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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Karen Kingsbury: A Baxter Family Christmas

By Kelly Bridgewater

Whether you’re meeting the Baxter family for the first time, or finding them all over again…A Baxter Family Christmas will leave fingerprints on your heart forever.

Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.

At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.

Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life.

Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Karen Kingsbury was the second author who I was introduced to in the Christian Publishing world. I picked up a book of hers and devoured them within hours. I passed them onto my aunt, who sadly passed away last year, and we would talk about them once she finished them. When we heard Karen Kingsbury was coming to Bloomington, Indiana, which is where the Baxter's "lived" for a family reunion, I mentioned to my aunt, and we purchased tickets and spend the night in town. It was a lot of fun to see a whole bunch of people come to Bloomington to support this fictional family. I enjoyed reading about the Baxter family, but with the release of some of her previous books, I haven't been reading a lot of her writings. Her books were getting to happy, sappy, and simple. But I was really looking forward to reconnecting with the Baxter family, so I was excited to receive a review copy of A Baxter Family Christmas.

First, I really enjoyed catching up with the Baxter family. It was nice seeing their family again as they had grown through the years, even surpassing all the struggles and still depending on God. All five of the Baxter children had come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the old family home. I was nice to see them interact and still keep their family traditions alive, even start some new ones. You don't have to have recently read the complete twenty books featuring the Baxters. Kingsbury weaves in their back stories for newcomers to the family.

As for the story, it really had no conflict. It centered around allowing the young woman who had received Erin's heart come to their home to celebrate Christ's birth. While the family struggled with the issue, it really didn't cause a rift in the family. The story was a feel good story that made me feel warm and snuggly inside. This would be a great story to read by a fire on a cool day with the cup of cocoa next to the Christmas tree with the Christmas music playing in the background. The plot wasn't dark, and I finished the entire book in one day.

I highly recommend this story to fans of Kingsbury's Baxter family. It is nostalgic and enjoyable, but if you want something with more conflict, then this might not be the story for you. It is pretty soft and has a tinge of a teenage romance. Nothing serious. Readers of any age can read this book.

I received a complimentary copy of A Baxter Family Christmas from Howard Books and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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