by Karen Kinsgbury
Simon & Schuster, London, 2017
Age group: late teens – adult
Format: 256 page softcover
The different twist of this Christmas book caught my attention – I thought it would be interesting and perhaps thought provoking to see how the Baxter family copes with family patriarch John inviting a woman who received his daughter’s heart to the family Christmas Eve gathering.
A close knit family are preparing for a huge family Christmas, but are confronted with a guest who brings old memories and pains to light. Add in a girl racked with guilt over her sister’s accident, and there is a drama of family and personal relationships to be explored.
My review of A Baxter family Christmas
Interestingly, this is actually the 24th book about the Baxter family! The book starts with a few pages filling you on the background of various family members, including lists of children and their ages (I found this list very handy a number of times!) This is done so you can read this book as it is without having touched any of the previous books. It helps to have that information in mind before reading the book as the author didn’t have to distract with explanations within the story. If, however, you have read some Baxter stories before and don’t like spoilers, I strongly suggest you continue reading the books in order before reading this book as I suspect there are some shockers.
I liked that the introduction to the book gives a very clear summary of the main characters- I referred back to it a few times for relationships and ages! The Baxter family is quite a clan, with John, his children and then their children all having a part in the story. I found myself drawn into their family as I read this book. And I wanted to know more about the heart donor – the sister/mother/daughter killed in a car accident some time before this book is set.
There were a couple of details that seemed unrealistic and detracted form the story – for instance, an hour long drive seemed to happen in about 20 minutes during a snow storm!
Kingsbury is obviously a Christian and enjoys her faith. Her main characters show their religious beliefs through frequent mentions of prayers, God’s plan, miracles, loving Jesus, and wanting others to experience the love and peace they find in their faith. I am not used to such open religion references in novels, especially with talk of wanting a sign of faith fro
m God during a first date! I know some people will appreciate that feature of this book, while others will roll their eyes and lose interest. I will just say that their faith is clearly there but doesn’t feel preachy to me as the reader so don’t give up on the book just for this factor.
Would I recommend A Baxter family Christmas? Not a simple answer for this one… If you dislike religious books and prefer adventurous books, then this is not a book for you! However, if you like a warm story about people who care (for each other and the world) enjoying Christmas, then yes I do recommend this book. It is nicely written, has a satisfying ending and leaves you feeling good.