This Side of Heaven

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A story of secrets, broken relationships, and a love strong enough to reunite a family. A stirring novel from New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury.
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This Side of Heaven: A Novel

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Overview

A story of secrets, broken relationships, and a love strong enough to reunite a family. A stirring novel from New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Christian fiction author Kingsbury is well loved by her fans, and this newest story, based loosely upon her own brother's death, will further endear her to her faithful readers. Kingsbury tells the story of a strained relationship between picture-perfect Nate and Annie Warren, whose son, Josh, a tow truck driver, has been a disappointment to them. Even though Josh's mistakes are now history, his current joblessness-owing to a drunk driver's recklessness-serves to ratchet up his parental disapproval rating. Only a few people know the truth: Josh is a real-life hero and his one heart's desire is to be united with a daughter he's never met. When Josh's life is struck again by tragedy, his immediate family must come to grips with the recognition that they never really cared enough to ultimately know their son. Kingsbury does a fine job communicating the emotional struggles of individuals, and readers will resonate with her characters' sorrows and losses. Yet much of the story is formulaic, which detracts from its otherwise powerful message about acceptance. (Jan.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440746130
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 12/8/2003
  • Format: Cassette

Meet the Author

Karen Kingsbury
Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. She's written more than forty novels, ten of which have hit #1 on bestseller lists, including her Center Street novel This Side of Heaven, which stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for several weeks. She lives in Washington State with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 25, 2010

    A Great Book

    This book is amazing! I loved every part of it. it takes a basic story plot that could have been done a dozen times and puts a new spin on it. The characters are so real! When i read the book, i could feel the turmoil and pain that they were going through. I would definately recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to read a good book that they wont be able to put down!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    This is another great book by Karen Kingsbury. She is a fantastic author - I haven't read anything by her that I didn't like. However, this book was exceptional. I cried, I was sad, then happy - it shows the true lives of families and how you can get all wrapped up in the things that don't matter and miss the things that do.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2011

    Recommended

    Sometimes we misjudge people because we do not really take the time to get to know them and set our expectations too high. This book makes us take a closer look at ourselves and see what we are truly missing. It's a good read and makes you want to spend more time getting to know the people you love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2011

    This book is a must to read if you have not yet!

    If you enjoy reading Karen Kingsbury books this is a must to read. It makes you think about your priorities in life and what is really important. It is a very touching story and as my grandma always said "Never judge a book by it's cover!" which sometimes is a hard life lesson for some....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Karen Kingsbury is the best of Christian writers

    As always Karen Kingsbury comes through with another winner. Her writings are attention holding, captivating and touching. She takes her readers to a different plain every time and holds your attention throughout. I would read any and all of her books, which I believe I have read most of them. I think the thing I like most is the Christian outlook on each of her books and the insertion of Biblical quotations through out. She gives you reasons to think, to reflect and inspires one to go deeper in your faith. She has it all and is a writer I hope keeps on giving as she does now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    Amazing!

    Couldn't put the book down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2014

    awesome book so fa

    so far really sad but i really cam lean from the headline

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    Good Read

    Highly recommed

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  • Posted September 16, 2012

    I'm rating this good because as always this is Karen Kingsbury a

    I'm rating this good because as always this is Karen Kingsbury and I love her too dearly to do anything less than a three, but this compared to some of her other books was just not my favorite. It was even a bit hard to get through. As with all her books you can walk away with wisdom, but I got nothing more than some bits of advice about living as much as you can while on this Earth. I realized I think my biggest problem with this book is instead of being shown these characters emotions we are told what they are feeling. I think it could have been much better if we were getting to find out Josh was a hero along with Annie..... Of course reading the note from Karen Kingsbury in the back of this book is a must as you will get to learn a little more about her and her family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Happy ending

    Wonderfully written with a happy ending

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    One of my absolute, most favorite Karen Kingsbury books!!!

    One of my absolute, most favorite Karen Kingsbury books!!!

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    This side of heaven

    I absolutely LOVE this book soooooo much

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very touching and heart-breaking too!

    As always, Karen Kingsbury has such a way of touching a touchy subject (pain medicine addiction) but making it easy to relate to her readers. I cried, laughed and sighed while reading this book. Such a bittersweet story with a happy ending, although different than the usual "happily ever after" story.
    Highly recommend this book and all the other books by Karen Kingsbury!!!

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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Josh Warren - hero or disappointment?

    Nothing had worked out as Josh Warren had planned. After high school, his girlfriend Becky had broken up with him, he quit school and became a tow truck driver. He had a dream of opening his own tow truck business.

    A year after a wild week in Vegas he discovers he is the father of a little girl, Savannah. Her mom wants child support, but Josh does not have the amount that she wants, so she stops contacting him and he is left to wonder about his child. Soon after that, an accident at work leaves Josh with severe back pain and fighting for a settlement from an insurance company. He hopes with the settlement money he can get the surgery he needs on his back, find his daughter, who is now seven, and open up his tow truck business. He has hope again as he just rededicated his life to Christ.

    Josh's parents, especially his mom Annie, has felt great disappointment in Josh. They do not understand why he would want to drive tow trucks. They had expected him to go to college and marry Becky. They are convinced that Savannah is not his daughter and want him to let go of those thoughts himself. Annie feels he has thrown his life away.

    When Josh is not able to search for Savannah, will Annie pick up his cause and fight to find Savannah to try to discover if she is truly his daughter? And will she take the time to discover the man that her son has become?

    This book pulled me in immediately and got me emotionally attached. Then it punched me in the gut and left me crying and trying to catch my breath - only to lead me on to a victorious ending, even though it is not the one you can only imagine.
    I love Karen Kingsbury and how her books evoke great emotion - at least in me. At the end of this book she shares how this story is based on her brother Dave's life, which made me cry all over again. If you haven't had the opportunity to read one of her books - this would be a good one to start with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2009

    Another great Karen Kingsbury book!!!!

    A wonderful read, caught me completely off guard. Loved the way it led to the ending.

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  • Posted February 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very sad book

    God does not promise us a great comfortable life, He promises us the strength to carry through the trials and tribulations. This story is just that, how one person can help others in his family carry through his death and live a good life. Life goes on without us. If you are a person who can not handle sad endings and grief and the death of a hero in the middle of a story then do not read this as it will disappoint you. If you read the background first it will help you understand the story better and read all the way through without becoming emotionally upset with the author. This is definitely a good book but also the reader needs to understand the emotional impact before starting it.

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  • Posted February 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Do we really know those closest to us?

    There are certain times when you need to read a book like "This Side of Heaven". Days when emotions are pent up and you need an outlet. Moments when you need to think outside of yourself and your problems and think about the rest of the world. Instances when you need to let go and let God. This book is a conduit to do all those things.<BR/> Josh is a tow-truck driver and a disappointment to his family. He could have done so much with his life, but he just drives a tow-truck and harbors a false hope of being a daddy to a little girl when his family knows the mother is just trying to get a free ride through child support and the girl isn't even his. His parents and sister love him, they are just disappointed. In the meantime, Josh is actually a hero but only a few people know it, but now he is out of work because of a job related accident - will anything ever go right for Josh?<BR/> Do we ever really know the people that matter most to us? Are we walking through life with a bunch of facades? This book just might change the way you look at those around you, especially those closest to you. When you are done reading this book read the author's note at the end (but not until you are done with the book!) and get a glimpse of Karen's heart.<BR/> What a wonderful book!

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  • Posted February 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Karen Kingsbury fans will love this one!

    Characters are important in a novel. They must be credible. I was pleased to see Carl Joseph and Daisy Gunner, a Down Syndrome couple, living next door to the protagonist, Josh Warren. I remember them from earlier books in the Cody Gunner Series. Karen Kingsbury is at her best when writing characters--particularly children. The children in her books think and speak in an authentic manner. For instance, a cotton ball at the doctor's office is thought of as "a wet little ball of white fur." In this novel a little girl, Savannah is introduced. She seems believable, and I can't help but wonder if I'll meet her again in a future work.<BR/><BR/>The description of chronic pain is well written.<BR/><BR/>I found the plot credible; the author's notes at the end surprised me. I can't tell you more than this without ruining the story. Running through this Christian Fiction book is the theme of loving in an unconditional style, rather than in a judgmental manner. Too often, we let a moment to love pass, and it's gone forever. I connected to the deep desire of one character's wish for ten minutes more of life in order to be able to hug a departed loved one.<BR/><BR/>There are discussion questions at the end of the novel, which makes for a good talk at any book club meeting. Her sentence fragments drive me nuts, but Karen Kingsbury fans will love this one!

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  • Posted December 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fascinating inspirational family drama

    Nate and Annie Warren expected so much more from their son Josh, who grew up with everything he could ever want. Instead he has been a major disappointment never achieving anything beyond being a tow truck driver. He even failed at that though it was not his fault as a drunk driver left him unemployed and even lower in the esteem of his parents even as he rescued two young women from being DUI victims.<BR/><BR/>However, there are some friends like his neighbors Carl, Daisy and Cara who see him as a champion and a buddy. Although he would like to reconcile with his parents he holds no hope to do so as he cannot live their life. More so he would like to meet his eight year old daughter Savannah. When tragedy strikes him again, his mom meeting his friends realizes she never knew her son who is a hero to his friends and wants to make amends with her granddaughter that she never knew about. Her granddaughter lives with her addicted mom Fran Ito in New York City. Fran learns Savannah might be due some insurance money following Josh¿s tragedy; she plans to get the money to pay for her habit.<BR/>----<BR/>Although loosely connected to JUST BEYOND THE CLOUDS through some characters, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN is a fascinating inspirational family drama that focuses on what is a hero and tolerance for decisions by loved ones that may not seem right to you but is to them. Whereas God and his friends accept Josh as he is enabling them to believe he is a kind loyal hero; his parents feel he failed even when he severely injured himself to save lives. More than beauty is in the eye of the beholder as his loved ones failed to see his caring soul while his friends admired him for that. Karen Kingsbury provides a deep look at parental expectations unfulfilled because they were never accepted by their offspring; albeit the Warrens lose a lot by their negative reactions to their son.<BR/>----<BR/>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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