**spoiler alert** For me, a mark of a good writer is the ability to make readers feel the same emotions as the characters they are reading about. This...more**spoiler alert** For me, a mark of a good writer is the ability to make readers feel the same emotions as the characters they are reading about. This is something Karen Kingsbury has always been able to do, in my opinion, and "Leaving" is no exception.
Many of us have followed Bailey and the rest of the Flanigan family ever since the "Redemption" series. We've watched Bailey grow into the beautiful young woman of God that she is. Yes, these area fictional characters. But after many years and several series, they've begun to feel like friends. The characters inspire us to be better mothers, siblings, children, and friends. With so many broken families, it's comforting to read about families that are loving toward each other.
I've also had strong opinions about Bailey's relationship--or lack thereof--with Cody. Obviously, as this is the first book in a series, there is not a final resolution between the two of them. In fact, at the end of the book, we are left wondering if indeed the two of them will *ever* end up together. There are potential love-interests for each that could be made to work. I wasn't originally thrilled about this when I heard about it (before reading the book), but after reading about Brandon's relationship with Bailey and Cheyenne's relationship with Cody, I'm extremely intrigued to see what Ms. Kingsbury will do with these relationships in the remaining books.
"Leaving" is an enjoyable read and I cannot wait until later this summer when the next book in the series, "Learning" comes out.(less)
Ms. Fairview's book, "The Other Mr Darcy" made me ask myself if Caroline Bingley was actually one of the most misjudged people in literary history. Wh...moreMs. Fairview's book, "The Other Mr Darcy" made me ask myself if Caroline Bingley was actually one of the most misjudged people in literary history. When I first began the book, I was skeptical. After all, she is most often portrayed as a bit of a snob, to say the least. But to ascribe real, explainable emotions to her? Unthinkable! Yet, that is exactly what Ms. Fairview does---and quite admirably, I might add.
At the start of the story, we discover that there is in fact, a second Mr. Darcy. No, he doesn't have a secret twin (nothing so sinister for our Darcy); it is an American-born cousin on Darcy's father's side. Mr. Robert Darcy has returned to England on business for his family and unwittingly witnesses a moment of real human emotion from Miss Bingley when he encounters her weeping from her broken heart after Mr. Darcy's wedding. She is horrified and chagrined, to say the least, at being caught by him, even though she has no idea who he is (I daresay it would have made her mortification that much worse if she'd immediately known).
Nearly a year later, he arrives at Netherfield to summon Jane to Elizabeth's side. Of course, Jane and Charles (who has boasted in the past of being able to quit a place within five minutes if he so desired) depart immediately for Pemberley, leaving Miss Bingley and a recently widowed Louisa to travel to Pemberly a few days later in company with Mr. Robert Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam, who travels from London to join the party at Bingley's request. Their journey to Pemberley is beset with obstacles, which force them to spend a few days in the country home of a friend of the Colonel's. While there, when a rumor threatens to ruin Miss Bingley's reputation, Mr. Darcy comes to her rescue--by announcing their engagement, albeit a phony one.
Once the party finally arrives at Pemberley and their "engagement" is known, there are those present who would come between them. Throughout a vast assortment of zany story plots (a bit too many, in my opinion), it is obvious to most anyone else how the couple feels about each other. But will they each realize how the other feels in time?
During the story, we were presented with some explanations of why Caroline Bingley is the way that she is. And although I did not think it possible at the start of the story, by the end, I have come to realize that yes, she really could be a most misunderstood heroine. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to read (or watch) my favorite book quite the same way ever again.(less)
First of all, I want to make quite clear at the beginning of my review that if you are looking for a clean Austen variation or continuation (one witho...moreFirst of all, I want to make quite clear at the beginning of my review that if you are looking for a clean Austen variation or continuation (one without foul language or sexual content of any kind), then this is NOT the book for you. This is my biggest reason for giving it only one star. If it had not included taking the Lord's name in vain (something that, as a Christian, I absolutely detest) and some sexual content, I would have given it at least 3-4 stars. I read a few reviews before downloading this book (and I have to admit I picked this one up when it was offered for free in the Kindle store, so I am not actually out any money) and none of them were very clear in labeling the sexual content. I was lead to believe that there was "hinted" sexual content, but nothing graphic. Apparently *my* idea of graphic and *others'* ideas of graphic are two very different things.
I really liked the premise of the book -- that, following Darcy's first proposal of marriage in Hunsford, Elizabeth is not given a chance to refuse before he kisses her twice. Unfortunately, they are witnessed by Colonel Fitzwilliam and a couple groundsmen, so instead of compromising her integrity, she allows everyone to believe she had just accepted his offer of marriage. What must marriage to Mr. Darcy be like under these false pretenses? Especially since he believes her as smitten as he.
Of course, he does discover her true feelings for him, which sets up the major conflict for the story. Will Elizabeth fall in love with her husband as she gets to know him better, and if so, will he ever accept that her affection is genuine?
I literally read this in a day because I was so intrigued in uncovering the answers to these questions myself. I would have enjoyed the book far more (as it is, I skipped over certain parts) if Ms. Reynolds had left out those parts.(less)
I really wanted to like this book as "Emma" is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels (not as well-loved as "Pride and Prejudice", but that's beside th...moreI really wanted to like this book as "Emma" is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels (not as well-loved as "Pride and Prejudice", but that's beside the point). Upon reading the sample, I was thoroughly intrigued with the idea of discovering what Mr. & Mrs. Knightley's ever-after resembled. How was life at Hartfield? How did they adjust to living as husband and wife after viewing each other for so long as friends--and friends with such a disparity in ages? How did the marriages of some of the other characters turn out? Would Augusta Elton develop any taste and lose her sense of vulgar vanity? (After reading this book, I can say with all certainty that she did NOT.)
Within the opening pages, we discover that Jane Fairfax Churchill, after giving birth to a son, met an unfortunate and untimely death. This sets into motion a series of events that completely alters everyone's lives--and the Knightleys' marriage. These events were interesting enough that, despite my utter dislike for the story, I simply *had* to finish reading the book instead of abandoning it as I heartily wished to do.
Perhaps I've seen the Gwynneth Paltrow version of "Emma" too many times to be able to accurately perceive the truth in this from the actual story, but it seemed to me that Emma, by the time she married Mr. Knightley, had undergone a transformation in the way she viewed other people. She seemed less of a snob, less concerned about status and such. This, however, is far from the Emma that Mrs. Billington portrayed. Her Emma was just as haughty and snobbish--and judgmental--as the "real" Emma from the start of Jane Austen's novel. No transformation had been made after even a year of marriage, which I find extremely hard to believe.
I also read with disapproval the portrayal of Emma & Knightley's marriage and their lack of communication. How could two people--as portrayed by Jane Austen--with so much ability to make themselves known and heard by the other suffer through so many months of a sudden lack of communication? There were times I just wanted to smack both of them and shout, "Talk to each other!" While possibly more true to real life (especially during those early years of marriage), it was not the Emma and Knightley I've grown familiar with through the years. And while I appreciated not having to read about it (I heartily disapprove and dislike when authors use descriptive sex scenes---particularly in Austen continuations. I believe she would roll over in her grave at such things), I find it extremely hard to believe that there was no passion in their marriage, as Mrs. Billington would have us believe.
Finally, while Frank Churchill's character is far from reproach in "Emma", I cannot believe he is so bad, so inherently wicked, as Mrs. Billington portrays him in her novel. He has always been selfish, self-centered, and devious. But I just cannot agree that womanizer and debauched cad should also be added to his list of faults.
This book was very well written and would probably be thoroughly enjoyed by someone who has NOT previously read "Emma". The Jane Austen enthusiasts looking for a continuation of a beloved book will want to keep looking.(less)