Book Review: Waiting for Morning, by Karen Kingsbury

Hannah Ryan waits at home for her family, her husband and two teenaged daughters, to return from a camping trip. But what she wants isn’t want she gets. Instead, a police car pulls into her driveway, delivering to her the worst news a mother and wife could imagine. The aftermath of what has happened is simple: Hannah is full of rage and grief and makes it her missing to get revenge on Brian Wesley, the drunk driver who took her family from her. Somewhere along the way, she began to blame God, too, and now it’s up to two people to bring her peace and forgiveness and closeness to God again.

I haven’t read a lot of Kingsbury, aside from one novel I reviewed almost a year ago, and I really liked it. So I was excited to get to review Waiting for Morning, and although it had its imperfections, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the characters are, for the most part, very real. What I thought Kingsbury did exceptionally well was make me feel strong emotion for the journeys that Hannah and Jenny had to face. I felt such sorrow for their loses, and there were times were I felt outright anger — especially at Hannah, when she was dealing with Jenny’s struggles later in the novel. In that specific instance (and I don’t want to be more descriptive in what I’m talking about, because I don’t want it to spoil Jenny’s path!) between Hannah and Jenny, I was so mad at Jenny, but I also pitied her because I could only imagine how caught up in her own narrow field of grief she was.

What I thought was done well was the juxtaposition between grief and forgiveness. Hannah, and even Jenny, really had to struggle with these two concepts, and there are arguments that favor either — or both. But as readers, and the surviving Ryans, come to see, they can coexist, and there is power in allowing God to help you feel and live them both.

Certain elements of the plot were predictable, and I did have to suspend my disbelief at someone of the ways Jenny was able to get away with what she did (computer searches would be more monitored and counselors and teachers at school would not have been so terribly oblivious to what was going on with Jenny), but I was willing to disregard those things for what was otherwise a fulfilling read.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. I was not asked to provide a positive review, just an honest one.)

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