Bailey Flannigan and fairy tales

I have not posted a book review and some of you may not like this one.  If you are a Kingsbury fan, well, you won’t like what I have to say!  This is such sappy stuff, it can’t qualify as a fairy tale.  It doesn’t have a wicked stepmother.  When the Bible tells us to guard our eyes, it includes what we read as well as what we see.  Here goes:

Weary of the soap opera fiction of the Bailey Flannigan series, I put down book three and went to to read a few reviews to see if I stood alone.  To my utter amazement, I found many “kool-aid” drinkers, but also found some real thinkers in the reviews. The thinkers rated the works one star, at most two stars.

When I worked in a Christian bookstore, Kingsbury books were in a category called, “never-out-of-stock” and one of my jobs was to track the inventory.  Since I don’t care for contemporary fiction, I never read any of the famed Baxter family books.  History and fiction mix well under the pens of some select authors.  Western fiction is good, particularly under the pen of Stephen Bly.  I’d rather learn than be entertained, but a good Gilbert Morris “House of Winslow” book is a fine mixture.

Since I found myself with a Kindle™ after Christmas, I also found this wonderful site on Facebook called, Inspired Reads.  And I fell for it.  They put all three Bailey Flannigan series books out for 2.99 each.  That was in March.  I didn’t start reading them until recently.  I thought that Leaving was a bit sappy and a big overdose of Christian content.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord, I love Him so much, I don’t want folks to fall into the same trap as I did.  Bailey Flannigan and her wonderful family are so fictitious as to make one ill.  Yes, they have struggles and sin issues, but Karen Kingsbury has an answer for everything. She tucks in Bible verses for everything.  We do need to saturate our minds with the Word of God, but really, in a book of fiction?  Somehow it takes the power of the Word of God into a world of make believe.  It is an awkward fit.

Of course, I don’t like to spend money on something I don’t use, so I trudged through Learning.  Again, it was sappy, but maybe not as sappy as the first book.  I really liked Cody Coleman and since I like sports, I just had to see how he handled that football season.  Of course, that went way out of hand too.  How could one town and one team have so many sappy scenarios?  Life just does not happen that way.  But I told myself, “Get a grip, it is just entertainment.”  So I trudged on.

My journey through Longing cane to a screeching halt tonight in chapter 11.  All of the drama and tears, and ragged edges of souls and hearts, and oxygen being sucked out a room had to stop!  I can’t take any more.  Such drama over having a baby!  It happens.  We don’t need tears along a secluded beach and endless kissing of every type.  No Loving  for me.  I can’t even finish book three.  So, I cheated.  I went to and found some reviews for book four.  Aach!  The series has a disappointing ending.

I read and enjoyed the 9/11 series.  Maybe it is the love of history that kept me reading all three books.  The stand alone books are okay.  But not the Baxter family books.  If I want soap opera stuff, it is free.  To put it into fiction under a guise of Christian romance—not so much.

Stay with the biographies but always, read the Bible first.  There’s some REAL life changing stuff there and it isn’t fiction.




  1. Glenda

    Well, I am one of the few folks who have never read a Karen Kingsbury book. I have several friends who think anything she writes is automatically great, but I just have not ever had the desire to spend my money on Christian fiction. Now that I’ve read your thoughts, I’m happy that I stick with the Bible and a few other non-fiction spiritual writings. Thank you for your courageous honesty! It’s hard to buck a trend, but you have stepped out and given an honest review. 🙂

    • I do read fiction but balance my reading with non fiction. Biography is good too. I am STILL listening to “Decision Points” by GW Bush in audio. It is 20 hours of listening, 16 discs and I am on disc 11 so should get it finished soon. I usually don’t read as much in the summer. It has been so dry here that I have not been outside much. Grass isn’t growing, not even the weeds!
      This morning a weblog called, Inspired Reads, offered a historical fiction of old west by a author I trust: Lori Copeland. The books are usually ten bucks or more, but today, 2.99 for just one of hers in a series. Her series do not go on and on and on from book to book with details. They can easily be read as a stand alone. Guess what? I grabbed it. Good by to moosh, goosh, and preachiness and Karen Kingsbury’s soap opera Baxter family.

      • Agreed, Karyl. Her series has become just another set formula stories. I think the earlier books were better, but I grew tired of the constant agonizing in relationships. “He loves me, he loves me not” is tedious. Thanks for being brave enough to go against the mainstream, a Christianity where all kinds of worldly behaviors are accepted and encouraged.

  2. Roe

    I must disagree. I have thoroughly enjoyed Karen Kingsbiry’s books thus far. I am convinced that the author is striving to use her talents for the glory of God. She is showing us the need to take Christ into the very darkest places of our country where His light can shine the brightest. How many Christians would take such a chance. She is dealing with issues that will meet people where they are. I would much rather read a.story which infuses Scripture into the story than read something that is considered.a.clean read.but teaches.nothing. Is that any different than using a fictional story in Children’s Church to help teach a.biblical lesson to the.students? As far as the “sappy ” goes. I husband is sappy bpecause I could see him doing some of the same.romantic things as some of the characters in her books. One of my favorote dates was when we stayed home and danced in front of an old eighteen wheeler trailer in our back yard to music that my husband had put together on a Cd just for us. I can not see anything wrong with enjoying a book which could inspires a person to see the need for.Christ in our dark world and which could gives them the courage to believe that they could have an impact for Jesus in their community.

    • Oh, I think her intentions are good. I am just through with her style of writing. I read the ratings on for these four books and found her approval about 2-1. Still, in my humble opinion, her style is by now at a stalemate. The Baxter family, I hope is done with this last book, “Coming Home.” At least, I am through, and I am not alone. But, thanks for your opinion. I understand where you are coming from on this. Perhaps someday I will post a list of recommended authors that write with substance beyond ooey,gooey, moosh.

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