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Silence came over the stadium while trainers and coaches and medical personnel rushed to his side. He was driven off in an ambulance, and when the announcers revealed which hospital he was taken to, Kari and her father packed their bags and set out for Chicago.
Ryan was in surgery for a fractured vertebra in his spine and there was only the slightest chance he would walk again. Kari remembered falling to her knees right there in the waiting room, begging God to heal the boy she loved.
But even if Ryan were paralyzed, she had been sure she would never leave him. She would drop out of school and help him rehab. And whatever remained of Ryan Taylor, she would stay by him till the day she died. That was her plan. Even when nothing was certain about the next few hours. But in the morning everything changed.
How dare the woman welcome them after their long drive and not tell Kari the awful truth? Ryan was seeing someone else. One of the girls from those parties, no doubt. And that was that. Without waiting to see Ryan, Kari and her dad left the hospital and drove home. From what his mother said, Ryan was still rehabbing, even now, years later. But he could walk and run.
A week after his injury, Ryan called. But Kari refused to talk to him, and so Ryan tried harder. Several calls a week in the beginning. A few times he even sent letters to her. Her mother thought she was being coldhearted. Kari glanced at her wedding dress again. She could still see Ryan sprawled out, motionless on the field.
Playing football had been his life. Lying there on that cold Chicago grass, he had to have known that his playing days were over. But since then Kari had often wondered who suffered more that day. Ryan had moved on, obviously. He was healthy, coaching in the NFL now, home for the summer. So maybe Kari had been the one truly paralyzed that day.
Not her legs or her spine. Her heart. When Tim had asked her about Ryan that night at dinner, Kari had told him everything. How she had loved Ryan since she was in seventh grade, and how they had fallen in love his second year of college, after the sudden death of his father. And how his mom still lived three doors down.
Kari even told Tim about that terrible morning at that Chicago hospital. When she found out Ryan was seeing someone else. She had wondered if maybe she was falling for the professor. I just found out. How dare Ryan come by her graduation party as if nothing had happened?
An idea hit her. Tim was already at the party. She pulled him aside and asked him the craziest question. When Ryan comes by? She narrowed her eyes. I want him to leave me alone. Then he stepped up to her, put his hands alongside her face and kissed her. A kiss that took her breath and made her jump back—not sure whether to laugh or yell at him.
He made polite small talk and after a brief stay, he left. Only Tim never let go of her hand. Sometime later, he admitted that his acting that night had been nothing of the sort. Like always. She was leaving soon for a six-month catalog-modeling job in New York City. But Tim had an answer for that. By the sound of his voice every time he called her during her months in New York. Once he even flew to Manhattan so they could spend a day together. They strolled through Central Park, and he impressed her with facts and bits of information about the city.
When a thunderstorm hit, they ran for a cab and spent the rest of the day at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Tim Jacobs had her head spinning, for sure. But she knew one thing.
And unlike Ryan Taylor, he would never cheat on her. Not in a million years. He loved her too much. And that became more appealing to Kari with every passing day.
After her time in New York she returned to Bloomington to model for a local boutique. Tim called the day she got home and they picked up where they left off. By then Tim had gone from student teacher at Indiana University to full-fledged professor. The more time they spent together, the more she felt herself falling for him. He knew obscure details of every world war and political time period. Like a walking textbook, his knowledge seemed boundless. She could listen to him for hours without getting bored.
He talked about ancient philosophers and theology and his dreams of writing a novel someday. His faith was a priority through it all, and after spending time with her family, Tim stopped attending services at the campus chapel, and began going to church with her every Sunday. Every day I fall for you a little more. Tim talked about marriage and raising a family and sharing forever together.
Most of the time Kari felt the same way. One Saturday evening Kari sat down with her parents. Instead her tone was more matter-of-fact than awestruck. Her mom had looked at her for a long while. She exhaled and glanced at her dad. That look that always made her know everything was going to be all right. Her dad leaned closer. Kari was seated next to her mother.
And he loves me. But the whole time she had felt like she was convincing herself. Before she turned in that night, her parents each hugged her. Dad gently brushed her bangs off her forehead. Why she should pull away from a guy who treated her so well.
When he proposed to her over a candlelit dinner, her yes was out before he finished his question. That had to mean something. Since then she had worked hard to keep from thinking about Ryan, about how this season in her life was supposed to be about him and her. He would make a wonderful husband.
But it was one reason she had just the slightest doubt about moving forward. One she tried to squash every time it reared its head.
Tim was wonderful. Theirs would be a storybook life. And later today, Tim would be her husband. Kari sat up in bed again and smiled. Life would play out with love and beauty, with Tim caring for her and protecting her the rest of her life. Theirs would be a story marked by deep talks, and hours of laughter, and most of all a long happily ever after. She felt her heart gradually relax. Today would be perfect, whatever the storm held. With Tim she would never have to worry about where he was or who he was with.
There would be no girlfriend on the side. And always, at the end of the day he would come home to her. Only her. For the rest of time. Brief content visible, double tap to read full content. Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.
Help others learn more about this product by uploading a video! About the author Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations. Read more Read less. Customer reviews. How customer reviews and ratings work Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.
Learn more how customers reviews work on Amazon. Images in this review. Reviews with images. See all customer images. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. My husband teasingly calls Karen Kingsbury 's Baxter books my drugs.
I get hooked and can't put them down. This has been the case since I discovered Redemption at our small-town South Dakota library several years ago. I would check books out, or, I would go in on a Saturday and read all day, rather than checking them out at all. I feel like I know the Baxters personally. I love the intriguing stories intertwined with a Christian worldview message. This book as well as the rest of the Baxter books rests on flashbacks, rather than action happening in the present.
Characters are constantly reliving these emotional moments in their past. In this book, both Kari and Ashley obsess over lost love, and these intense memories they shared. Spoiler alert, both of them will eventually end up with their lost loves in future books after Kari's husband Tim dies and Ashley comes to terms with her past and faith.
This happens in the Redemption series. While Kari ending up with Ryan and Ashley ending up with Landon is inspiring, that can be a dangerous message. Sometimes, people are in our past and not our present for a reason. I had a few "lost love" stories during my teen and young adult years. I could very easily romanticize and dramatize them, and idolize them to the point that they would rob the joy of my life today, with my wonderful husband.
I had to move on with my life, just as the Apostle Paul says in Philippians "forgetting the things which are behind and reaching toward what is ahead". These books make it very easy to think clinging to the past is better than moving on. Not to say God can't bring people back together, but it isn't what we should bank on.
We need to be in tune with what God is doing in our lives to see what we need to do in these cases. This book is supposedly the new "Book One" about the Baxters--their "origin story" if you will unless you count the Baxter children's books. However, I found a lot of continuity problems between this book and the original Redemption series.
This book has Ashley admitting she loves Landon, and even says they dated quite seriously as teens. In the Redemption series, it says Ashley had always seen Landon as a platonic friend, while he carried a torch for her. She probably loved him deep inside, but she didn't even acknowledge it until he almost died in a fire.
I think a reader who started with this book would be confused later on by the differences between Landon and Ashley's relationship. Another continuity problem is the way John and Elisabeth Baxter refer to their firstborn, the child they conceived out of wedlock and gave up for adoption. If this is book is supposed to be a prequel, someone reading it before the others would already know about Dayne Matthews, while someone starting with Redemption would be totally surprised by learning about him in book 5.
I found it confusing that John and Elisabeth talk so freely about their firstborn, as if it's something they talk freely about and are totally resolved about it, when their five kids don't even know about it.
You'd think if they were that open about it, the whole family would know. Jumping from this book into the series would seem like jumping backwards to me. Another point, though, is that this book sets the stage for Tim and Kari's later marital problems in Redemption.
It was clear Kari never should have married him. That's a problem. This is another continuity problem. In Redemption, it says that Tim had been able to help Kari forget Ryan. Kari really had moved forward. But this book has Kari still struggling on her wedding day. There were a also lot of red flags between Kari and Tim in this book, especially that Kari didn't have confirmation if God's leading her to marry him.
And, again, I was disgusted with Kari's earlier refusal to hear Ryan out. Their breakup had been so pointless! Kari's unwillingness to hear his side of the story cost both of them so much, and yet, in true Karen Kingsbury fashion, they end up happily married, after Tim is conveniently murdered.
It all happens within the characters living biblically, and yet it is still dangerously unrealistic. What message does that give?
One more issue I have is that, like the rest, this book centers on Ashley and Kari. The beautiful ones. What about Erin? I'd love to read her love story with Sam. She gets so shorted in these books. The only two books in the entire Baxter mega-series that center on Erin are Reunion book 5 in the Redemption series--and even that book alternates between her story and other ensuing drama , and Coming Home, in which spoiler alert , Erin, her husband, and most of their kids are killed by a drunk driver.
Erin is dispensable. Karen Kingsbury favors Ashley and Kari. Luke and Brook have a little better fate in the series than poor Erin, but they are guest stars at best. I enjoyed this book, as I do all Baxter books, but I have these issues with it: intensity of looking back rather than forward; lack of continuity with other books; marriage with so many red flags, including still being in love with another; a preoccupation with Kari and Ashley. I'll close by saying I love stories where Elisabeth is still alive, and I love John and Elisabeth's relationship.
I always feel like Karen Kingsbury captures your attention from the first page! This was my first time reading a Karen Kingsbury book and I am hooked!! I finished this great prequel of the Baxter family and now onto to her next series of them!! Great Read!! Highly recommend!! Karen Kingsbury books are the best!! Never a disappointment!! Within the pages of this book you find that the Baxters are a family that disagrees, hold secrets and even some that lose their faith, but they are a family that loves no matter the situation.
Kari is ready to marry Tim Jacobs, the man she loves. But, is he the one? From childhood and till recently the love of her life has always been Ryan Taylor. So much doubt and reminiscing of their past and then a surprise visit from Ryan has her wondering if she should go through with the wedding. Will she? Luke basically despises her existence. Ashley is angry with God. Can the only person, Landon Blake, the love of her life, help her see her worth?
Help her find her way back to him, but more importantly to God? A family that gathers around the dinner table and are there for each other. Or will the arguing, doubts and the questioning of their faith tear the family further a part? Karen Kingsbury once again has delivered a beautifully written story.
I highly recommend this book. I always say open your heart and your mind, there is always a message within the pages of a Karen Kingsbury book. I loved the book and I am reminded that God's love for us is never ending. It is an everlasting love, and I am so thankful. This book was ok, but I have enjoyed some of her other books more than this one.
See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. Fabulous series. Report abuse. Brilliant story with a return to the style of the original Baxter stories. I read the redemptions series and rest of the Baxter series over 15 years ago when I was teenager. I decided right after reading the prequel I would jump into redemption and start it all again. Errors like Kari recalling her Mexican honeymoon in redemption in Ps. And how they made it seems like nobody knew anything about Paris in redemption but in the prequel there is a scene where Ashley come homes and says she tells them the whole truth no details spared and towards the end we are given hope that Ashley is coming back to her faith but the Ashley were introduced to at the beginning of redemption is very much as stubborn and unopen to faith like she was at the beginning of the prequel and so on.
I read both books back to back that is the only reason why I caught those things. And if they are toting the prequel has the new book 1, in all honesty they should have been more thorough to make sure things added up, especially for those who are new to the Baxter universe and will most likely read the prequel first now.
I still love Karen but I feel her team dropped the ball on that. A must read for every Karen Kingsbury fan. One person found this helpful. As promised in the foreword, every character's backstory is delivered - in detail. I was surprised by the strong influence and references to faith. I was hoping to find a series about generations of a family through the years.
And while this is such, I won't move on to the other books. Not my cuppa. Someday Karen Kingsbury. Sunset Karen Kingsbury. Take One Karen Kingsbury. Take Two Karen Kingsbury. Take Three Karen Kingsbury. Take Four Karen Kingsbury. Leaving Karen Kingsbury.
Learning Karen Kingsbury. Longing Karen Kingsbury. Loving Karen Kingsbury. Coming Home Karen Kingsbury. Love Story Karen Kingsbury. To the Moon and Back Karen Kingsbury. Two Weeks Karen Kingsbury.
Someone Like You Karen Kingsbury. Truly, Madly, Deeply Karen Kingsbury. ThriftBooks sells millions of used books at the lowest everyday prices. We personally assess every book's quality and offer rare, out-of-print treasures. Read more. Spend less. Follow Us Link to Facebook.
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