Summer continues the Baxter family story that has enthralled readers since the Redemption and Firstborn series.
Dayne and Katy Matthews are blissfully married until their decision to participate in a reality show about their lives as they make a movie together. The paparazzi conspire to bring down their marriage and Dayne and Katy struggle to find comfort in each other as their acting commitments overshadow the time they need to spend working on their marriage.
Back in Bloomington, Bailey Flanigan continues to be drawn to Cody Coleman but her parents don’t wish the relationship to develop any further as they know Cody’s addiction to alcohol will continue to haunt him. Cody enlists in the Army, hoping to find his place in a world of discipline, a desire to defend his country and to put distance between him and Bailey, before he can ruin her life.
Cole Blake is beside himself with joy when he learns his mum Ashley has another baby on the way at the same time as his Auntie Kari and his heart overflows with love for his new sibling and cousin. When a routine visit to the obstetrician reveals terrible news all of the Baxters pray for a miracle with the exception of Brooke whose medical training leads her to advise an option which shatters her relationship with her sister.
Karen Kingsbury again tackles the hard issues with her signature sensitivity and insight. Her characters’ responses to their dilemmas resonate with authenticity as the Matthews struggle with the price of fame, John Baxter wrestles with the possibility of a romantic relationship and the Blakes and Taylors try to cope with the joy and heartache their pregnancies bring. The spiritual issues Karen raises are blended beautifully in to the story line, including God’s ability to heal, the sanctity of life and His sufficiency in all circumstances.
I am looking forward to the development of Bailey and Cody’s relationship and the impact of Cody’s decision on his sobriety and fledgling faith as he puts his life on the line and enters the stress and trauma of war. I appreciated the ending of Summer in many ways but be warned your emotions will become so entangled with the characters hearts, a tissue box will be required. In my view, Summer well exceeds Sunrise in its realism and poignancy and I look forward to the last books in the series, Someday and Sunset, continuing that trend.
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