like love is an emotion, love is about feeling good and being happy. It’s not. You have to make the decision to love people, through the ups and the downs. Through the cheating. While I think cheating is one of those absolutes, it’s inspiring (well, as inspiring as a fictional character can be!) to see how committed Kari was to her marriage and loving him, through this awful circumstance.
The story also introduced you to Ryan Taylor, who was Kari’s best friend and first boyfriend in high school. They had a strong connection (and still do) and he comes back into town around the moment Kari finds out about her husband. They are reunited and while Kari tries to deny any feelings she still has for him, she knows he is Ryan Taylor: her first love and the one she never stopped loving.
One of the biggest complaints people have against the book is that there is too much religion. And sure, it is a Christian book and more heavy on Christianity than most books out there but that’s what makes this book so great. So many Christian authors are trying to become too mainstream with their fiction where faith takes a backseat to the main story. In some books, it’s barely even addressed. So I like that Kingsbury inserted so much faith into this novel. It wasn’t preachy, but it was simple, solid, back to the basics faith.
While the story did seem to become clinical in some parts and felt more that the authors were reciting from a training manual than actually writing a fiction novel, it was still a very well-written book. It followed Kari’s journey of fighting for her marriage and holding tight to God even when she didn’t understand what was happening. And it followed the story of a man who has hit rock bottom, who strayed so far from the faith that was so true to him that he became a person he barely recognized.
It’s the story of redemption, and how God can take a situation that seems so heartbreaking and use it for good.
What are your thoughts on the phrase: Love is a decision?