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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, On Every Side » User review

Excellent introduction to the author's novels

  • Feb 14, 2013

Being new to Karen Kingsbury’s books, I found this collection a great place to start, and feel I’ll be better able now to guess which of her stories I’ll like best.

This set contains three novels, Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Cam to Stay, and On Every Side. The first is my favorite. Told from several points of view, it allows the reader deep into the minds and hearts of wounded characters hiding from their own hurts. Misunderstandings make perfect sense when seen in different lights, and the heartbreaks of an outwardly perfect family falling apart are neatly juxtaposed with hurts of past and present. A much-loved father has died and the children squabble, wondering who was loved more or less, or pondering why everyone else makes different assumptions about a relationship seemingly lost. As the funeral approaches, tensions rise, and a stranger prays. Coincidence feels natural, prayers’ answers are pleasingly subtle, and redemption comes on the heels of very plausible outbursts of despair. I enjoyed the unforced emotions and the wholly relatable relationships of this novel and could scarcely put it down.

The second novel, When Joy Comes to Stay, tells of a seemingly perfect woman’s fall into depression. Secrets of the past have haunted her and come to dominate the present, but a perfect juxtaposition of events will bring new light to bear. I enjoyed the story but the coincidences annoyed me on occasion, reminding somewhat of Jodi Picault novels where message sometimes overwhelms the tale. If you love Jodi Picault and love Christian romance, this would be the perfect novel for you.

On Every Side is based on real events where a small town was asked to remove a Jesus statue from a public park. The author does a good job of pointing out that not everyone who wants the statue removed is evil, and not all media are anti-Christian. But the references to anti-Christian media and politics in the story felt a little overwhelming to me. Perhaps it’s just living in Oregon, or having first lived in England, that gives me a different point of view—I feel like Christianity is very well-treated in American media, and references to God seem so frequent I can’t imagine editors are trying to remove them. The story’s good though. The characters are pleasing though the bad guys for the most part are somewhat shady and one-dimensional. And the resolution is very satisfying. I enjoyed the novel, but I’ll probably look more for something less political in future.

A Kingsbury Collection forms a great introduction to the author’s writing, gives an excellent flavor for her different types of novels, and should have something to please all readers interested in trying out this justifiably popular Christian author.


Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #42
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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What Readers Are Saying About Karen Kingsbury Fiction…

“Karen Kingsbury has been such a godsend. Her books have brought me to God and have motivated my husband and me to remarry after a bad divorce. After not being able to have kids, we now have an adopted boy and are trying to adopt another. Your books show faith, love, and tenderness, and I love them.”
—Kathy, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

“I just love all of Karen Kingsbury’s books. Every one has touched me in a very deep way, relating to one or another ‘storm’ I have gone through and yet giving me hope that God is always there, carrying us when we don’t care anymore whether we live or die. I have been to that place, and God did lift me up from the depths of sorrow and pain! Thank you so much!”
—Henrietta, British Columbia, Canada

“Karen Kingsbury’s fiction has changed my life by reminding me that there is hope amid seemingly hopeless circumstances and that faith in God’s redemptive plan is the anchor I can hold on to when life’s compasses fail.”
—Amy, Lawrenceville, GA

“Karen Kingsbury’s books have touched my life in many different ways, butWhere Yesterday Livesreally helped me in the death of my father-in-law… Thank you for the great stories.”
—Chris, Zeeland, MI

“The Lord prompted me to find a Christian author I enjoyed, and I found Karen Kingsbury. I have struggled with depression to a certain...
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