Greetings! Lies that Comfort and Betray by Rosemary Simpson will be available on January 30. It is the second book in A Gilded Age Mystery series.
In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury is part of The Baxter Family series. Wendell Quinn is the principal of Hamilton High School and he is tired of what is happening in his school (drugs, violence, high teen pregnancy). Wendell is going to start a controversial after school program that could cost him his job. Wendell is a Christian and has decided to start a voluntary after-school Bible study and prayer group. After one year, Wendell has seen many changes to his school. Test scores are up, teen pregnancies and violence are down along with violence and drug use. The biggest change is in Cami Nelson. She is no longer angry, she believes in God and has discovered a love of writing. Wendell tells the parents about the program and Andy Nelson, Cami’s father, is not pleased. He contacts the local newspaper and files a lawsuit against Wendell. Wendell needs to make a choice. Stand up for what he believes in (what is best for his students) and fight the lawsuit or cave into pressure and disband the group. Wendell decides to fight and hires Luke Baxter to defend him. Can Wendell win the lawsuit, or will he lose everything?
In This Moment has some nice writing and a decent pace. I did not realize In This Moment was part of such a large series (twenty seven books in the series) until I opened the book. I had trouble reading the sections about Luke Baxter and his extended family. There are numerous family members and I was not aware of their various relationships and backstories (it was confusing). The Baxter family is not heavily featured in this book (fair warning to fans of the series). You can find the complete list of the books in the series here. I found Wendell Quinn courageous for standing up for what he believes in and trying to improve the lives of others. Wendell trusts that God will get him through any situation (which He can) and his vocal about his beliefs. The story, though, is expected. It follows a predictable path with an unoriginal ending. The religious aspect is dominant and comes across as preachy. You can tell where the author stands on the issues presented in the book. I hope that there are people like Wendell Quinn out in the world, but I have never meet a person like him (or any of the people in the book). The characters felt forced (contrived, fake) and many situations seemed unrealistic. I am giving In This Moment 3 out of 5 stars.
The Avid Reader