A first for a fiction book
USA Today reports that Karen Kingsbury's Ever After has won Christian Book of the Year from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. It's the first time the award has gone to an author of inspirational fiction.
Karen is a wonderful author. I've read several of her books, and in fact just recently finished Just Beyond the Clouds--a sensitive, thoughtful story of a widowed man and how his Down Syndrome brother helps him find new hope.
Back in 2004, I blogged about Kingsbury's Redemption:
Just read "Redemption," by Gary Smalley and Karen Kingsbury... and I have to tell you, it was a really, really good read.
At first, I was a bit leery of these writing combo's consisting of established Christian fiction writers and evangelical luminaries. Were the luminaries just latching their names onto the star of a good author, for publicity or whatever reason?
Then I started reading Nancy Moser's series with Vonette Bright. And I found that attaching an evangelical celeb's name to a good book doesn't hurt it at all, and their contribution and experiences may actually help.
What you get is the author's own unique style of writing, but with the added benefit of whatever the co-writer has to offer.
In the case of Redemption, Gary Smalley's considerable background and expertise obviously influences the story line, but none of Karen Kingsbury's excellent writing and storytelling ability is lost in the mix.
"Redemption" is the first in a series about the Baxter family, who live in Bloomington, Indiana. Apparently I found this series late in the game (my friend who I visited in Ohio last weekend gave it to me to read on the way home); at least two additional titles in the series are already on the market, and I definitely want to get my hands on them.
The story revolves around Kari, who discovers that her college professor husband is cheating on her with a young student. Kingsbury vividly captures the pain, grief and confusion inherent in such a situation for both Kari and Tim,her wayward husband. When the spurned ex-boyfriend of Tim's paramour turns volatile, you have the added spark of danger and suspense.
The plot also gives Smalley a platform to encourage married couples in such situations to fight to hold their marriage together, and offers hope to help them beat the odds.
"Redemption" also introduces us to the rest of the Baxter family, giving us a basis for future books that will flesh out their own stories. As I said, at least some of those books are already out there, so I need to play catch up!
I've been impressed with everything I've read from Karen Kingsbury, and this book does not disappoint, despite the fact that it a well-known Christian marriage counselor's name precedes hers on the cover.
My daughter has since read the entire Baxter family series, and loved them. I have not yet read Ever After, but I hope to remedy that soon.