Book Review: Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury

Title: Angels Walking
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Howard Books (Simon & Schuster)
Series: Angels Walking, Book 1
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Karen Kingsbury has a real talent for crafting characters, situations, and scenes that tug at a reader’s heartstrings.  Her most recent book, Angels Walking, is first in a new series and does exactly that.

About the Book (from publisher, Howard Books):

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes the first in a brand-new series about second chances—a dramatic story about a washed up baseball player, the love he left behind, and the miracles that might save them both.

When former national baseball star Tyler Ames suffers a career-ending injury, all he can think about is putting his life back together the way it was before. He has lost everyone he loves on his way to the big leagues. Then just when things seem to be turning around, Tyler hits rock bottom. Across the country, Tyler’s one true love Sami Dawson has moved on. 

A series of small miracles leads Tyler to a maintenance job at a retirement home and a friendship with Virginia Hutcheson, an old woman with Alzheimer’s who strangely might have the answers he so desperately seeks.

A team of Angels Walking take on the mission to restore hope for Tyler, Sami, and Virginia. Can such small and seemingly insignificant actions of the unseen bring healing and redemption? And can the words of a stranger rekindle lost love? Every journey begins with a step.

It is time for the mission to begin…

My thoughts:

Tyler and Sami are each striving for perfection in some area of their lives. The weight of unmet expectations and sacrifices made in other areas of their lives has separated them and changed them each in detrimental ways since they first met and fell in love. This book explores restoring broken relationships, regaining faith, and discovering that God really can bring good things out of what may look like impossible situations.

I loved the way the romance played out. The gradual reconnection and uncertain hope made sense given the circumstances. And there were a few heartrendingly wonderful scenes that made me long for things to work out for Tyler and Sami. They really did seem perfectly suited for each other.

Another element I enjoyed was the complex intertwining of the various characters’ lives. It was neat to watch how seemingly insignificant interactions could add up to have a big impact in the long run.

I was a little less enthusiastic about the scenes from the angels’ perspectives. The angels felt a bit more human than I expected, with their doubts and uncertainties about the future. Plus, I felt like the premise of their mission had (maybe unintended?) theological implications that I didn’t necessarily agree with. The idea that there’s one specific child not yet born who will be a great teacher and that “The salvation of countless souls depends on this child” (from the Prologue) seemed a little off to me. I’m not an expert or a theologian by any means, but it’s my understanding that God can and does use anyone willing, to achieve His purposes, and empowers them to do what’s necessary. The idea that God’s plans can’t go forward if one particular person isn’t born? Not sure I’m buying it.  Then again, I may be reading more into this than was intended.

All nitpicking aside, I did thoroughly enjoy the story, and the idea that there’s more at stake than just the hearts and souls of Tyler and Sami themselves is an appealing one, so I’m not going to complain too loudly on this point.

I’m definitely curious to find out how this angelic team’s future missions will go and to learn more details about what they’re trying to achieve and why. The epilogue in particular piqued my curiosity about what comes next in the series. Sounds like the next book could turn out to be a really exciting one.

My favorite parts of this installment were the touching and emotionally stirring scenes included.  There were a few points where I found myself crying.  The storytelling made me really empathize with the characters, feeling their fears, regrets, and disappointments right along with them, which made me want to root for them all the more.

A big thank you to Howard Books for supplying an advance reader copy of Angels Walking through Netgalley for purposes of this review. I would gladly recommend this book to fans of Karen Kingsbury’s other books and to anyone who enjoys a good story centered around the themes of grace and reconciliation.

If you have a minute, and you’re not already rushing to go out and purchase the book (or even if you are), check out the book trailer for this one.  It’s very well made with a great sound track and images, and seems true to the book.

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