Thursday, February 12, 2009

This Side of Heaven

Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Center Street
ISBN: 978-1-59995-678-7
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Josh Warren was a dreamer. An every-day hero, he makes a living as a tow truck driver, but he dreams of the time when he will own a chain of shops. But when giving directions to a couple young girls, a drunk driver careened out of control and hit Josh. Now on medical disability, Josh has put his life on hold. Worse, he believes the story of a scheming woman who claims he has a seven-year-old daughter named Savannah. Despite the lack of evidence, Josh dreams of being a father and wants partial custody, but Savannah’s mother refuses to let him even see her, unless he pays $4,000 a month first.

Annie Warren wants the best for her son, Josh, but he has always made bad decisions. Now he seems to be just wasting his life. She wants Josh to turn back to God, and start trusting Him, for answers and healing, instead of living on pain medicines that could eventually kill him. But she’s heard all Josh’s lies before, and she isn’t excited when Josh begins to make some steps in that direction.

When the settlement that belongs to Josh is threatened, Annie tries to defend her son. But she finds an unexpected treasure more valuable than money. And it turns out to be the greatest gift her son could give her.

THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN is a sad story about broken relationships and family secrets. My heart broke for Savannah, and when my teen children saw me reading this book and asked for an overview what it was about “so far” I told them about the little girl, and they were shocked and dismayed the people would treat little girls the way Savannah was treated in the book. I guess out of all the characters in the book, I really felt the strongest pull toward Annie and Savannah.

However, more than just a sad story, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN is also the story about love. The love of a mother toward her hurting, wayward son. The love of a father toward a daughter he never knew – and that might not even be his. And the love of God for his imperfect and all too human children. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 320 pages.

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