"The Baxters make plans to come together for a summer lakeside reunion, a celebration like they haven't had in years. But before the big day, the unthinkable happens. As the Baxter Family rallies together, memories come to light in the grief-stricken hours of waiting and praying, memories that bring healing and hope during a time when otherwise darkness might have the final word. In a season that changes all of them, the brilliance of family love overshadows even the valley of heartache as the Baxters draw closer to God and each other. "
Coming Home by Karen Kingsbury is supposed to be both a conclusion to the Baxter family and all of the series surrounding them (Redemption Series, Firstborn Series, Sunrise Series, Above the Line Series, and Bailey Flannigan Series) as well as serve as an introduction to new readers before they dive in to the above series. However, if I read this novel before I read any of the other series, I would not pick up a single one of those books. Coming Home simply rehashed EVERYTHING that happened in all of the other Baxter series. If I had read Coming Home first, there would have been no point in reading any of her other series because I would have already known about all of the twists, tragedies, and love stories that occurred. Any suspense would have been gone. As it was, half of Coming Home was a condensed version of every other novel concerning the Baxter family, and half was spent over a pointless tragedy. The tragedy made me cry, certainly, but the grief in the Baxter family was non-existent and what was there was extremely fake. The novel was simply too short to cover the subject properly.
If Coming Home was the first Baxter book that a reader read, the characters would have seemed fake, insincere, emotionally dry, and too ''Christian'' to be real. Even though I have read all of the other Baxter books, the connection to the characters in Coming Home was hard to establish. If any readers read Coming Home before picking up the other Baxter books, PLEASE do not think that the characters are like that in all of the other novels. For the most part, as is partially glimpsed in Coming Home, the Baxters are very realistic characters, having marital struggles, sexual temptations, struggles with grief and addiction, and runaway from God.
Overall, I was disappointed with this book as both a conclusion and beginning to the Baxter family. If you are new to the Baxter family, PLEASE start with the Redemption series instead. It is the first series, and is by far the best.
I received an eBook copy of this novel for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.