Like Dandelion Dustby Karen Kingsbury
Kingsbury delivers a powerful new novel about two parents' love for their child and the surprising lengths they will go to keep their family together when a judge rules that their adopted son must be returned to his biological father.
Karen is a gifted writer who confronts the hard issues with truth and sensitivity."Francine Rivers, bestselling author of Redeeming Love
- Center Street
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Like Dandelion Dust
By Karen Kingsbury
CENTER STREETCopyright © 2006 Karen Kingsbury
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOnce in a while Molly Campbell wondered if other people saw it. When strangers passed by her and Jack and little Joey, maybe they could actually see a golden hue, pixie dust on the tops of their heads or a light emanating from the air around them, telling all the world what the three of them inherently knew.
That life couldn't possibly be more perfect. Sometimes when Molly walked through the Palm Beach Mall, hand-in-hand with four-year-old Joey, her purse holding a couple hundred dollars cash, two debit cards and a Visa with five figures open to buy, she'd see a tired-looking, disheveled man or an aging woman with worn-out shoes-hollow-eyed and slack-jawed-and she'd wonder what had happened. How had life placed these people in their separate worlds, and how had she and Jack and Joey found their way to the right side? The good side.
Molly felt that way now, sitting at the Cricket Preschool parents' conference, listening to Joey's teacher rave about his progress in math and spelling. She held the hand of her quick-witted, rugged husband and smiled at Joey. "That's what we like to hear, buddy."
"Thanks." Joey grinned. His first loose tooth-the one in the middle, upper left-hung at a crazy angle. He swung his feet beneath the table as his eyes wandered around the room to thedinosaur poster and the T. rex. Joey loved the T. rex.
The teacher continued, "Your son is charming, a delight to everyone." Mrs. Erickson was in her sixties, silver-haired with a gentle hand, a teacher who preferred to use colored marbles or M&Ms rather than a stern voice and repetition to teach the alphabet. "He's reading at a first-grade level, and he won't be five until fall. Amazing." She raised her brow. "He's computing beyond his years, as well. And he's extremely social."
Then the teacher shared an anecdote. One day the week before, Joey came to class a few minutes early, and there sat Mark Allen, a child with learning disabilities. Mark Allen was staring at his empty lunch box, tears streaming down his face. Somehow his mother had sent him to school without any food for snack time.
"I was in the supply closet," the teacher explained. "I didn't see what was happening until I returned." By then, Joey had taken the seat next to Mark Allen, pulled his Batman lunchbox from his backpack and spread the contents out on the desk. As the teacher walked in, Joey was handing the boy his peanut butter crackers and banana, saying, "Don't cry. You can have my snack."
"I can only tell you," the teacher concluded, her eyes shining at the memory, "Joey is the kindest, most well adjusted four-year-old I've taught in a long time."
Molly basked in the glow of the teacher's praise. She let the story play over in her mind, and when the conference was over and they left the classroom, she grinned at her husband. "He gets it from me, you know." She lifted her chin, all silliness and mock pride. "Sharing his snack with that little boy."
"Right." Jack's eyes danced. "And the social part." He gave her a look. "He gets that from you, no doubt."
"Definitely." "But the smarts"-he tapped his temple, his voice full of laughter-"that's my doing."
"Wait a minute ..." She gave him a shove, even if she couldn't keep the smile from her face. "I'm definitely the brains in this-"
"Let's go, sport!" Jack took hold of Joey's hand and the two of them skipped ahead as they reached the parking lot. It was a beautiful South Florida May afternoon, cooler than usual, all sunshine and endless blue skies and swaying palm trees. The kind of day that made a person forget the humidity and unbearable temperatures just a few weeks away. Molly could hear Jack and Joey giggling about recess and playground rules and tetherball. As they reached their blue Acura SUV, Jack gave Joey a few light pokes in his ribs. "So, sport ... got a girlfriend?"
"No way." Joey shook his head. "Us boys have a club. The Boys Are Best Club." He put his hands on his waist. "No yucky girls."
"Oh ... good. Boys Are Best." Jack gave a few thoughtful nods. He opened the driver's door as he pulled Joey close and gently rubbed his knuckles against Joey's pale blond hair. "You boys are right." He winked at Molly. "Girls are yucky."
Joey looked at her and his expression softened. "'Cept for Mommy."
"Really?" They climbed into the car. From the driver's seat, Jack looped his arm around Molly's shoulders and kissed her cheek. "Well ..." He grinned at her. "I guess Mommy's not so bad. As long as she stays out of the kitchen."
"Hey!" Molly laughed. "It's been a month since I burned anything."
Jack raised his eyebrow at Joey. "Today made up for it. Flaming cinnamon rolls-that'll go down in the family record book."
"They shouldn't put 'broil' and 'bake' so close together on the dial."
Jack chuckled. "We shouldn't put you in the kitchen. Period."
"You might be right." Molly didn't mind her reputation for foul-ups at mealtime. Cooking bored her. As long as they ate healthy food, she had no interest in creating elaborate recipes. Simple meals worked just fine. When they were buckled in, Joey bounced a few times on the seat. "Can we get pizza, huh? Please?" "Great idea. That'll keep Mom out of the kitchen. Besides"- Jack gave a pronounced tap on the steering wheel-"anyone who gets a perfect report in preschool should be allowed pizza." "Pineapple pizza?"
"Definitely pineapple pizza." As they drove to Nemo's Deli a few blocks east of the school, a comfortable silence settled over the car. In the back seat, Joey found his library book, a pictorial on the Great White Shark. He hummed Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush as he turned the pages. Molly reached over and wove her fingers between Jack's. "So ... isn't it amazing?" She kept her voice low, the conversation meant for just the two of them.
Jack grinned, keeping his eyes on the road. "Our little genius, you mean?"
"Not that." Sunshine streamed through the windshield, sending warmth and well-being throughout her body. She smiled. "The kindness part. I mean ..." There was laughter in her voice. "I know he's a prodigy in the classroom and a natural on the playground. But how great that the teacher would call him 'kind.'" "The kindest boy she's seen in a long time."
"And well-adjusted." Molly sat a little straighter. "Very well-adjusted."
They were half-teasing, bragging about Joey the way they could do only when no one else was around. Then the smile faded from Jack's face. "Didn't you think it'd be harder than this?"
"Harder?" Molly angled herself so she could see him better. "Preschool?"
"No." Jack gripped the steering wheel with his left hand, more pensive than he'd been all afternoon. He glanced at the rear-view mirror and the fine lines at the corners of his eyes deepened. "Adopting. Didn't you think it'd be harder? School trouble or social trouble? Something?"
Molly stared out the window. They were passing Fuller Park on their right, a place they'd taken Joey since he came into their lives. Home was only a block away. She squinted against the sunlight. "Maybe. It seems like a lifetime ago."
"When we brought him home?" Jack kept his eyes on the road.
"No." She drew a slow breath through her nose. "When we first talked about adoption, I guess." She shot a quick look at Joey in the backseat, his blond hair and blue eyes, the intent way he sat there looking at shark pictures and humming. She met Jack's gaze again. "As soon as they put him in my arms, every fear I ever had dissolved." A smile started in her heart. "I knew he was special."
Jack nodded slowly. "He is, isn't he?" "Yes." She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "As my sister would say, he's a gift from God. Nothing less than a miracle."
"Your sister ..." Jack chuckled. "She and Bill are about as dry as they come."
"Hey." Molly felt her defenses come to life. "Give them time. They just moved here a week ago." "I know." Jack frowned. "But can't they talk about something besides God? 'God's will this'and 'God's will that'?"
"Jack ... come on." Molly bristled. Beth was her best friend. The two were eighteen months apart, inseparable as kids: Beth, the younger but somehow more responsible sister, and Molly, the flighty one, always in need of Beth's ability to keep her grounded. For the past threeyears Molly had worked on Beth, trying to get her and Bill and their four kids to move to West Palm Beach. "Be fair." She was careful with her tone. "Give them a chance."
The lines around Jack's eyes relaxed. "I'm just saying ..." He raised his brow at her. "They're uptight, Molly. If that's what church does to you"-he released her hand and brushed at the air-"count me out."
"The move's been hard on them." "I guess."
"Hey, Daddy, know what?" Joey tapped both their shoulders and bounced in his booster seat. "The Great White is as long as four daddies. That's what the picture shows."
The sparkle instantly returned to Jack's expression. "Four daddies! Wow ... how many little boys would that be?"
"Probly a million-jillion." They turned in to the restaurant parking lot. "Here we are!" Jack took the first space available. "Pineapple pizza coming up."
"Jack ..." Molly wasn't finished. She winced a little. "I forgot to mention-" She already knew the answer, but her sister made her promise to ask. "Beth and Bill want us to come to church with them Sunday. They're trying out the one down the street from the school."
Jack leaned over and kissed her cheek. He kept his face a few inches from hers. "When Bill says yes to one of my poker parties, I'll say yes to church."
"Okay." She hid her disappointment. "So that's a no?" "That's a no." He patted the side of her face. The teasing left his eyes for a moment. "Unless you want me to. If it matters to you, I'll go."
Molly loved that about Jack. He had his opinions, but he was willing to do things her way, always ready to compromise. "No." She gave him a quick kiss. "We're going out on the boat this Sunday. That'll put us closer to God than a church service ever could."
Joey was already out of the car and up on the sidewalk, waiting for them. Jack opened his car door and chuckled. "Well said, my dear. Well said."
Not until they were inside the restaurant ordering their pizza did a strange ribbon of fear wrap itself around Molly's throat. Their attitude toward church was okay, wasn't it? They'd never been church people, even though Beth talked to her about it often.
"You need to take Joey," Beth would say. "All children need to be in church."
Molly looked at Joey now, golden-haired, his eyes adoringly on Jack as they considered the options at the pop machine. What they had was fine, wasn't it? They believed in God, in a distant sort of way. What harm was there in finding Him at a lake instead of in a pew? Besides, they already had everything they needed.
Jack's recent promotion had placed him in a dream job as vice president of sales for Reylco, one of the top three pharmaceutical companies in the world. He was making a healthy six-figure salary, overseeing top international accounts, and traveling half as often as before. They lived on a corner lot in Ashley Heights, one of West Palm Beach's finer upscale neighborhoods. The three of them took trips to Disneyworld and Sanibel Island and the Bahamas, and they fished at Lake Okeechobee once a month.
Every now and then they spent a Saturday afternoon serving lunch at a homeless mission in Miami, and then they'd take in a play in the city's art district. On weekdays, after dinner, they walked to Fuller Park with Joey and Gus, their friendly lab. There Jack and Molly stole kisses and laughter, watching sunsets while Gus ran circles around the playground and Joey raced to the top of the slide over and over and over again.
They kept an Air Nautique ski boat at Westmont Pier, and on most Sundays they drove to the white sandy seashore and cruised to the bay, where water was smooth and deep blue and warm. They'd take turns skiing, and Joey would sit in the back, watching, pumping his fists in the air when one of them cleared the wake. This spring, for the first time, they'd bought a pair of training skis for Joey. More sunshine and laughter, day after day, year after year.
These thoughts chased away Molly's strange fear, and she found a window table where she could wait for her men. The uneasy feeling lifted. Why worry? The golden hue, the shining light, the pixie dust-all of it must be real. They were happy and healthy and they had everything they'd ever wanted. Most of all, they had Joey. What more could God possibly give them?
Excerpted from Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2006 by Karen Kingsbury. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Karen Kingsbury is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 60 works of fiction and nonfiction with nearly 25 million copies in print. Widely considered America's favorite inspirational novelist, she is best known for drawing unforgettable characters and stories which evoke a range of emotions. Karen reaches over 100,000 women annually through national speaking appearances. She and her husband, Don, currently reside in Nashville, TN.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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After you read the book. You will ball til your eyes fall out. This book was the first one of Karen Kingsbury's to be a movie. Haven't finished the book ,but i have seen the movie. After you finish the book watch the movie i dare you. Please tell me if my review was helpful! Thank you for your time.
I read this book and it was really good. I am only 14 years old and the book really touched my heart, I cannot fathom how this book would touch a mother's heart. I strongly recommend it.
This book definately pulls at your heart. You can't help but want the Campbell's to do whatever they have to in order to keep Joey. I found myself engrossed because I just had to know who Joey ended up with. This is an amazing book by Karen Kingsbury and I can't wait to read more of her books.
Heartwrenching and inspiring. Builds faith and leaves an impression that surpasses words.
Molly and Jack Campbell are heartbroken when they get news that their four-year old son Joey only has a few more months to live with them. Then he has to return to his biological parents. Joey's biological father has just gotten out of jail and wants his son back. The Campbells love their son and do not know what they will do when he is gone. They want to fight the judge's decision, but it seems as if there is no way to do so. Molly and Jack will do anything to keep Joey, even if it means putting themselves at risk. I think Like Dandelion Dust is a great book. I'm not usually a reader, but this book made me want to keep reading. I have two adopted siblings so I could somewhat relate to the book. It would be horrible if I was told my siblings were going to be taken away from me. Also, the book had a little bit of romance involved which I liked. Furthermore, I think it's great that Karen Kingsbury tied in religious ideas. Writing about God and His will for us brought great life lessons into the book.
This book is so well written, it was hard to put down! At one point I felt my heart being torn out of my chest. All I could do was cry as read what was happening. The ending is not what you may think. I would really recommend that you take the time to read this book. We can learn alot from Joey about talking with God and faith and trust! I believe that every parent can identify with Jack and Molly and would do the samething.....
A very touching story of two mothers and their love for Joey. I couldn't put it down, dreaded the inevitable and loved the ending. :)
This is another wonderful book by Karen Kingsbury. It addresses social issues that most writers avoid all the while capturing your attention and heart in a moving story.
It shows how two people's love for one little boy can lead to hard descions that can change your life forever. A bit confusing but goodl job Karen Kingsbury!
This book was amazing, I could not put it down for one second. It was sad but thrilling, has all that you need in a book. I have never read anything by Kingsbury before but I am going to look for more now. The only thing that I got annoyed with was every little thing was related to god's will. I am religious and beleive in god but it seemed to me that that could have been toned down a little bit. Still loved the book and does not make me change my opinion about it.
I'm a devoted Karen Kingsbury fan. I've read many of her books and loved them all. All but this one. While it still has her wonderful writing and deep characters, the overall feeling of the book is depressing. It's heavy ¿ dark. Yes, it has a happy ending, but it's slower than her other books. Digging deep into the psyche of the characters, she portrays them well, but I found myself skimming and turning pages to get to the action. Will I read another Kingsbury book? You bet. But this one is not a keeper in this reviewer's opinion.
This book was a Barnes and Noble daily find which sat in my library for some time before I actually started reading it. I thought I'd be trudging my way through it, but found it to be a really good story. Parenting is not just being able to produce a child, but the love that is shown to that child throughout his/her life. My heart broke again and again for the little boy and his adoptive parents as they journeyed through the possibility of losing each other to the biological mother. But I also understood the pain of the biological mother as she struggled between her love for her little boy, and the hardest choice of her life. Good read....gave me both perspectives to think about.
This is an excellent book on faith and trust in God. The characters are so real that you find yourself wanting to pray for them but then you remember its fiction. It is a must read if you believe in the love of God and family. Mizpah58
One of the best books I have read for a long time, this book really keeps you reading ,, hard to put down, a very nice story,
I enjoyed this book but the outcome was very predictable
Good reading. Read the book in one day.
This is a modern day story of how far one would go to protect someone you love. It will give you the opportunity to think about how you base your choices. You will be thinking of this one days after you finish it.
This book was very well written. It has a deep religious bent to it. I enjoyed it very much, it proves that with GOD all things are possible. 5 stars
If you like Karen Kingsbury's series, you will love this stand alone novel.
This book brings forth errors than can be made during legal transactions dealing with children and their adoption. One has a heartache for the birth mother and the love she shows to her adopted child. The deep chasm is shown between the financial levels of the adoptive parents and the natural parents. This book would be a good choice for book clubs.
This will keep you turning pages even when you should be asleep loved it
Well written and good emotional plot.
Says it should be $1.99 but when you try to buy it, it is $6.99. Please fix this daily value!!
I enjoyed the book. The suspense and storyline were legit. Pull through to the end. You wont guess what happens.