To The Moon And Back (Karen Kingsbury book)

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search

To The Moon And Back is a Christian novel written by Karen Kingsbury. It was released on May 29, 2018.

It is the fourth novel in her Baxter Family Collection series, and the 27th novel overall featuring the Baxter Family.

Plot

Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information

The story centers on two people, Brady Bradshaw and Jenna Davis, who lost parents in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Both were five when the bombing hit: Brady was with his mother in the building (he never knew his father) and has scar tissue (both physically and emotionally) as a result, while Jenna was at home with her grandparents while both her parents were at work in the Murrah Building.

On the 12th anniversary of the bombing, Brady (who had visited the Memorial every year on the anniversary, and who was shuffled through the foster care system) meets Jenna (making her first visit, while living with her grandparents). In addition to a shared heartbreak, the two shared a deep heart connection, and (although both had Christian parents) neither believed in a God who would allow such a tragedy to take place.

In the intervening years (before the events of the book) their lives take different paths. Jenna never visited the Memorial again, but instead relocated to Columbus, Ohio as an elementary school teacher, and recovered her Christian faith (which helped her after her husband – who professed to be a Christian but was not – abandoned the marriage; Jenna promised God she would not remarry unless her spouse was also a Christian). Brady, meanwhile, continued to visit the Memorial every year, remained in Oklahoma City as a firefighter, and continued in his rejection of God. Brady left Jenna a letter every year hoping to reconnect, then went to visit the Fishers (a Christian family who lost their only son in the bombing, along with Mrs. Fisher's sister; they witness to Brady without success).

Meanwhile, Baxter sisters Ashley and Kari planned a road trip to the Memorial. Ashley's niece, Amy, is inspired by the story of the Survivor Tree [1] and wants a sapling from the Tree. They arrive too late to receive one, but Ashley sees Brady and senses that he is troubled as he leaves his letter for Jenna. Ashley reads the letter and decides to help Brady reconnect with Jenna. Though her family is not too supportive, she reaches out to Brady for information (and to ask if he could get Amy a sapling).

Eventually, she locates Jenna and is ready to share the good news with Brady – only to learn that Brady was critically injured falling through the roof of a burning warehouse, yet somehow managed to miraculously survive. Ashley decides to personally tell Jenna the news – a three-hour drive from her Bloomington, Indiana home – Jenna follows up and ultimately decides to spend her upcoming summer in Oklahoma City.

Brady and Jenna finally reconnect; Brady now has an incentive to recover so he can finally go on a date with her. The two fall in love, but ultimately their differing views on God – Jenna refusing to break her promise not to marry an unbeliever; Brady unable to accept a God who took their parents away – cause the two to end their relationship, though not before Jenna gives him a necklace with a key engraved "9:03" (the minute after the bombing, symbolizing that she was able to move on from the bombing, and hoping that Brady can join her there). Jenna reaches out to Ashley with the news; Ashley calls Brady but is not successful in convincing him to believe.

Brady visits the Memorial again where he meets Jag, who claims to have first met Brady when he was five and again recently. He reminds Brady of the Memorial's motto – "come to remember, leave with resolve" – and tells him that the office has two saplings waiting for him. He walks away, and Brady looks away then back to the path – only to notice that Jag has disappeared.

But his mysterious encounter with Jag – and a subsequent visit to the Fishers – still hasn't convinced Brady to believe. Later that week, though, Brady has a dream that he is back at the warehouse fire, trapped and calling for help. He hears his mother calling for him to come home, he cries for help, only to see Jag removing debris. He realizes that Jag is an angel, and cries to God, sorry for his unbelief.

Brady then travels to Bloomington to drop off one of the saplings for Amy (who later plants it in the backyard with her family around her) and surprises Jenna at school. He tells her that he now believes, and that the sapling would “look good in our backyard” before proposing to her.

Characters

  • Thomas "Brady" Bradshaw - the main male character. Left orphaned after the bombing (his mother shielding him from the blast, and never having met his birth father), he is shuttled through the foster care system as a child. He struggles with the belief that a caring God would allow such a tragedy to take place. He visits the Memorial every year on the anniversary of the bombing.
  • Jenna Davis (born Elizabeth Jenna Phillips) - the main female character. She loses both her parents in the bombing and is raised by her Christian grandparents. As a teenager, she (like Brady) also struggles with faith, but reconnects with it in college. After a failed marriage (to a man who only pretended to believe), she vows never to marry a man who doesn't share her faith. Until reuniting with Brady, she had visited the Memorial only one time, on the anniversary of the bombing where they first met.
  • Cheryl and Rodney Fisher – an African-American family that Brady meets during one of his annual returns to the Memorial. The Fishers lost their only child, Jimmy, in the bombing (he was in the daycare), and Cheryl also lost her sister, but the Fishers maintained their faith. They attempt to show God's love to Brady; his bitterness causes him to limit his reunions with them to once a year on the anniversary.
  • Eric Munez – Brady's closest friend at the fire station. He is with Brady when the accident occurs.
  • Allison Wessel – A former co-worker with Jenna's mother (she had a doctor's appointment on the day of the bombing and thus wasn't at work, she later became a Christian afterward). She allows Jenna to stay with her during the summer.
  • Ashley Baxter Blake – the youngest daughter of the Baxter Family, she discovers Brady's note at the Memorial and is determined to locate Jenna.
  • Amy Hogan – Ashley's niece. Amy is inspired by the story of the Survivor Tree and would love to have one of its saplings.
  • Jag – A male (later revealed to be an angel) that Brady meets at the Memorial. He mentions that he first met Brady "a long time ago – you were five" and "one other time not too long ago" (implying that he saved him from both the bombing and the warehouse fire). He arranges to have two saplings for Brady (one for Amy and another for himself and Jenna).
    • Jag was previously featured in Kingsbury's Angels Walking series.

References

  1. In Kingsbury's novel Coming Home, Amy is the sole survivor of a car wreck which killed the other members of her family; Ashley and her husband Landon are Amy's legal guardians as a result.