Erin's Reviews > Loving

Loving by Karen Kingsbury
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's review
Jun 25, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: christian-fiction
Read in June, 2012

I took my sweet time in getting around to reading this novel. The reviews on Amazon have been polarizing from the moment it was released: some loved it, some hated it. I wasn't in a hurry to be disappointed, and while Karen rarely does, I did recognize there was plenty of potential for my reading experience to go either way.

I was only as far as Chapter 2 when I began to see that something was off. Storylines started to take contrived turns and, honestly, they never recovered. One of my least favorite plot devices is when a writer lays something out and then jerks it all back and says it means nothing. I call it the yo-yo effect and some authors have it perfected (I'm looking at you, Julian Fellowes). Unfortunately, the whole Bailey-Cody-Brandon triagle turned out to be one big yo-yo.

You'll have to read it to see if I'm referring to Bailey deciding Cody wasn't the one for her after years of loving him, or Bailey deciding that even though she's been seeing Brandon and he wants to marry her that she goes back to Cody after all.

I've defended Bailey in the past. She has lived a charmed life, so if anyone has the right to freak out over first world problems, it's her. But just a few books ago we could see Bailey being a bold witness for Christ in whatever situations she found herself in. Now she is reacting to everything out of fear. She runs. She cuts people out of her life. She's nothing close to a role model.

Let's count the ways Brandon Paul is similar to another Kingsbury leading man, Dayne Matthews. Hollywood heartthrob? Check. Falls in love with a girl from Indiana? Check. Finds Jesus? Check. Lives in a Malibu beach house? Check. Has problems with paparazzi? Check. In "Loving" the parallels reached ridiculous levels.

Cody seemed poised at the end of "Longing" to accept his dream job. Enter a new dream job out of nowhere to shake things up. Does it come as a package deal with a girlfriend he's known for a long time? One who has long held affection for him? Is this too good to be true, or too contrived to hold water? Hmmm...

By the end I wasn't sure if I was reading Karen Kingsbury or Stephenie Meyer. I've never read Meyer but many of the detracting points in "Twilight" seemed present in "Loving". I hope I never have to say that about another Kingsbury book ever again! And yes, I plan to keep reading. Surely the woman who brought us "Redemption" and "Remember" can find herself again and bring us more stories that we can recommend to our friends. My best advice to you would be to treat this book like one treats "Rocky V": pretend it never happened.

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Nina Gayle I agree with you.
Well written review. I especially like the way you discussed the book while avoiding spoilers. This is the worst book I've ever read by Kingsbury. She needs to go back to writing books with multiple characters and plot points.

Erin Thanks! I hope Karen listens to her fans and comes around in her future books!

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