Weekend Writing: Reviewing Karen Kingsbury's "Remember"

"Sometimes memories are all we have--all that keeps us going." - Karen Kingsbury, "Remember" 

Many months ago, I reviewed Karen Kingsbury's Redemption, the first book in her famous "Redemption" series that begins the story of the beloved Baxter family. I commented on the family, the personal struggles facing Kari Baxter Jacobs, and the odd love triangle. I loved Redemption, so when I sat down to read Remember, the second book in the series, I hoped I would love it just as much.

The "Redemption" series (photo/Kalyn Brooks).

I was wrong. I didn't love it just as much; I loved it even more. Remember focuses on Ashley Baxter, the scapegoat of the Baxter family. After all, she ran off to Paris in her early 20s to study art and returned heartbroken and pregnant. Her unexpected pregnancy created a barrier between her and her family, especially her younger brother, Luke. 

But no one hated Ashley more than she hated herself. She was lost. She turned away from her faith and everything she grew up valuing. She knew God didn't love her; she was sure of it. 

Karen Kingsbury's "Remember"
(photo/Karen Kingsbury).
But, things changed when she began working at a nursing home for Alzheimer's Disease patients. Ashley was drawn to these individuals who needed her help with everything--from showering to fixing peppermint tea. Ashley studied the patients and figured it's okay to live in the past. 

Why can't Irvel still believe her husband is alive? Why can't Edith believe she's still a young beauty queen? Why can't these patients live in the past, if it will help them in the present? What's so terrible about that? 

Through her work, Ashley discovers she's opening her heart to the mere possibility of love. She loves these patients; she wants them to be happy. Ashley spent so many years turning her back on faith and love that she forgot what it was like to truly love someone. 

And this includes Landon Blake, the boy who has loved her for as long as they both can remember. She was the only woman for him, but Ashley knew she could never love him the way he needed. She could never be the woman he would want to marry.

But, it takes the horrific events of September 11th to change everything for the Baxter family. Landon, a firefighter, leaves town to go help clean up after the towers had collapsed, and to search for his friend, who he hopes is still alive. Luke's girlfriend, Reagan, lost her father, who worked in the North Tower. Everyone is affected somehow by the attacks...drawing most of the family closer together.

Karen Kingsbury (photo/Fantastic Fiction)
And through it all, Ashley learns to remember God's love. She learns to move on from what happened in Paris and to focus on what she has now: a loving family, her son, her nursing home patients, and Landon Blake.

I love how Karen Kingsbury intertwines so many elements into her novels. This book isn't just about the Alzheimer's patients remembering the past; it's also about the events on September 11th and how we must remember to love and reunite with your loved ones because you never know when it might be too late.

Kingsbury weaves many stories together in order for readers to fall in love with every member of the Baxter family. While this specific book focused on Ashley Baxter, we still learn more about every member of the Baxters, which I appreciate as a reader.

With this in mind, I would definitely recommend this book, and the entire "Redemption" series, to any reader. Remember does just that: it reminds us to remember what's important. It reminds us to remember to love and cherish the good memories--because we may not always have these memories, as the Alzheimer's patients remind us.

After all, Kingsbury wrote, "We must remember how to love, remember what's important, and remember God's truth as it applies to our relationships."

I'm going to continue reviewing the Baxter family series on this blog. It will take a while to get through the whole series, as she's still writing books for it, but it's a fun experience. Who can go wrong with books about faith and family? Keep them coming!

Read on.



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