Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
John and Abby Reynolds have returned for the second book in the Timeless Love Series A Time to Embrace. Picking up where A Time to Dance, the first book in the series, left off, the couple confidently looks to the future together after surviving the threat of a crumbling marriage. The trials of life continue to test John and Abby as they face a life-threatening accident, family struggles, and questions of responsibility and punishment. Each crisis requires delicate choices to be made. As a high school football coach in a small town, these decisions are scrutinized in the public for their effects not only on the Reynolds’ family but on the town as a whole.
Kingsbury has created yet another novel with situations and characters too complex to give justice to within a simple synopsis.. I feel as though I know these characters personally—their pain becomes my own as I laugh with them, cry with their pain in struggles, and wonder how I would help them were they present in my own life. The theme of lasting effect of choices (both small and large) stayed with me long after turning the last page. A beautifully written story filled with sadness that shows how strong faith can make individuals.
A Time to Embrace possesses many of the hallmark characteristics that continually bring readers back to Karen Kingsbury’s work: realistic characters, detailed situations filled to the brim with emotional moments, and frequent reference to the power of Christ. While I enjoy reading Kingsbury’s novels, this novel made me realize the one aspect that leaves me dissatisfied: each novel misleads readers about prayer and the power of Christ. While praying is certainly important, rarely does every situation work out exactly as you prayed for it to. Sometimes people do not recover fully (or at all) from accidents, and sometimes mistakes cannot be undone. Does this mean the power of Christ is any less great because things didn’t work out as hoped? Absolutely not. Part of faith is believing that the Lord will work things out as He sees fit, not by simply giving you what you wish for. What you want may not be what He thinks you need.
Nevertheless, A Time to Embrace touches the heart in a wonderful way, and left me feeling refreshed at the strong impact faith can have on the lives of individuals and within communities.