Reviews

Return by Karen Kingsbury, Gary Smalley

langanle's review against another edition

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challenging emotional hopeful inspiring reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

kentuckybooklover's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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pageturnersandsweettea's review against another edition

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5.0

This prodigal-son-returns-home story is one of my absolute favorites of Ms. Kingsbury's Baxter family books. Luke's character is the baby of the family, and she chiseled him so well in these stories. I was so excited years ago when I learned he had a book where his story was center. I loved revisiting him!

What would you feel like if everything you ever believed in was ripped away in one tragic instant? That's what Luke battles and I was so angry with him for so long in this book! I found myself on more than one occasion wanting to throw the book across the room. But, in trademark Kingsbury fashion, she weaved messages of hope, forgiveness, understanding and acceptance into her pages, and it wrapped me up instantly. Luke's story is a powerful one and I will forever love it.

This book should be able to get more than a simple 5 star rating. This book is emotional, utterly raw and absolutely breathtaking. The characters are now your family, the lessons are yours. All of it wrap up to make one unforgettable novel in a sweep-you-off-your-feet series. Ms. Kingsbury's shelf is graced with Luke's story and when someone asks me my favorites, his will always be one of the first to slip off the shelf. Well done, once again, on another amazing addition to this incredible family story.

*I purchased this book for my personal collection. Cafinated Reads was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*

raben_76325's review against another edition

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3.0

This is the third book of the Baxter Family Saga. At this point, there are three main protagonists, Kari, Ashley and Luke. Luke's story is the main story of this book. He has really spun off into rebellion against his parents, God, and all that he formerly held dear. At the same time, in New York, his former girlfriend is pregnant with his child. Will he ever find out about the child? Will he ever turn back to God? Will he ever reconcile with his family?

At the same time, we see glimpses of Kari and Ryan's life as they prepare for their wedding day. This is a really great payoff from the indecision and hesitancy that plagued their relationship throughout the first two books.

The other main character that we are graced with in this book is Ashley. Her and Landon's relationship continues to develop and hits a major speed bump or two. After all, they are in different cities and at different places in their lives. Will they ever actually get together?

I enjoyed this book, but I found it to be a little melodramatic. Ashley and Landon's story took up a good piece of the book, and I find it emotionally exhausting. Every time I think they're finally going to be happy, some other reason comes up that they can't be together. I'm hoping for some resolution in the next book because we didn't get it here, and the fact that there relationship is so melodramatic is a main reason that I had difficulty enjoying this book as much as the first two in this series.

I did find Luke's story to be interesting and I am glad that it has reached some resolution. I felt like his issues with faith and God were tied up a little too quickly and easily. As someone with a naturally skeptical nature, I did not find it to be believable, and I had doubts that Luke really had the faith doubts that he displays in the book because of how quick and tidy the resolution was. I also did not find the comparison with Peter to be believable for someone who is having faith doubts. However, I will grant that perhaps this is the author's way of showing us that perhaps instead of doubts, perhaps Peter just had some rebellious and unhappy feelings toward God. I always felt like Peter's denials were more of the "I need to save myself" type than the actual doubt in Jesus as his Messiah. That's just my interpretation though.

This book also introduces Brooke as the next major character in this series, and I am hoping that her story is great. I am also hoping to finally see some resolution on Ashley and Landon and an end to their exhausting drama in the next book.

sofiazecat's review

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emotional reflective

3.75

katemixon17's review against another edition

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3.0

Man. I am sad to say I will not be finishing out this series, and if you know me you know that's a pretty big deal, because I ALWAYS finish a series, even if I think it's awful.

Things I liked: okay, tbh I cried when Luke was reunited with both his son and his family. That got to me. It was two sweet scenes and the picture of redemption and restoration was beautiful. Also, Kari and Ryan's wedding. I cried then too. The end of the book just put me in my feels :')

Things I didnt: those three scenes were pretty much where my enjoyment of the book ended. One thing that I have found frustrating is the OBVIOUS opinions of Kingsbury and Smalley throughout the books. This has most clearly been seen in this book, because of the political and social opinions that Luke's character struggles to grapple with. I understand the picture they are trying to paint - being a college student myself, it can be difficult to hold to my Christian beliefs when others are fighting for my attention. However, just like I don't like when I read books that try to shove non-Christian beliefs down my throat, I don't like when Christians do it either. Let the events play out, and then leave me to consider my own opinions of those events. The constant "commentary" from the minds of the characters made it painfully obvious what the authors were trying to communicate, and it was annoying. Also, as they have done before, the "sinful" characters are depicted in the worst light. Either they are made to be completely evil or completely stupid, or a mixture of both. Not only is this inaccurate, but it makes those characters completely one-dimensional and essentially irrelevant. Kingsbury, in case you didn't know, non-Christians can be complex and even wholesome individuals as well.

Ugh. I'm done with this series. Next time I want Christian fiction (which I do still love btw), I'm going to Francine Rivers.

honeybeef8844's review

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2.0

I didn't really care for the Luke storyline which was a focus. It just wasn't that engaging to me. Also I was a bit frustrated to see yet another spiritual issue introduced with someone else in the family.

The melodrama in this series is really hard for me. Five kids all of whom either have a serious marital crisis involving considering divorce or separation, or got pregnant out of wedlock (or got girlfriend pregnant), or were unbelievers as adults, or some combination of the above. It's well past the point that it's plausible that this many things could go wrong despite Christian parents raising their kids right. I understand the desire to focus on different relational type issues in this series with Gary Smalley, but I think it would have been better not to concentrate it all in one family.
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