Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Firstborn Series by Karen Kingsbury

I knew once I'd started this series that I would have to write all the books up together. Though set across 5 books, this is really one arching story. This series was also my introduction to Karen Kingsbury. She is a best-selling Christian author, and I am a Christian, but generally I don't like to read Christian fiction. A lot of it I find to be poorly written. I'd rather read a book well written, than a Christian book simply because it is a Christian book. That being said, I'm glad I picked this series up. Karen Kingsbury can write and write well. Her books are quick reads (for me) and I finished the series in less than a week. I also stuck to reading it because I was hooked on the storyline and characters.
I didn't realise going in that this is the second series of books based on the same family, the Baxters. That didn't end up mattering to the plot of this storyline as most of the back story was filled in as I went. I do intend to find the first series of Baxter family books the Redemption series, co-written with Gary Smalley. There is a third series of Baxter books called the Sunrise series, that I would like to read as well.
The reading order for this series is 'Fame', 'Forgiven', 'Found', 'Family' and 'Forever'. The series starts by looking at 2 characters, mega-movie star, Dayne Matthews and a small town theatre director, Katy Hart. Dayne has seen Katy in the previous series of books and can't get her out of his head. He believes that she would be the perfect co-star for his new movie. Katy had previously given up any big-time acting dreams and is quite content in her role as a theatre director. The idea of trying out for a Hollywood film does intregue her to at least try out for the part.
You may be wondering what this has to do the Baxter family. Katy lives in the same small town as the Baxters and is good friends with Ashley Baxter. Unknown to the Baxters, but known to Dayne Matthews, Dayne is the oldest Baxter child, given up for adoption before Elizabeth and John Baxter were married years ago. He knows that they are his biological family but has made the decision to keep quiet as to not disrupt their life with his life of fame. That's where the books start. Where they go from there is quite an enjoyable journey.

The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Francis Lee

Oh, what fun this book was to pick up. A little hidden gem on the library shelf. Being Canadian, I really had very little idea of what the Junior League is and how the upper crust of Texan society lived. They are things I'd heard about, but it's not part of the culture of my life, or places I'd been to.
At first, I couldn't help but hate the main character. She is such a snob. So many rules to follow to make her life perfect, but that's how she was raised and what she knows. Of course the a novel can't simply be built on observations of upper crust Texas, so you knew there would be some curve balls to create a plot.
The first curve ball is finding out her husband has had an affair with a lower class woman and is leaving her to continue in his new relationship. Divorce doesn't just happen in Frede's culture, particularily for someone so low class.
Her second curve ball is discovering her husband has secreted away all of her money. The only person who is able to help her is her newly rich neighbor Howard Grout. A self-made rough sort of man. He agrees to help her on one condition, that she find a way to get his wife into the Junior League.
I had a lot of fun reading this one and I hope you do too.