Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Longing" Review

Longing by Karen Kingsbury was sent to me as an advanced review copy by Zondervan Publishing. It is the third in the ‘Bailey Flanigan’ series by this author. You can read my review of the first book in this series, Leaving, on my blog here. My review of the second book in this series, Learning, can be found here.

We pick up in Longing where the previous book left off. Bailey is visiting her family in Bloomington over the Thanksgiving holiday. She has a short break from her role in the cast of Hairspray on Broadway. While Bailey is at home, the Flanigan family attends the state high school football championships, and her former boyfriend, Cody, is the head coach of one of the teams. Bailey is still in a dating relationship with Brandon Paul, a famous Hollywood actor, but her lingering feelings for her first love, Cody, still surprise her at times.

After a short talk with Cody at the football game, Bailey returns to her life in New York with the show and with Brandon, who is currently filming in New York. Cody goes back to his life with the football team and with Cheyenne, whose health continues to deteriorate.

Even though they are living separate lives, Bailey and Cody still wonder if they have made the right decisions and if they might someday find their way back to each other.

After being less than thrilled with the first two books in this series, I’m beginning to settle in and be able to enjoy these books a little bit. Longing is definitely my favorite in the Bailey Flanigan series so far. While it did get a little boring in the middle, and there was still too much (what felt like teenage) angst between Bailey and Cody, the last half of the book seemed to finally be getting somewhere. 

The plotline that follows the relationships with Bailey and her cast-mates was handled much more realistically in this book. Bailey took time to get to know the people who came to her Bible study, and it was through these relationships that she was able to be a light for Christ. It seemed as if in the other books she would just spout off a verse or say she would pray for them without really getting to know them or show love to them in practical ways. I guess her approach in Longing just felt more genuine and relational rather than the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude she seemed to have in the first two books.

As for the relationship between Cody and Cheyenne, despite the sad direction Cheyenne’s health took, I liked what happened. I appreciated that the author had Cheyenne’s words and feelings go in a different direction than I was expecting. What she told Cody towards the end was so wise and mature.

And that is what made me like this book better than the others – the characters finally seemed to grow up.

I still think there was no need for this storyline to be spread across four books, but I am looking forward to reading Loving, the last book in this series, next March.

As the best so far in this series, Longing is a more realistic and satisfying lead-in to the final book.

I will give Longing by Karen Kingsbury … 3 BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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