Another weeper from Christian-fiction diva Kingsbury, this time featuring a prayerful NBA star and his long-lost first love.
Kingsbury appears to concede that a slavish adherence to the sterner side of Christianity can subvert that religion’s founding principles, as happens when Alan Tucker, a Marine drill instructor, casts off his wife, Caroline, after discovering she is pregnant with a lover’s child. Righteous though it may be, his implacable anger has ruinous long-term consequences. He immediately moves from Savannah to Camp Pendleton, San Diego, ostensibly to save teenage daughter Ellie from the shame of growing up near her disgraced mother and her illegitimate half sibling. (Abortion, of course, is never brought up, nor is the question of contraception.) Ellie is devastated: She’ll leave behind Nolan, her closest childhood friend, a promising basketball player whose moves are described with a sportswriter’s skill. The teenagers, both 15, are chastely awakening to love, and before Ellie departs, they bury letters confessing their true feelings under a favorite tree. They make a pact to return on June 1st, 11 years hence, to dig up the box and read the letters. Cut to the present. Caroline is raising her son, John, and writing weekly letters to Ellie, which go unanswered. Long estranged from Alan, Ellie has forsworn college, has an illegitimate child of her own, daughter Kinzie, and works as a beautician. Nolan, a superstar with the Atlanta Hawks, is far out of her league: There are paparazzi-perpetrated rumors of girlfriends galore. When Alan shows up to beg forgiveness for a shocking transgression, it’s only Kinzie’s faith that causes Ellie to relent. But as June 1st approaches, can she undo 11 years of miscommunication and bad luck? Since deus ex machina is Kingsbury’s go-to plot device, nothing, particularly redemption, is left to chance. Unfortunately, putting everything in the Almighty’s hands leaves mere mortals with little to do, which makes for tedious reading.
Will appeal mainly to Kingsbury devotees, as well as lovers of religious tracts…and basketball.