Reviewed by Rel Mollet
Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury
"...Kingsbury packs a powerful message between the pages, and the reader rides the waves of emotions her stories bring."
The Baxter Family, Dayne Matthews, and his fiancee Katy Hart are back in Sunrise, the first book in Karen Kingsbury's new series, following on from her Redemption and Firstborn Series.
Dayne and Katy are planning their wedding and revelling in the relative obscurity living in Bloomington offers, even as they seek to hide the plans for their big day from the paparazzi. The realisation Dayne will still be required to film romantic scenes in his movies with other actresses places pressure on their relationship until Dayne comes up with a solution which has the power to either strengthen their relationship or destroy it.
The Flanigan family, comprising of parents Jim, Jenny and their five children (three of them adopted from Haiti) take a more prominent role in this series. The family is shattered when Cody Coleman, their boarder and a key player for Jim's Clear Creek High football team, falls into a coma after a drinking binge. Despite his young age, Cody's battle with alcoholism was a well known fact when the Flanigans welcomed him into their home, but his relapse is devastating. Jim is even more dismayed when he discovers the majority of his players have been drinking heavily and partying hard in recent months. Will the team and the younger Flanigan's learn from Cody's tragic behaviour or is worse yet to come?
Karen Kingsbury's legion of fans will no doubt be enthralled by the ongoing saga of the Baxters and the new focus on the Flanigans, particularly the issues they face as parents to young teens. Sunrise addresses the important topic of alcohol abuse and some of its tragic consequences. Bailey, the only daughter of the Flanigans, is set to become a major character in subsequent books as she starts her journey towards womanhood, experiencing attraction to young men and starts learning about judging character and how her choices now can impact her future.
True to form, Kingsbury packs a powerful message between the pages, and the reader rides the waves of emotions her stories bring. The predictability of storyline outcomes, and the unattainable perfection of a few of her characters, is somewhat disappointing as we enter the third series revolving around the Baxter clan. Despite this, there is no doubt that a Karen Kingsbury book will provide a beautiful message of God's love, and the importance of a strong and loving family. It also will not shy away from confronting the difficult issues parents and their children face in today's world. Sunrise is no exception. For that Karen should be applauded. Once again she sets the stage for the sequels, the ongoing stories outlined in Sunrise, which will keep readers highly anticipating each new release.
I recommend reading the Redemption and Firstborn books prior to Sunrise as the reader risks confusion and won't fully appreciate the depth of history each character has.
Rel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".