"This Side of Heaven" by Karen Kingsbury
Published by Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group
Rating: 4 stars
"This Side of Heaven" is about Josh Warren, an underachiever who is seen as a disappointment in his family's eyes. After being hit by a drunk driver, Josh spends his days in pain, living on medical disability and awaiting a settlement from the insurance company. Little does his family know, Josh was hit by the car because he pulled two teenage girls out of harm's way and saved their lives. Although there is no proof, Josh is also convinced that he is the father of a little girl named Savannah, whose mother has kept her away from him until he is able to provide large sums of money. Josh, however, is determined to be a part of this girl's life, even though his family doesn't believe he is really the girl's father. It takes a tragedy to show Josh's family the special person that he is and to realize how much Savannah means to Josh.
Karen Kingsbury is a talented writer and is particularly excellent at tugging at reader's heartstrings. Although the plot itself follows a predictable path, the story is a worthwhile one to read and to gain insight from.I felt moved by the story and deeply connected to the characters' struggles. My favorite character is definitely adorable Savannah, who despite difficult living circumstances and the terrible way her mother treats her, keeps her faith. My favorite parts of the book are those where Savannah is thinking about her father and dreaming of the day he will come and rescue her.
I was saddened to hear that some tragic events from this story are loosely based upon the author's own life, and I admire her for turning her pain into a positive and beautiful novel.
Although some parts of the story are incredibly sad, the overall message is one of hope. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a meaningful and uplifting read!
BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette Book Group for my review copy.