Monday, May 24, 2021

The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury: A Baxter Family Series Review

Karen Kingsbury has become one of my favorite Christian book authors.  Her books are relatable because they deal with real situations that all of us face at one time or another.  I have enjoyed several of Karen's stand alone novels that address religious liberty, parenting a child with autism, abortion, broken relationships, renewed relationships . . . you name it.  If you can think of a real life situation that could challenge the faith of even the most faithful, Karen Kingsbury has probably written a story about it.  I recently finished the first five books in Karen's Baxter Family Drama Series.  The first five books are called the Redemption Series.

Karen Kingsbury's Redemption Series won Christian Retailing's 2005 Retailer's Choice Award for Best Series.  Karen wrote the Baxter Family Series for a joint purpose with Gary Smalley.  Each book highlight's a different theme regarding relationships.  Each book offers study questions at the end of the story and then gives you a sneak peak into the next book.  

Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury
The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury - Baxter Family Dramas

The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury:  A Short Synopsis Book Review

Book One:  Redemption

Book one of the Redemption Series is titled . . . you guessed it . . . Redemption.  Redemption is a novel that challenges our human ability to forgive.  In this first book of the Baxter Family Series, we are introduced to Kari Baxter.  Kari is excited about the possibility of teaming with her husband, Tim, to offer marriage counseling for couples at their church.  Kari barely has time to think through her plans when she learns that hubby, Tim, has been having an affair.  Tim eventually tells Kari that he no longer loves her and he wants a divorce.  Kari believes God has called her to remain with her husband and fight for their marriage.  

Admittedly, I don't know if I could do what Kari did in this book.  Personally, I believe the Bible tells me that I don't have to remain with a cheating husband but the point here is to tell you how Karen writes Kari's story and in this story, Kari remains faithful to what she believes God has called her to do.  In the end, God rewards Kari's faithfulness.  

Redemption is a story about perseverance, faithfulness, and forgiveness.  Through this story, I see how God calls people to do things we might think is unnecessary or even crazy in order to fulfill His purposes in the lives of His people.  God can redeem the most hopeless of situations.  

By the end of this first book, I think you will love the Baxter family.  I also think you might be inclined to offer forgiveness more freely to those who offend you.

Redemption by Karen Kingsbury
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Book Two:  Remember

In book two of the Redemption Series, we learn more about Kari's sister, Ashley.  Ashley has returned from Paris with a deep secret that haunts her.  She feels like noone, not even God, would forgive her mistakes.  Ashley takes a job at a home for Alzheimer's patients.  She develops friendships with the residents, especially a woman named Irvel who continues to demonstrate a love for her longtime late husband, Hank.  The love that Irvel and Hank had shared is a love that Ashley can only dream about no matter how hard Landon Blake tries to capture Ashley's heart.  

In book two, Remember, we find ourselves back on one of the most heart wrenching Tuesdays many of us will ever remember, September 11, 2001.  By now, you have been introduced to all of the Baxter family siblings in some way.  September 11 becomes close and personal to some of the characters, especially the Baxter family youngest son, Luke, and his girlfriend, Reagan.  

So far, in Redemption (book one) and Remember (book two), the reader has worked through the Baxter family's perseverance and faithfulness to God through infidelity, adultery, and national tragedy.

Remember by Karen Kingsbury
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Book Three:  Return

In book three, Return, Karen writes a story that grips many hearts of Christian parents around the world, the reality of a child gone astray.  I mentioned earlier that September 11, 2001 was a day that personally affected a few characters.  The Baxter's youngest son, Luke, was especially changed by the events of that horrible day.  Luke turns from his faith, changes his appearance, and leaves everything precious to him behind, including his family.  

Luke is known as John and Elizabeth Baxter's golden boy, their only son, and youngest of their 5 children.  After September 11, Luke's relationship with his Reagan is broken.  In the months ahead, Reagan moves back to New York to live with her mother where she delivers Luke's son, a baby Luke knows nothing about.  

Through months of heartbreaking revelations and the faithful prayers of his parents, especially Luke's father, John, this book is about Luke's return home . . . home to his family and home to his faith.  

I'll leave one piece of information to your reading.  Will Luke learn that he is a father?  Will his relationship with the baby's mother, Reagan, be renewed?  

Return by Karen Kingsbury
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Book Four:  Rejoice

Book four focuses on another Baxter sibling, Brooke, and her husband, Peter.  Like Kari and Tim, Brooke and Peter are struggling with a troubled marriage.  Brooke and Peter's troubles are different from Kari's and Tim's.  Their problems will resonate more with couples who grow apart more gradually through life circumstances.  In Rejoice, Brooke and Peter's youngest daughter who cannot swim falls ends up in the pool without her life jacket while attending a friend's party.  

Hayley's accident destroy's Peter.  Through circumstances that are sure to separate Brooke and Peter while forever changing the lives of the entire Baxter family, we learn how God can work through a family's worst nightmare to renew relationships in ways that only God can do.

By the end of this book, through all the pain and suffering of these first four novels, the Baxter family has a reason to rejoice.  The family, John and Elizabeth along with all 5 Baxter children, are reunited at a special wedding . . . a wedding that at one time seemed as though it would never happen - another relationship renewed through circumstances that only a faith in a sovereign God could accomplish.

Rejoice by Karen Kingsbury
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Book Five:  Reunion

The first four books in this Redemption series taught us about four of John and Elizabeth Baxter's 5 children.  In book one, we learn about Kari.  In book two, we learn about Ashley.  In book three, we learn about Luke.  In book four, we learn about Brooke.  In Book five, Reunion, we learn about another Baxter sister, Erin, and her husband, Sam.  

Erin and Sam never had biological children in spite of their desire for them.  After moving to Texas, they decide to adopt a baby.  The adoption process for Erin and Sam takes an unexpected turn that leaves Erin and Sam in the middle of a fraudulent situation and eventually without the baby for which they had prepared.  

With Erin and Sam in Texas and Luke in New York, Elizabeth wants a reunion with all their children together.  As all the children arrive at the Baxter house, John and Elizabeth prepare to tell them a secret they've hidden from their children for as long as they could.  Revealing this secret is sure to result in more heartbreak and yet again a challenged faith for this Godly family.  

I grew to love this family as I laughed and cried with them through this first series in the Baxter Family Dramas.  This family grew in their faith as they bonded over triumphs and tragedies that included so many life circumstances including troubled marriages, infidelity, adultery, abortion, a prodigal son, a child drowning, infertility, adoption, national tragedy, two devastating health diagnoses, broken relationships, parenting nightmares . . . and I'm leaving a few things out so I won't reveal everything before you have a chance to read these books. 

I will add that through all five books, book five was the one that ripped my heart into a million pieces.  I highly recommend reading them in the order presented here.  Reading the Redemption Series in order will give you the full effect like watching a movie series in order.  If you watch, or in this case read, out of order, you can probably still enjoy the stories, but reading in order will give you the full effect in time order.  

Book five revealed yet another Baxter family secret.  I won't reveal the secret except to say that it leads us directly in to the next 5 book series called Firstborn.  I have all five of those books sitting right next to me as I type this and I can't wait to start reading them.

Reunion by Karen Kingsbury
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Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury
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Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury
The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury:  
A Baxter Family Drama Series

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