I haven’t written any book recommendations lately because I’ve been so caught up in a series. I’ve been asking friends for their help on finding a really good series for me because after I read a book, I always want more but unfortunately, most series out today are not emotionally fulfilling and I’m left feeling rather bored around books 2-3. As I wrote last week, I’ve been having some sort of an identity crisis, basically just trying to figure out what I want to do and how I to spend my time. It is rare that I find a book, especially a series, that speaks to me in answering the questions that I am seeking.
I know Karen Kingsbury has been around for quite a while and I am super sad to admit that I have never read one of her books- until I picked up “Leaving”, the first book in the Bailey Flannigan series. For those of you who have never heard of Karen Kingsbury, she always writes in series and the characters carry over from series to series. She focuses on one family- the Baxter family- and it happens that I picked up the perfect book to start on because it is focused on the Baxter family’s neighbors – the Flannigans. Bailey is a 22 year old girl just out of college who has a dream to be on Broadway but doesn’t know how she can make it there. The series has 4 books- “Leaving”, “Learning”, “Longing”, and “Loving”.
1. “Leaving” is about Bailey’s decision to leave her family and love of her life, Cody Coleman, who broke up with her previously, in Indiana and move to New York in order to pursue a career on Broadway.
2. “Learning” is told through Cody’s perspective and his reasons for leaving Bailey, his past experience as being a prisoner of war in Iraq, his new job as a high school football coach for a 5 year losing football team (think Remember the Titans) and his new interest in his best-friend’s fiancé (the best friend died while fighting in Iraq). Bailey is pursued by a famous actor- Brandon Paul.
3. “Longing” is told in Brandon’s perspective about his love for Bailey, Bailey’s decisions between Cody and Brandon, and her journey to find what she is meant to do.
4. “Loving” is when the series culminates. I can’t ruin it for you so I’m not going to say anything…
All in all, it is one of my favorite series that I have ever read… ever. That’s pretty impressive. It has made a huge impact on me and given me the perspective that there is hope in the days ahead. There is a journey that each of us has to make… we just don’t know what the finish line is. We are to trust that we are on the path that was designed for us to take. Warning: it is a faith-based series and God plays a strong role in the books so anyone that is not up for lots of prayer in order to figure out where the characters should go in their journeys, then this book is not for you. However, for anyone that believes in prayer or can get over their disbelief of prayer for the sake of the series, then I strongly recommend the Bailey Flannigan series because it provides solace during a time of trials, it gives hope when hope is needed the most, everyone ends up happy at the end so you don’t have to worry that you like everyone and someone is going to have some terrible, torturous death or sad ending. Plus, it has a beautiful love story written in… and who doesn’t want that?
P.S. I definitely want to read some of her other series. If anyone has read anything of hers, will you please post a comment telling me which one to start on next? Thank you!