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Coming Home [Paperback]

Karen Kingsbury
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.25
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Book Description

June 26 2012 Baxter Family
A CBA bestselling author, A New York Times Bestselling Author -- Coming Home is a novel about tremendous victory and unprecedented loss, a story of faith and a forever kind of love, love that will stay with you long after the last page. The Baxters make plans to come together for a summer lakeside reunion, a celebration like they haven't had in years. But before the big day, the unthinkable happens. As the Baxter family rallies together, memories come to light in the grief-stricken hours of waiting and praying, memories that bring healing and hope during a time when otherwise darkness might have the final word. In a season that changes all of them, the brilliance of family love overshadows even the valley of heartache as the Baxters draw closer to God and each other. Along the way, secrets are revealed and the truth about the Baxter family history is finally made known. Ultimately, in this portrait of family love, the Baxters cling to each other and to God's promise of forever.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit of a Disappointment June 26 2012
Format:Paperback
I am a little disappointed by this latest and final Baxter book. Karen Kingsbury is not the best writer of Christian Fiction, but her true love of God shines through in her characters and her doctrine is sound. The Baxter family struggles, but always end up looking to God and finding peace. You feel you are part of this family and share their trials and triumphs.
The first hundred pages or so of this novel are just a recap. I was hoping for something new in the lives of the Baxters. It is still a good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet ending July 6 2012
Format:Paperback
I was so hesitant about reading this book. 1. because I knew it would break my heart and 2. because it is the end of the Baxters. After so many books they almost become an extended family and I have learned so much from them. I was able to relate to the way Ashley felt in the beginning, the feeling of being the black sheep of the family. I related to Bailey and the struggle to do things God's way, and trying to hear his voice among all the noise of the world. There are countless many lessons and so I was just nervous about this last book cause I was sad to say goodbye. A friend read the book before me and warned me that I would cry. So I was anticipating it to be heart breaking, but even being warned it still took me by surprise and I cried and cried and cried! I was so devastated by the events that occurred but was so touched by the way the family handled it. It's so true that God is in control and takes care of us no matter what. Even in those hard times, he's not abandoning us but the opposite. His plans are far greater than we can ever imagine and though they don't make sense we must trust Him in every moment. And that's what they did, and it was so encouraging to see their love for each other and for their Lord! Such an encouraging family, and book. I gave it 3 stars only because I was not a fan of what occurred, but was so touched with how the family responded. Hence the bittersweet! Overall Karen Kingsbury is and will always be my favorite author! Keep them coming! :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very emotional Jan. 28 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love all of Karen Kingsbury's books and have been reading them for about 5 years. They are very touching and very inspirational and sometimes very sad, as this one was. It made me cry but also opened my eyes to see that death can be a joyful experience as well as sad. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes christian fiction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  556 reviews
94 of 103 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I think I've outgrown Karen.....and I have a BIG question July 14 2012
By BookwormC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read Coming Home in one sitting--everyone was out for the day--so, obviously, it held my interest (although I REALLY got annoyed with the dramatic "cliff-hanger" phrases at the end of each chapter). I didn't have the problem that lots of others did with the recaps of the characters, because I'm in my mid-50's now and I don't remember things as well as I used to, and I read the first books of the Baxter series a long time ago. But those books comforted me as I was going through a really bad time in my life, and this one did nothing for me. They just aren't REAL anymore! The first Baxters books had real people in them with flaws. Now, everyone has money, and every book is the portrayal of perfect women with perfect husbands who are so tuned in to their every emotion and want to TALK about things all the time (can most of you ladies relate to THAT?). They have wonderful children who always do cute things and always ask if they can help with something--no dawdling or whining about being MADE to help.....it's all completely unrealistic and makes me feel like my family is far below the norm. People keep hearing God speaking to them in every crisis moment and there is always some immediate redeeming value in the terrible thing that has just happened. That isn't the way life always works! I got stuck in an awful situation about ten years ago. I prayed about it literally thousands of times and fasted. The thing I wanted from God didn't happen, I got no comforting messages about it, and when I look at the situation now, I STILL can't see why God let it end the way it did. It's taken a big toll on my faith and my husband's. These books with their hunky-dory endings don't speak to my pain at all.

Now to the BIG question--it hit me during the "letter reading scene". Elizabeth and John Baxter had Dayne when they were in their late teens (I am assuming, since her parents sent her away, that they still had control over her). If John is now 70, that means Dayne has to be, what, 52, in this book? And he has small children, and they are expecting another at the end? How old is Katy? All of the other Baxter kids have to be in their 40's but they are still portrayed as being youthful and energetic and passionate. Am I wrong in my calculations, or is this another dose of Kingsbury unreality?

I used to LOVE Karen's books, but now they're just fluff and fantasy with a little Bible quote thrown in here and there. I seem to be in a very small minority (although I might not be able to trust all those 5 star reviews as being genuine), but I know some people agree with me. Maybe I've just gotten sour, but the quality and depth I used to love isn't there anymore.
78 of 88 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars With a Heavy Heart ***Spoiler*** July 11 2012
By Jennie Marie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is with a heavy heart that I write this review. This will be the final time I read a Karen Kingsbury book. While Coming Home was better than Loving, it still is not even comparable to Karen's earlier works such as A Time to Dance, A Time to Embrace, Even Now, Waiting for Morning, etc. Somewhere along the line, Karen's writing just slipped. The first half of Coming Home was simply a rehash of the original first 5 Baxter books. It made sense to kill off Erin because the Baxter books hardly ever talked about Erin and her family. I had no connection with Erin, so I was not emotional about her and her family members' deaths. It almost seems like Karen's books are just being completed too fast. I noticed that her next book is with a different publisher, and I have to wonder whether or not this new publisher is requiring even more books per year from Karen. I also noticed how her next book is not being released in paperback, just in hardback and ebook format. Perhaps that is a way to make a few more dollars from Karen's "reader friends." Personally, I don't believe that any of Karen's future books will even be hardback worthy because the quality of her writing has went downhill. I will not be purchasing anymore of her books, as I have already wasted too much of my hard earned money on her books.

Her books were much better without the commercials and without the Hollywood drama and soap opera. There are so many Christian authors who are much better than Karen Kingsbury, and I will become readers of those writers.

Perhaps I am the fool though because Karen has made millions off of people such as myself because she started off as a really great writer. She truly wrote "Life Changing Fiction," and I eagerly awaited her books. I know now though that her earlier material will probably end up being her best work because she was not writing 3 and 4 books a year.

For me, my season of being a fan of Karen Kingsbury is over. Karen will not make another dime off of me. I will spend my hard earned money on Christian writers who are truly writing "Life Changing Fiction"
101 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Done with Karen Kingsbury July 1 2012
By A. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was terrible! I have read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Karen Kingsbury's books. I even tolerated the Bailey Flanigan series. Even when "Loving" was simply a retelling of the annoying Dayne/Katy love story with all of its ridiculous Hollywood angst, I remained a fan. But THIS? 10 chapters of retelling THE SAME BOOKS we have already read? THEN we have to deal with the letter-reading scene in the end where they rehash it all AGAIN? Don't keep repackaging the same story and calling it a new book. That's dishonest.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

And while the Baxters have always been a bit unrealistic... this book went too far. FIVE family members died simultaneously and a week later everybody was at a birthday party? Nobody got angry or fell apart or questioned God? They all just immediately accepted God's will and a year later were fine? Give me a break. REAL grief is ugly and messy and does not resolve itself so quickly. This could have been a good opportunity to deal with the issues and pain of tragedy (she did a good job when Ashley's baby died) and how faith can survive even the worst agony. But being fake and putting a happy face on suffering just cheapens real faith and perpetuates the myth that "real Christians" are always joyful.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit disillusioned July 1 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
spoilers... Don't read if you havent read the book.

After reading Loving, I intended not to read another Karen Kingsbury book, however I couldn't resist reading the last Baxter book. I found myself thinking..... again?! How many tragedies can one family go through? Murder, fatal pregnancy defects, cheating, breast cancer, 911, drug addiction, a drowning and the list goes on. I guess I was hoping for a happy ending.If she was going to pick one family for this to happen to, I guess she did pick the right one. There wasn't a book about Erin that I remember so i did feel a little less connected to her and her family... but still. Also, I felt a bit disconnected from the family's reaction to the tragedy. No one got angry at God. They all just accepted that they were in a better place. This just seems unrealistic to me. I also didn't like that she put Bailey and Brandon in this book. It did not fit in with the storyline at all and after all the hooplah with the last book, you would think she would stay far away from that topic. (and to add in that Cody and Andy were engaged????) Blegh! The parts of the book that I liked reminded me of "like dandelion dust". Overall, the book was ok. It wasn't what I hoped for but it was far better than the series on Bailey. It was a little more true to her older writing style. Anyways, I'm still not ready to swear her off for good, but I am glad that she is moving on to new characters, seperate from the Baxters and the Flannigans.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Problem with the Baxter Family, This story, and with Karen Kingsbury July 21 2012
By livvie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'll address the Karen Kingsbury angle first.

Where on earth did the Life-Changing Fiction (TM) go and what is this in its place? I remember sitting down and reading Where Yesterday Lives, Waiting Until Morning, and others and just devouring the books, suggesting them to anyone I know. They were real people, with real problems, and issues, and struggling with their faith in God, their family and so on. Now, I read (or listen) to some of these books, and I wonder what's wrong? I'd rather have a book that are years apart. (Liz Curtis Higgs, Lynn Austin, Julie Lessman, Francine Rivers, Deeanne Gist), and have it be well thought out, than have a book that is rushed and re-treading on a lot of the same issues within the books as a whole. Even authors who can get out a trilogy within a year (Tracie Peterson, Beverly Lewis), have a tendency to touch on a theme but make each book (and series) different). I know it is a different book, and if I read book three, I feel like I have to read book one first.

the Firstborn Series, Bailey Flanningan Series and this book: all. retreads.

I hope that your newest series is better than this, well thought out and you take the time to write, not just "poof!" out a manuscript. Because it is starting to show and it is impacting a lot of people (in a negative sense).

With the Baxters?

Well - the Redemption series was the best series (life changing ;) one might say), I've read about a family. It made sense and dealt with every-day issues with every-day people. As someone who grew up in Christ and has a large extended family, it kind of mystified me that everyone had the same value system, and was super close, and so forth, but it's fiction and it worked for me. It was a great family and series and Karen left you wanting more. Which is a mark of any good writer.

And then it happened.

Sequels. Not EVERY thing needs a sequel. (Batman and Robin, Return of Jafar anyone?) But in my mind the story was done. But we were introduced to more things. Dane (oi. and also - should have had those threads introduced waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in Redemption). And while you could imagine you knew a family like the Baxters, - the arrival of Dane and HOLLYWOOD just... it made it past fiction for me. And with every book, the family that you could imagine being with, became a little too perfect. Too forgiving. A lot of things that these people went through, (a lot of these issues I know in my real life had gone through) would have, and should have been longer than a chapter of "Oh, well, I'm being tested. Oh God spoke to me, all is good, "Great is thy Faithfulness!" there were SEVENTEEN books after Reunion that touched on the Baxter family. In all seriousness, you couldn't have had more than Luke's rebellion in Return and glimpses of Ashley's in Remember to go through a season (and SEASONS)of not fully trusting in God, questioning him?

Which ties in with this Story:

And in those seventeen books: you barely. ever. rarely. hear about Erin Baxter Hogan. And her husband Sam. and her newly adopted daughters. Bailey FLANNINGAN gets her own series. (which, wasn't needed), focusing on Brandon and Cody (which wasn't needed), while the ONLY thing you know about Erin was what you knew about Erin seventeen books ago. She/Sam were infertile, they adopted four daughters, she was close to Elizabeth, she moved to Texas.

So imagine my surprise that the "great tragedy" focuses on someone you don't even know. The minute the set up happened which was clearly telegraphed. The magnitude of the tragedy was unexpected, but the reactions and developments, to me were trite. If that had happened to me - or affected me. I would be completely, utterly gutted. There would be some serious God-versations going on, and I dont think it would be all wrapped up as neatly as it was in the book. There was no struggle at all as there was in previous books when things like that happened. NONE. Just a prayer, and a good old round of "Great is thy Faithfulness."

(also. while my beliefs on heaven and what happens after death is different from Karen and a lot of mainstream Christian writers - a LOT of writers when whomever goes to heaven, the first thing they see is an angel, and/or Christ, God. Not here. It's a big family picnic with the Baxters in heaven. Wouldn't the first thing ANYONE would want to do is see the Lord?).

It would be nice for once, to pick up a Karen Kingsbury book and not see the ending so clearly telegraphed. (regarding the adoption angle, etc). In a Moment of Weakness, the adoption trial was brilliant with twists and turns and everything wasn't JUST about "being evil." No sir, not here. Adoptive Mom is clearly Evil, so the Baxters can Clearly Win. Because they are the Baxter Family after all. (a round of Great is thy Faithfulness anyone?)

The sum of this review is be very careful what you wish for. at the end of Reunion all I wanted was more of the Baxters. And then Karen delivered. And it was the biggest regret of my life.

This is a "borrow from the library" book, should you need to see what happens. (or I could save you the time. Just read re-read all your other books, and imagine a tragedy. it shouldn't be too difficult).
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