The Bailey Flanigan Series begins with Bailey leaving Bloomington for the adventure of a lifetime. She has won an audition for the ensemble of a Broadway musical in New York City. She’s determined to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity, but is she really ready to leave family and friends for the loneliness of the city? And what of Cody Coleman? His disappearance has Bailey worried about their future and praying that their love can survive.
In order to be closer to his mother in jail, Cody takes a coaching job in a small community outside Indianapolis. New friends, distance, and circumstances expose cracks in his relationship with Bailey Flanigan.
Love, loneliness, big opportunities, and even bigger decisions highlight the first book in the new Bailey Flanigan series that features members of the popular Baxter family and finally completes the Bailey/Cody story.
True confession: I have never read a Karen Kingsbury novel before. Yes, really, but see I have only been reading Christian fiction for a little over a year now and there’s a lot of ground to cover in order to keep up with new releases and catch up with older ones. And every time I picked up a Karen Kingsbury book, it was in the middle of a series and I could never get my hands on the first one…until now. At last! The first in a series by Karen Kingsbury!
It does seem to be a continuation of another series. LOL. Reading the first chapter felt like I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up at somebody else’s family reunion! There are three distinct story arcs here – one centering around Bailey and her family, one involving Cody Coleman and the third, a seemingly unrelated family – Logan and Ashley Blake. (I think Ashley is a Baxter – but I can’t figure out her connection with the Flanigans. It’s like there are two parallel stories going on here.) I still think I have to go back several books to get this complicated family tree figured out and fill up on back story. Can anyone tell me what series or titles that would be?
So, in spite of the character confusion I did really enjoy Leaving. Kingsbury knows how to anchor a story with layers of wonderful emotion. Her writing touches all the senses and transports the reader not only into another place, but into another feeling as well. Love the strength she has worked into her families, the love, humour, joy…The Flanigans and Blakes are all that a family should be. It made me ache to experience that family life with them.
In a way this book doesn’t end. It’s definitely a set up for the next in the series, Learning which will be out in June 2011. Thankfully, that's not too long to wait!
Reminder: If you would like a chance to win a copy of Leaving by Karen Kingsbury, leave a comment below. A draw will be held on Sunday, April 24 for all the books I read between April 11 - 23. For more information about the Giveaway check out the April Showers Bring Reading Hours blog posted on March 31