Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Every Side by Karen Kingsbury

This novel is one of Karen Kingsbury’s early books, but somehow I overlooked it as I was reading her works. The book is based on an actual incident involving a civil rights group that wanted a 10-foot-wall placed around a statue of Jesus in a public park in Wisconsin. The statue had stood in the park since 1959 when it was donated to the town. A private landowner bought the statue and some land around it, and the case was dismissed.

            Karen Kingsbury took these events and wove a compelling fictional story, one that kept me turning the pages faster and faster. My husband even read it in a short period of time, something he rarely does.

            The story centers around a fictitious town: Bethany, Pennsylvania; a young lawyer, Jordan Riley, who grew up in the town before his mother died and he was separated from his sister; and a young executive, Faith Evans, whose father was part of a Christian law firm in Bethany. Faith and Jordan were next-door neighbors when they were children but had lost track of each other. Jordan also lost contact with his sister, Heidi, when they were sent to separate foster homes after the death of their mother. Because of all that, Jordan has lost his faith, and he is the head lawyer for the case. He is bitter and stands against the Christian community to get the ruling to have the Jesus statue encased in a 10-foot brick wall.

            Backstory gives the particulars on these people as well as the events to bring the reader up to speed on the situation in the town and in the lives of the characters.

            There is a lot of dialogue between the lawyers, and a demonstration of the persecution of Christians when they take a stand for what is right. Faith is a Christian who is also evening anchor for the TV station in Bethany, and she faces some pretty hard things because of her stand for the right of the people to keep the statue in their town. Of course, there are sub-plots and interesting characterization, as there are in all the books by this author.

            I think you will be pleased if you read this book. It is a study in legal matters, a premise that makes the reader want to see victories for the Christian community, and a love story. Typical of books written by Ms. Kingsbury, this one will not disappoint.

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