Monday, January 12, 2009

Karen Kingsbury's This Side of Heaven ~ Reviewed

This Side of Heaven
by Karen Kingsbury
Published by Center Street - Hachette Group
ISBN# 978-1-59995-678-7
328 Pages

Back Cover: Annie Warren never dreamed her son, Josh, was a hero until a tragedy reveals what years of separation had hidden from her.

Savannah---Josh's 8-year-old daughter---is another shock. She lives with her drug-addicted mother on New York's streets---until Maria smells money. In defending Josh's good name and inheritance, will Annie discover a true treasure? Annie might find a treasure more valuable than money, one she never expected, one that is the greatest gift her son could ever give her--THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN.


How do we determine who is successful in life? Is success measured by your career choice or how much money you have in the bank? That's how Annie Warren has judged her son's life. He didn't finish college and was driving a truck and towing cars for a living. What good could come from that she thought? Annie knew Josh was smart and he could do anything, so why did he choose this line of work? Then there was Savannah, a little girl Jopsh thought was his. Annie could not accept that one. She knew the story behind that little adventure and there was no way Josh fathered that child.

Then the unthinkable happens. Annie starts to re-evaluate what is really important in life. She gets a new measuring stick to determine what makes someone successful in life. She has missed many magical moments with her children, because she didn't really take the time to listen to what they had to say. She was very busy at just being busy!

Savannah is a girl that is in search of love and the "Prince Charming" daddy her mother has told her about. A daddy that loved her and would take care of her. Maria, Savannah's mother, was tired of being a mother. She told Savannah that she was ready to drop her off at Social Services any day now. Neither one of them needed to live like they were. Savannah didn't want to be a bother to her mother. If her mom would just let her live with her daddy, things would be ok.

Karen Kingsbury says in the author notes, this story is loosely based on her brother Dave's life, and the pain that he endured. She said her brother "developed a craving for God and His word, once he found the joy of singing worship songs to the Creator of the universe, Dave no longer talked about his pain. Oh, it was still there, I'm certain of that. But it no longer defined him the way his faith and hope for the future defined him."

Karen's statement describes what the main character Josh, experienced in this book. Josh's theme song was "I can only Imagine" by Mercy Me. Josh discovers God in a whole new way. A way which helps him deal with the tremendous physical pain that he's had since the car accident. He discovers the hope and peace that only the Lord can give him in the middle of a storm.

Karen shares her heart that the end of this book. It really tied things up for me and made me appreciate her so much more as a person living out this Christian life. She is a woman after God's own heart. Thank you Karen, for sharing your story.

Reviewed by:
Nora St.Laurent - Book Club Servant Leader

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