Title: A Baxter Family Christmas
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Christmas Romance
Published: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Howard Books
My Rating: 4 stars
Two sorrowful years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, along with her husband and three of their four daughters. But this year John has invited a stranger for dinner – Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.
In light of her father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy – the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.
At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.
Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find meaning in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes this invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill hope and happiness back into her life.
Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and hope, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of a tragedy and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.
Read on for my thoughts on A Baxter Family Christmas. No true spoilers, promise.
I will be upfront in saying that I have not read the previous stories concerning the Baxter family. Yet, having said that I do not feel that anyone who picks up their story from this point would be so lost that they cannot enjoy A Baxter Family Christmas for the story it tells. There are enough references within the story to be able to identify who is who among the family. And maybe it was coming into this family without any background knowledge that gave me a slightly different slant on the story.
I saw a family that had been dealt such an emotional and spiritual blow that not all families would recover from. Still, they faced a new reality with grace, and such a strong faith. That doesn’t mean there were no questions, but I’ve never seen it as wrong to ask why. I might not like the answer but I’ve never felt that God would turn His back on me when I asked Him… why things are the way they are. It’s not a sign of a lack of faith but a deep need to understand that is only human.
I found myself wondering as I read this story if, should something like this ever happen in my family, I would want or need to meet the recipient of a loved one’s organ. The honest answer is I don’t know. The bravery of Kendra amazed me. Just think of how you would feel walking into a family gathering knowing you held someone’s that they all loved heart beating in your own chest. That takes a special kind of courage.
I enjoyed A Baxter Family Christmas very much. And I’ll have to go back and start at the very beginning of the stories of this amazing family. This is a story that will touch your heart. I don’t feel that it matters what faith you follow, this event is something that could happen to anyone at any time. See how one family deals with loss and the continuation of life.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this novel. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this story.*
Available in several formats and for the Kindle