This Side of Heaven

by Karen Kingsbury

Paperback, 2009



Call number



Center Street (2009), Edition: 1st, 352 pages


Fiction. Christian Fiction. HTML:After tragedy strikes the Warren family, all of their secrets start to unravel and it takes a mother's love and faith to help heal everyone. Annie Warren always wanted the best for her son, Josh. But years of failure and bad choices created a heartbreaking distance that has grown far worse since the day Josh was hit by a drunk driver. Now on medical disability, Josh has put his life on hold for years, waiting for the insurance company to send a settlement that never seems to come. Worse, he believes the story of a scheming woman who claims they have a seven-year-old daughter named Savannah . Despite the unlikelihood and complete lack of evidence, Josh dreams of being a father and is determined to one day claim the child. His family doesn't know the full story. They don't know what happened the night of the accident that was worth the chronic pain Josh suffers every waking minute, or that he is turning his life around. They haven't seen that Savannah 's eyes are his, and they don't know how desperately the little girl needs her family. When the settlement that rightly belongs to Josh is threatened, Annie sets out to defend her son. But she might find a treasure more valuable than money, one she never expected, one that is the greatest gift her son could ever give her´┐Ż??THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member calexis
I loved the cover of this book when I first saw it. The little girl is just so cute and adorable. It made me want to know who she is in the book and well, it was a good book.
This was a beautiful novel about family and belief. That sometimes we are too critical with our own family and fail to
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realize that amazing things they do. It is about the faith and belief that everything will be okay if we learn to pick ourselves up. It is about what can happen in an accident and a court case with an insurance company. How sometimes the system fails to help those who need it. But also how that system eventually pulls through if we wait for it. Ultimately, it's about a young father who loves his daughter so much that he's willing to live - in excruciating pain - for her and to give all that he has to her. It's about a daughter who's never met her father but believes that he'll one day save her from her life.
I usually have a problem with books that sprout out Bible verses every so often, but in this book, it didn't bother me at all. If anything, it only made me believe in the characters more. I wanted to encourage Josh. I wanted to slap Annie into realizing what a great guy her son was before he died. I wanted to comfort Lindsay for losing her brother and best friend. I wanted to save Savannah when she was threatened, abused and scared. I thought it was a beautiful idea that this life we're in now is "this side of heaven."
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LibraryThing member smilingsally
Characters are important in a novel. They must be credible. I was pleased to see Carl Joseph and Daisy Gunner, a Down Syndrome couple, living next door to the protagonist, Josh Warren. I remember them from earlier books in the Cody Gunner Series. Karen Kingsbury is at her best when writing
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characters--particularly children. The children in her books think and speak in an authentic manner. For instance, a cotton ball at the doctor's office is thought of as "a wet little ball of white fur." In this novel a little girl, Savannah is introduced. She seems believable, and I can't help but wonder if I'll meet her again in a future work.

The description of chronic pain is well written.

I found the plot credible; the author's notes at the end surprised me. I can't tell you more than this without ruining the story. Running through this Christian Fiction book is the theme of loving in an unconditional style, rather than in a judgmental manner. Too often, we let a moment to love pass, and it's gone forever. I connected to the deep desire of one character's wish for ten minutes more of life in order to be able to hug a departed loved one.

There are discussion questions at the end of the novel, which makes for a good talk at any book club meeting. Her sentence fragments drive me nuts, but Karen Kingsbury fans will love this one!
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LibraryThing member KellyBlackwell
This book is absolutely beyond stunning. Where to begin? This was my introduction to Karen Kingsbury though I have heard so much about for what seems like forever. I knew that this was going to be good. I just had no idea how I would be as touched as I was.

My heart ached for Josh. I wanted so much
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for that young man to have an easement of his pain of body and heart. However, it was incredible to read how as he focused on others, his own pain lifted greatly. His love strengthened him. Watching the trials of Savannah also was a burden on my soul. I knew I was reading a book, but I became more an more aware that this may be a "story" but there are many young children out there that are living a life quite similar to young Savannah's if not worse. I do not want to give away any of this story. It had ups and downs and some moments that I expected. I would like to share what impact it left on me.

I realized while reading this story that we need to learn to really listen, really love, and really care for those around us. We need to BE good neighbors, parents, brothers and sisters. Learning involves concern, caring and listening. So often we are so consumed with our lives and our hopes that we miss the opportunity to share in other's hopes and lives. As a parent, I have realized how important it is to support and love my child during every moment.

Karen also shows many characters praying for each other. It was wonderful to see this active relationship with Christ. I have read books that are kind of "preachy" but really lacked in relationship. This Side of Heaven showed the relationship between a believer and Jesus Christ, and how He is there. Sometimes life does not unfold in the way we wish, but that doesn't mean it is not working according to His plan and that it isn't a life that is fulfilling. Let go of expectations and really let God is another of the many messages I got from this book.

And the characters in general were fully flesh. By the end of the first paragraph, I became strongly aware of how real they were. They became more real to me as I read and honestly, I cared about them all and I hoped for them all. I especially enjoyed JC and Daisy. They were kindness and goodness personified. I'm telling you this was like reading a dream. Everything I read, I could see. Simply awesome. :)

Lastly, I also want to add that the song "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe made me cry. I do not think that Karen could have picked a better song. This is a song that we play quite often at our station, and I know it has touched many personally. I have heard the testimonies of how the lyrics spoke to them. It touches me each and every time. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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LibraryThing member jehovahrapha
It made me laugh, it made me cry. This one is definitely my second favorite of all Karen's books. I loved how Carl Joseph and Daisy were a part of the story. And Savannah was so sweet! I could almost see this book, like watching a movie!
LibraryThing member
I don't know where to begin. I don't think there's a more unrealistic book out there. Everyone is so 'Christian' and boring. By the end of the book, everything turns out fine, everyone's happy and God has solved all the problems and conflicts that seems so impossibly hard to face at the beginning.
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I have nothing against Christian fiction, but I'm not keen on letting my children read this fluff and believe the world is nothing but a pink cloud and everything always turns out as hoped/planned/expected. It's just not the reality.
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LibraryThing member karen.collins
Good story, a little slow, but enjoyable. I would't say predictable, but no huge surprises either. I think this was refreshing, a palette cleanser perhaps. It was quick - I think I finished it in 3 days, and I was always interested to pick it up again and see what happened next. Have fun with it!
LibraryThing member olegalCA
Every time I finish a Kingsbury novel, I swear to myself that it's the last time I will. She is just so... fluffy, for lack of a better word. I got hopeful with this one when there was an unexpected plot twist but at the end, everyone is happy and a Christian and there is no fall-out from abuse or
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sin. It makes my teeth ache like cotton candy - you see it all pretty on the cart but two mouthfuls and you are sick to your stomach.

This is it - I promise... and yet she is one of the few Christian authors that my small town library actually stocks so I will probably waver in the future when I'm desperate. Is there a self-help group for being addicted to bad books?
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LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
I was surprised to see this book listed as a series featuring Cody Gunner because Cody is only a minor character in this book. The book is mostly about the Warren family. (Cody was a friend of Josh Warren.)

Josh Warren was injured while saving two girls from a drunk driver. He's trying to get a
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settlement to put his life back together--get back surgery, buy a business, contact his one-time girlfriend Becky, find his daughter Savannah. Unfortunately, Josh passes away in his sleep before any of this happens.

In the course of cleaning up his apartment, Josh's family finds out quite a bit about him that they didn't already know as well as meeting some of Josh's friends. Josh's lawyer finds Savannah, and they get to meet her.

We all need to make more of an effort to know people on this side of heaven.
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Physical description

8 inches



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