Book Review: "Redemption" by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley

Kari Baxter Jacobs is furious, hurt, and confused. Her husband, Tim, a respected professor of journalism, is having an affair with a student. Stunned, Kari returns home to the Baxter family to sort things out. But when an old flame comes back into her life, she is more confused than ever. How can Kari forgive her husband? What could possibly ease the pain? And what about her own revived feelings for Ryan, a man she knows she should avoid? As Kari searches for answers, an unexpected discovery gives her hope for the future. But when she faces her darkest hour, can she find the faith and strength she needs to move on? A story of redemption and love at all costs.

This book begins the saga of Karen Kingsbury's Baxter Family series. With this book, we meet Kari Baxter Jacobs who finds out that her perfect life is ruined with the news of an unfaithful husband. Meanwhile, she's being tempted herself by an old boyfriend. I felt that this is a scenario many women unfortunately have found themselves in. Your world gets shattered and you seek to get revenge when temptation walks in. I felt that Kari's reactions were realistic and understandable. Kingsbury does a good job of portraying the hurt and betrayal that comes with a spouse who's been unfaithful. The Baxters are close knit and it's refreshing to see big families that are there for each other.

While I enjoyed the book, there were times when I felt it to be a bit soap opera-ish. Yes people, even Christians, experience infidelity and temptation, but the result ends up being the same every time. Plus there's just a lot of drama in this book. I half expected to hear that slow dramatic music at the end of every chapter with a character looking off in the distance inquisitively. I think what bothered me the most was the cop out way the story ended up going. It just seems that this incident always happens in Christian fiction to allow for a second marriage when the first one is going horrible. The ending is also just a little too neat and tidy for my taste.

Still this book handles topics not normally tackled in Christian fiction and gives light to those who are struggling with these same issues. If you are looking for a big long series to read, then you definitely want to start with this book. I've read all the other books involving the Baxters and they are enjoyable to read and give a good lesson as well.

Redemption by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley is published by Tyndale (Reprint 2009)


  1. I loved this series! I think it's because I cared so much about the characters, even though I agree with you that there are times when it's a bit corny.

  2. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your honest review, Deborah. I'm currently reading this book and completely agree with you. I had already checked out the ending (a habit I can't seem to break) and thought it a little too convenient. But it's fiction and I am definitely enjoying the read.

  3. Great review, but I LOVE all of the Baxter books. By the end of the Sunset Series I felt like I was a member of the Baxter Family! After spending so much time getting to know them all from the beginning, I miss them!!


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