Whenever Karen Kingsbury releases a new novel, I immediately put it at the top of my reading list. As always, she crafted a beautiful, heartfelt story about love and hope and the faith it takes to persevere through difficult seasons. View the post for my full thoughts.
Truly, Madly, Deeply takes place in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Kingsbury's famous fictional family the Baxters. I've been reading the Baxter family stories since high school, so I already felt quite familiar with most of the characters and their backstories. This made it easy to be hooked by the story from the first page. This story centers around Tommy Baxter, a senior in high school, and his girlfriend Annalee Miller.
Tommy and Annalee are deeply and madly in love and dreaming of life after graduating. Their futures seem to be bright and full of possibilities. But then Annalee receives devastating news about her health and begins the fight of her life. At the same time, Tommy tells his parents of his plan to join the police force, and his mother is furious. Not willing to let his mother's reaction to his decision deter him, tension grows within their home. Now Tommy must cling to his faith like never before while battling for a future for both himself and Annalee.
Kingsbury brought a controversial topic to the table in this book when Tommy Baxter chose to become a police officer. She handles the topic with grace and tact while also taking a bold stand in honor of the sacrifice and commitment police officers put on each day while wearing the uniform. Her book gives good insight to the full spectrum of the job of an officer.
On the other side of the story, she writes about sickness and disease and the toll it takes on a family. I think she did a lovely job of showing how faith in God provides the strength to fight and the peace to accept the outcome. But she also allowed Tommy to have doubts in God and bitterness toward the situation which added a touch of realness to his character.
Overall the book was beautifully written. My suggestion, however, would be to read some of the other Baxter family books first. This is just my opinion, but I think you would have a better appreciation for the Baxters' grounded faith and strong family ties in the midst of tragedy if you read more about their past. They didn't just randomly have this faith or always look like the perfect utopia of a family. And this book only gives a small glimpse into the previous events that brought them to this point. If you want to start at the very beginning of the Baxters' story, read Redemption (book one of the Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley).