Christian writer Karen Kingsbury is a brand. Well, actually, she’s more than a brand; she’s a veritable writing industry. She’s written more than 100 Christian-themed novels, children’s books, and non-fiction works. She’s been a #1 author on The New York Times bestsellers list numerous times. Her books typically become bestsellers before they’re published.
I had previously read only two of her novels, Every Now and Then and Unlocked. I don’t usually read “branded” novelists, but I did enjoy both of these books. I hadn’t read one of Kingsbury’s books in more than five years, until I saw one, Oceans Apart, advertised at a discounted price, checked the summary on Amazon, and decided to give it a go. I knew it would likely be high in sentimentally, somewhat following a familiar formula, and generally have a happy ending.
I bought it and started the first chapter to see if I would like it. I kept reading. I skipped my nap, and my wife will tell you how significant that is. I finished the book three hours later. You could say I inhaled it.
Kiahna Seifert is a flight attendant based in Hawaii. She’s doing the work flight attendants do when they getting passengers ready for a flight from Honolulu to Tokyo, a trip she’s made dozens of times. But she’s distracted, feeling an odd disquiet she can’t explain. The plane takes off, and shortly later begins a spiraling descent into the ocean. Her last thoughts are of her 8-year-old son Max. The plane crashes into the ocean, and there are no survivors.
Half a planet away, Florida-based pilot Connor Evans is getting ready for his own flight. Connor is happily married to Michelle, and deeply loves her and their two pre-teen daughters. He does have family problems; he hasn’t spoken to his father in more than a decade, with plenty of anger from both men.
Connor hears about the plane crash near Hawaii, and he checks the list of passengers and crews. He sees Kiahna’s name, and while he’s saddened, he’s also relieved. Only once was he ever unfaithful to Michelle, during a period when he was struggling with the aftermath of the break with his father, his career was on the line with an FAA investigation, and Michelle had been dealing with depression and wanted nothing to do with him or their little girl and new baby. Connor had had a one-night stand with a flight attendant in Honolulu, both dealing with a storm-closed airport and no place to stay. And now the one person who knew about the brief affair was dead.
Except Connor is going to find out about the son he never knew about, and Michelle will learn that had husband had been unfaithful.
It’s a fast-paced story, easy to read (and easy to inhale). And you keep reading to find out what’s going to happen, and what’s going to happen next. And you know that Connor is going to be forced to make a choice he doesn’t want to make.
Oceans Apart should come with a warning label: “Danger! This book is addictive. Read only when you know you have the time to read it straight through.”
Top photograph by Anna Popovic via Unsplash. Used with permission.