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I was so excited that I got the chance to read Karen Kingsbury's new novel before it comes out in June! Many years ago I got sucked into the world of the Baxters through Kingsbury's books, and it's been exciting to see her writing more books about them again.
In Love Story, we finally learn the full story of John and Elizabeth Baxter, how they met and fell in love, and how Elizabeth was sent away to have their first baby out of wedlock, forced to give the baby up for adoption. That sounds terribly sad if you haven't already read the rest of the Baxter Family books and know how it all worked out, so I wouldn't recommend reading this book at all unless you've read the rest of the books in those series. A lot of the characters and stories in this book won't make sense or mean as much if you don't already have the backstory from the other books.
I also liked how Kingsbury gave us updates on Bailey's marriage and Cody's life through this book. Bailey and Cody were some of my favorite characters from her series, and it was fun to see how things are working out for them.
The only thing I haven't loved about Kingsbury's books in the past is how she will have God "speak" to her characters. At times she has even said that the characters heard God's voice audibly, and I have had concerns with whether she is giving the correct impression of how a Christian can expect to hear from God. I'd hate to have a Christian who was younger in their faith feel like they must be missing some way that God is speaking to them, instead of realizing that God speaks to us through His word, the Bible. There were a couple instances in this book, but I do appreciate how she almost always has God "speak" something that comes from a Bible verse at least. Thankfully I find that Kingsbury has been toning down that aspect of her stories in her more recent books, which has let me enjoy them even more.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and finished most of it in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon. Kingsbury's writing is done in a way that keeps you reading, and I'm a sucker for a happy ending. If you have read any of the Baxter books in the past, I definitely recommend catching up with the Baxters and Flannigans with this book!
Note: I received a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for a review. This is my honest opinion.