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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Where Yesterday Lives by Karen Kingsbury

Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (framed via Picmonkey)
Ellen is a successful journalist in a marriage grown stale.  After she receives a call informing her of her father's death, she returns home to Petoskey, Michigan to face her somewhat dysfunctional family.  The death of her beloved father is only one of the challenges Ellen faces while she and her siblings help their mother plan their father's funeral.

Ellen had begged her husband to return to Petoskey with her.  She needed his support but his busy work schedule took precedence so Ellen returned to Petoskey alone.

Ellen's relationship with her sister, Jane, has been strained for years, but Ellen, for the life of her, can't figure out what happened between the two that would cause Jane to behave so terribly towards her.  After an entire week of planning and bickering back and forth, the truth finally surfaces, but will Ellen and Jane find enough common ground to move past their differences and restore their relationship?

While here husband remains in Miami, Ellen reconnects with her old high school boyfriend, Jake Sadler.  Jake has never married.  After spending time with Ellen, it is evident that he still loves her.  With Ellen's marriage already strained, will Ellen completely destroy her marriage by having an affair with Jake?

There are three other siblings in the Barrett family:  Megan, Amy, and Aaron.

Amy, the youngest of the girls, is married and seems to be the least dramatic sister.

Megan, in my opinion, seems to be the most mature of the five children; although her past might have led her down an entirely different road had she not come to her senses.

Aaron is an odd one.  He is the only boy and the youngest of the five Barrett children.  He keeps to himself, hiding behind his sunglasses, unless he becomes frustrated and angry.  At that point, he becomes rather violent.

At the end of the week, each sibling gets a chance to speak at their father's funeral.  This gives them each an opportunity to express thoughts and feelings that they have kept bottled up until now.

Will the sibling rivalry between Ellen and Jane come to an end?  Will the relationship be restored?  What about Aaron?  Will he step out from behind those sunglasses and allow himself to love and be loved?

Family dynamics, marriage problems, secrets that destroy, temptations almost too great to overcome - Where Yesterday Lives has it all.

Overall, I liked the book.  I think it addresses issues common to many families.  Many readers will relate to the troubled marriage, bickering siblings, and the death of the family patriarch.  I think this book will likely cause people to stop and think about their own family struggles and perhaps set them on a course to solving their own issues.

I was fairly recently introduced to Karen Kingsbury books.  I've since read several of them and loved them all.  This one was a little harder for me to get into.  The sibling rivalry seemed a little too drawn out. It seemed more like I was reading a dialogue between bratty teenagers instead of Christian adults who would hopefully handle things with more maturity.  The mother seemed less nurturing than I would have liked.  Aaron's character was violent to the point of destroying property.  In reality, he would need professional help (in my opinion).  In Where Yesterday Lives, this behavior was written off as almost normal.  His siblings simply avoided conflict with him.  Otherwise they knew he would throw or break things.  I felt like his character could have been more developed and his issues addressed rather than them, for the most part, remaining overlooked.  In spite of these few "problem areas," I liked the book overall.

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