Where Yesterday Lives
Ellen Barrett is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with an uncertain marriage, a forgotten faith, and haunting memories of her picturesque hometown and the love she left behind. The eldest of five siblings, she longs for the time, long ago, when they were a happy family. Now Ellen’s beloved father is dead, and she returns to her childhood home to make peace–with the people who still live there, with the losses and changes that time has wrought, and with the future God has set before her.
When Joy Came to Stay
Maggie Stovall is one of the golden people. She has it all together...at least on the surface. Ben Stovall is a godly husband and successful attorney. He has no idea of the darkness about to overtake his life. Amanda Joy is a child of society–abused, broken, thrown away. But her trust in God is still alive. When Joy Came to Stay is the heart-wrenching story of one woman’s descent into the shadows of depression, her husband’s search for understanding, and a precious child’s unwavering faith.
On Every Side
Faith Evans is an up-and-coming newscaster, a woman of honor and integrity who must take a stand against the one man she never imagined would be her enemy. A beloved, hundred-year-old statue of Jesus stands in a small-town park–but some say it’s a clear violation of separation of church and state that must come down. Jordan Riley is a powerful attorney fighting for human rights and against God, but still reckoning with bitter boyhood losses. Amid political intrigue, social injustice, and personal conflicts, will love be enough when the battle rages on every side?
What Readers Are Saying About KAREN KINGSBURY Fiction…
“All–and I do mean all–of Karen Kingsbury’s books have touched my spiritual life in a deep way. I have recommended her books to men and women alike!”
–Debbie, Marana, AZ
“Karen Kingsbury’s Christian fiction is the standard by which I judge all Christian fiction.”
–Robin, Fairfax, VA
“Karen Kingsbury is our book club’s favorite author. We often discuss how each of her novels not only entertain us, but inspire us to live out our faith in a real, everyday, every moment way.”
–Lynda, Covington, WA
“Karen’s books never cease to amaze me. After reading one, I not only feel connected to the characters and the events, I feel I’ve walked in the presence of Christ and He’s spoken mightily to me. I always cry when I finish one…tears of good-bye to the friends I’ve come to love and tears of thankfulness to my heavenly Father. I can’ t wait to read the next one!”
–Linda, Batavia, IL
Story Behind the Book
Each of my novels is a piece of my heart. Where Yesterday Lives was my first-ever novel, and as such it is somewhat autobiographical. The childhood story of Ellen Barrett, her love for her parents and siblings, is my story–though her current story and struggles are fictional. On Every Side sheds light on the struggle for religious freedom in today’s climate, something I am passionate about. Finally, When Joy Came to Stay is the story of one woman’s battle against depression and the secrets of her past.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.16(w) x 8.82(h) x 1.92(d)|
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
A KINGSBURY COLLECTIONTHREE NOVELS IN ONE
By KAREN KINGSBURY
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2005 Karen Kingsbury
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAdense blanket of heat and humidity covered the Florida peninsula the afternoon of July 10, but at the climate-controlled offices of the Miami Times the unending process of news-gathering continued at a frenetic pace.
That Friday afternoon, while the city sweltered under record-breaking temperatures, the editors sat quietly at their desks in the center of the newsroom and Ellen Barrett, back from a morning of interviews, worked intently at her computer several feet away.
"Jim, tell me there's not something more to this murder." She held up a news clipping and strained to see Jim Western. Jim sat in the cubicle immediately in front of her and worked the environmental beat, dealing with illegal chemical dumping and polluted harbors. He was not interested in homicides.
"Sounds fishy." His eyes remained focused on his own computer screen and the story he was writing. Ellen watched for a moment, fascinated with his neatly arranged notes, his clean desk, and the way he typed using only his index fingers.
"More than fishy." She reached for her coffee and took a sip, wiping the moist condensation off the notepad where the cup had been sitting. Her eyes traveled across her desk, searching for a clear spot. She alone could make sense of the disaster that was her work area. Somewhere, buried under layers of rumpled notes, was a picture of her and Mike on their wedding day and a Bible he had given her three years ago. It was dusty now, though its pages were stiff and clean-much as they had been when she received it.
Ellen studied the heap of papers and, as she had once a month for the past year, made a mental note to get organized. For now she pushed her keyboard back and set the hot drink in the space it created.
She looked at Jim again. "Guy lives his whole life in his father's shadow, tells his friend he hates the old man, and next thing we know Dad opens the door and gets blown away by an AK-47 on the Fourth of July."
"Neighbors think it's fireworks and no one sees a gunman. What does the grieving son do? Hops in Dad's shiny, new Corvette and shows it off to half the people in town."
"Not to mention the tidy insurance settlement sonny boy figures to get now that Dad's gone."
"Know what I think?"
Jim sighed. "What?"
"Prison time for sonny boy."
"Hmm, yes." Jim continued to type, his index fingers moving deftly across the keyboard.
"And won't that be something after everyone's been busy doling out sympathy cards to the guy like he's some kind of forlorn victim? Truthfully, I can't understand why he hasn't been arrested. I mean, it's amazing, how obvious it is."
Jim sighed once more, and this time his fingers froze in place as he looked up from his work. "That all you and Mike talk about at home? Homicide investigations? Must make great dinner conversation."
Ellen ignored him, but she was quiet for a moment. She didn't want to think about Mike and the dinner conversations that were not taking place. She glanced once more at her notes.
"Well, I think the kid's dead in the water. No doubt in my mind. He'd better enjoy the Corvette while he still has his hands free."
Jim continued typing and the conversation stalled. Ellen settled back into her chair and glanced around the office. The newsroom was a microcosm of the outside world and it pulsed with a heartbeat all its own. If a story was breaking anywhere-from Pensacola to Pennsylvania, Pasadena to Pakistan-it was breaking at the office of the Miami Times.
The room held twenty-four centers, each with eight computer stations manned by hungry reporters. By late afternoon, most of the reporters were seated at their desks, tapping out whatever information they had collected earlier in the day.
Like the product it produced, the newsroom was broken into sections. News, sports, entertainment, religion, arts, and editorial. Each department had its physical place in the office and operated independently of the others but for the constant relaying of information to and from the city desk located at the center of the room.
Despite the hum of activity from the other sections, Ellen knew it was the editors at the city desk who ultimately made up the life force behind the paper. They had the power to destroy a local politician by placing his questionable use of campaign funds under a banner headline on the front page instead of burying it ten pages into the paper. A plan to expand the city's baseball stadium could be accepted or rejected based on the way the editors chose to play it in print.
Stories from around the world poured into the office through computerized wire services while editors sorted through reams of information and argued about whether children starving in Uganda was a better lead story for the World News section than Saddam Hussein's latest threat against American armed forces. Whatever was deemed worthy of writing was passed on to the other reporters.
It was a powerful job-one where perspective was difficult to maintain. At the Miami Times, editors did not walk in the same hurried fashion as reporters. They sauntered, carrying with them an unmistakable aura of importance and often causing reporters to shrink in their presence.
Except for the editors, Ellen's peers at the Times generally enjoyed their jobs, thriving on the kind of pressure that causes stress disabilities in other people. Angry sources, missing information, daily deadlines, mistakes in print ... the reporters would have taken it all in stride if not for the wrath of the Times's editors. Among media circles, the Miami Times's editorial staff had a reputation for being demanding and difficult to work for.
Reporters at the Times credited one man with earning that reputation for the paper: managing editor Ron Barkley.
For three years Barkley had been in charge of the Times's news desk. Every section of the paper had at some time come under his scrutiny, but he paid particularly close attention to the front section. Stories that made the front section were produced by Barkley's general assignment reporters, a handful of the paper's best writers who gathered and crafted stories that did more than entertain readers. Front-page news changed lives. The real news, Barkley called it.
If anyone knew Barkley's wrath, or the impossibility of his demands, it was the general assignment reporters. His presence among them had caused more than a little grumbling in the newsroom. Ellen had even heard talk of a union forming to combat what some reporters considered inhumane treatment.
Ellen had once interviewed J. Grantham Howard, the paper's owner, for a piece about the Times's evolution over the years. Howard had acknowledged the friction between Barkley and his staff and told Ellen he kept himself apprised of the situation. Certainly the owner understood that Barkley did not make conditions pleasant for his reporters. But Howard was a multimillionaire with a keen business sense and he readily admitted he was not about to disturb the very successful chemistry in the newsroom.
Howard told Ellen he'd kept a close eye on Barkley and found him to be as brilliant as he was demanding. In the years since Howard had hired the managing editor, circulation numbers had reached more than a million on Sundays and advertisement rates had nearly doubled. The same thing had happened at the paper Barkley had run in New York, and Howard believed the editor was the common denominator. Still, whenever Howard would visit the newsroom, Ellen had seen him cringe at the way Barkley treated the staff. Especially her.
"Barrett!" Barkley would boom across the newsroom on occasion, shoving his chair away from his desk and rising to his full height of six feet, four inches. His eyes would blaze as he pointed toward his computer screen. "Get over here! We can't run that story unless you verify those things Jenkins told you. You wanna spend the rest of the year in court?"
His voice would echo off the fiberboard walls of the newsroom as other reporters busied themselves in their notes. Ellen knew they were empathizing with her and envying her at the same time. For all the grief she took from Barkley, Ellen knew the position she held at the paper. She'd heard it too often to doubt it: she was unquestionably the Miami Times's best reporter.
Ellen smiled, and glanced toward Ron Barkley's office. He thought Ellen feared him much the way her peers did. Her smiled broadened. Poor Ron would have been shocked had he known that his prize reporter really thought he was an emotional kitten of a man, a fifty-six-year-old gentle giant, whose rough exterior was only a cover-up for who he really was inside.
Ellen had been at the paper before Barkley's arrival. She had moved to Miami four years after earning her journalism degree from the University of Michigan and had been a sportswriter for a year before being promoted to the front page. When the Times hired Barkley, she heard rumors that he was hard to work for. She researched his background and found the names of several reporters who had worked for him in New York.
"Tough as nails," a senior reporter told her. "He'll yell and scream and throw a fit until you get the story perfect. But don't let him fool you."
And then the man told Ellen a story she had never forgotten. Ten years earlier Barkley's son had been a bright investigative reporter with a brilliant future in the business. The young man was driving home from the office one night when he was hit head-on by a drunk driver and decapitated. After that, there had been something different about Barkley's presence in the New York newsroom. He still sounded loud and acted angry, but there were times when he would be reading a story about somebody else's tragedy and suddenly start coughing.
"I'd catch him swiping at a tear or two when he thought no one was looking," the reporter said. "Eventually the memories were too much and he needed out of New York."
"You liked him?"
"I understood him. The man knows the stuff we write about is more than a way to fill a newspaper. Another thing. He's the best editor you'll ever work for. Ignore the rough package and listen to him. He'll make you a better writer than you ever dreamed."
That had been three years earlier, and Ellen had taken the reporter's advice to heart. When other writers fought with Barkley, Ellen Barrett gave in. When he demanded, she produced. When he screamed, she produced faster, nodding in agreement and accomplishing all he asked of her. She learned to rely on the man, ignoring his outbursts and allowing him to fine-tune her journalistic talent with each story. As a result, if Barkley got wind of a sensational tip or a front-page lead, he would always pass it to Ellen.
For her part, the effort paid off immensely. She was the highest paid reporter on staff and her name was known throughout Miami. Twice she had worked on Pulitzer-prize-winning articles and she was only thirty-one years old. She had no problem with the fact that the crusty veteran editor credited his editing practices as the cause of her success. Whatever the appearance of their working relationship, Ellen was not looking for sympathy. The situation suited her perfectly.
She flipped through her notepad and considered the homicide story on the screen before her. She wanted to scrap the whole thing and write a story blasting the dead man's son, painting him as the primary suspect. But that was impossible unless the police were at least headed in that direction. If only they'd arrest him and make it official.
She tapped her pencil on her notepad and wondered whether she should call Ronald Lewis, the sheriff 's homicide investigator. Earlier that morning she'd visited his office and he'd told her there were at least a dozen leads on the case.
"What exactly are you looking for, Lewis?" Ellen had asked impatiently. "The guy's son did it, and you know it."
Lewis had studied her thoughtfully for a moment. He trusted her. She was thorough and truthful and careful not to burn her sources, and he knew that. She'd made sure that when someone talked off the record with Ellen Barrett, the information never appeared in print. It had been a long road, but she had earned the department's respect-and Lewis was no exception. There were things he would tell her that he wouldn't consider sharing with another reporter.
"Listen, you're probably right," he had admitted finally. "But let me make the arrest first, will you?"
That was six hours ago, and now Ellen stared at her story knowing it was noticeably vague and really only half written. She reached for the telephone just as it rang. "It's about time, Lewis," she muttered, picking up the receiver. "Miami Times, Ellen Barrett."
"Ellen, it's me."
It was Mike. She relaxed and glanced at her watch. Five-fifteen. He would be home wondering when she was leaving work. Lately their schedules had been hectic; sometimes weeks passed without a single dinner shared together. But that was the price of being successful reporters, she supposed. The success they both had achieved before they married had continued and grown after the marriage. Mike knew the business well, and so had understood the long hours. He'd even been the one to encourage Ellen to keep her maiden name since that was the name people in the industry knew.
"Hey." She softened her tone. "How was your day?"
"Ellen ..." There was a long pause. "Ellen, I have bad news. Your dad's had a heart attack, honey. Your mom wants you to call right away. She's at the hospital in Petoskey."
Ellen felt the blood drain from her face and she hunched over in her chair, elbows on her knees, feeling like she'd been punched. A heavy pit formed in her stomach, and she pressed her fists into her midsection in an effort to make it go away. She felt nauseous. Dear God, help me. Deep breaths, Ellen. Take deep breaths and stay calm.
She had expected this phone call for as long as she could remember.
"He's alive, right?" Her voice betrayed none of what she was feeling.
"Sweetheart, I don't know anything. Your mom said for you to call her. I think you should come home."
She was silent a moment and Mike exhaled softly. "I should have waited until you were off work-" He broke off, then, "Are you okay?"
Ellen squeezed her eyes shut. "Yeah. I'll be home in a few minutes."
Friday was the day Sunday's front-page stories were filed and approved by the city desk. None of the general assignment reporters dared ask Barkley if they could leave before he cleared their Sunday stories. Even so, Ellen stood up, gathered her purse and her notes, and moved mechanically toward Barkley's desk.
He looked up as she approached. "What is it, Barrett?" he barked.
"Something's come up and I need to leave. My story's finished; it's in your file. I'll be at home."
Ellen studied Barkley, waiting, and she thought she saw a flicker of compassion. Maybe losing his son had enabled Barkley to tell when something equally devastating had happened in another's life. His response surprised her.
"Fine." Barkley's tone was almost gentle. He returned his eyes to the computer screen and stretched his long legs beneath his desk. "I'll call you."
Ellen turned, barely aware of her surroundings. She made her way to the elevator, and then to the parking garage outside where she climbed into her dirty, black convertible BMW. Vanity plates on the front and back read, RTNBYEB: "Written By Ellen Barrett." She switched off the car radio and screeched out of the parking lot, intent only on getting home.
"Please let him live," she whispered. "Please, God."
When Ellen pulled into the driveway of the two-story house she and Mike owned near the beach, he was waiting on the porch.
Even masked with deep concern, her husband's face was strikingly handsome. Marked by masculine angles and high cheekbones, punctuated with piercing pale blue eyes, Mike Miller's face looked like it belonged in a high-fashion advertisement or a cologne commercial. For some reason it seemed unfair that he should look virile and healthy when her father was fighting for his life eighteen hundred miles away.
"I'm sorry." He met her halfway down the sidewalk and nervously pulled her close, stroking her hair. "I've been praying."
Ellen remained stiff, unwilling to be comforted. Mike had never known how to deal with the emotional moments in their marriage, and she didn't want him practicing at a time like this. She refused to allow herself to break down. Her father was sick, but he was alive.
Excerpted from A KINGSBURY COLLECTION by KAREN KINGSBURY Copyright © 2005 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Karen Kingsbury, she is my favorite author. All three of these books will touch your heart. These books are so intense and wonderful, I can't even describe them.
All three books will touch your heart....
If you love Karen Kingsbury, then you will love A Kingsbury Collection. Three of Karen's best novels combined into one over-sized novel. This is a collection Karen's fans surely won't want to miss. A Kingsbury Collection includes: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side. Where Yesterday Lives tells the story of Pulitzer Prize winner, Ellen Barrett. Lost in her faith, struggling in her marriage and missing the past, Ellen longs for long ago times. Ellen returns home, after her father's recent death to find changes she wasn't expecting and a future God had planned, even though she had not. When Joy Came to Stay shares the story of the Stovall's. Ben and Maggie have a life most people dream about. What they don't have is the one thing that only sweet Amanda Joy can provide. This novel brings to life the faith of child who brings others closer to God in an unexpected way. On Every Side, newscaster Faith Evans finds herself telling the story of an one-hundred-year-old statue of Jesus. The statue stands in a small-town park. Jordan Riley supports the belief that this statue is a violation of the separation of church and state and wants to see the statue removed. Battle lines are drawn but can love overcome all? As with all of Karen Kingsbury's great novels, love and God bring others together, triumphing over all. Karen's books are sure to restore your faith and leave you wanting to read more. A Kingsbury Collection is available for $19.99 in paperback form.
A while back I received the “Kingsbury Collection” to review through “Blogging for Books” and Waterbrook Multnomah, a Christian publisher. This 700+ page collection has three complete books in it: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, and On Every Side. In Where Yesterday Lives, young professional Ellen Barrett returns home after her father’s sudden death from a heart attack. Ellen’s family (five siblings) has grown apart over the years. Outwardly they are polite and civil, but emotionally they are torn asunder by old rivals and jealousies, along with some painful memories and bitterness. Ellen’s marriage is currently on rocky soil and she returns to her hometown alone to face her family and a barrage of memories, including memories of her younger years with boyfriend Jake Sadler. It isn’t long before a very sad and lonely Ellen is reconnecting with the man she used to love, while trying to deal with her dysfunctional family and distant husband. I have to say, this is the first of Kingsbury’s works that I’ve read. I was drawn right into this story for various reasons, and was struck by how well Kingsbury captures the agony and inner turmoil that occurs when a parent dies suddenly. The build-up to Ellen contacting her old boyfriend had me wanting to yell: “Danger, Will Robinson!!” at her. At the essence of this story, however, is a message of forgiveness and hope and a reminder of the power of prayer and of faith. I really enjoyed it! In When Joy Came to Stay reporter Maggie Stovall is on the verge of a breakdown. She has spent years trying to forget and move on from some difficult and painful decisions that she made when younger. However, Maggie’s choice to not be truthful to her husband, or even to herself, about her past leads her to a collapse and time recuperating in a psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile, her husband is left to figure out what happened and why and begins to realize that his “perfect” wife may not be the same woman he thinks he knows. Again, a strong message here of forgiveness and self-forgiveness (which is often the toughest to achieve!), with a focus on the importance and power of faith. Just a note – this story had the feel of a Mary Higgins Clark suspense novel at times! The final story, On Every Side, Jordan Riley is an attorney working to take down a statue of Jesus in a public park (as a violation of the separation of church and state), while new reporter and child advocate Faith Evans (aptly named!) is working to somehow keep the statue up. Jordan has lost his faith due to hardships he suffered as a child, and the statue just happens to be located in his boyhood hometown. Who will win the battle? Kingsbury based this story, in part, on a similar true legal case involving a religious statue in a park. As I said earlier, this was my first experience reading Ms. Kingsbury’s books and I did enjoy them. Her work has strong Christian themes and her characters (some of them at least) are often struggling to reconnect with their faith. I like how “real” they seem, though, and the problems faced are often the ones we encounter in day-to-day life.
Being new to Karen Kingsbury’s books, I found this collection a great place to start, and feel I’ll be better able now to guess which of her stories I’ll like best. This set contains three novels, Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Cam to Stay, and On Every Side. The first is my favorite. Told from several points of view, it allows the reader deep into the minds and hearts of wounded characters hiding from their own hurts. Misunderstandings make perfect sense when seen in different lights, and the heartbreaks of an outwardly perfect family falling apart are neatly juxtaposed with hurts of past and present. A much-loved father has died and the children squabble, wondering who was loved more or less, or pondering why everyone else makes different assumptions about a relationship seemingly lost. As the funeral approaches, tensions rise, and a stranger prays. Coincidence feels natural, prayers’ answers are pleasingly subtle, and redemption comes on the heels of very plausible outbursts of despair. I enjoyed the unforced emotions and the wholly relatable relationships of this novel and could scarcely put it down. The second novel, When Joy Comes to Stay, tells of a seemingly perfect woman’s fall into depression. Secrets of the past have haunted her and come to dominate the present, but a perfect juxtaposition of events will bring new light to bear. I enjoyed the story but the coincidences annoyed me on occasion, reminding somewhat of Jodi Picault novels where message sometimes overwhelms the tale. If you love Jodi Picault and love Christian romance, this would be the perfect novel for you. On Every Side is based on real events where a small town was asked to remove a Jesus statue from a public park. The author does a good job of pointing out that not everyone who wants the statue removed is evil, and not all media are anti-Christian. But the references to anti-Christian media and politics in the story felt a little overwhelming to me. Perhaps it’s just living in Oregon, or having first lived in England, that gives me a different point of view—I feel like Christianity is very well-treated in American media, and references to God seem so frequent I can’t imagine editors are trying to remove them. The story’s good though. The characters are pleasing though the bad guys for the most part are somewhat shady and one-dimensional. And the resolution is very satisfying. I enjoyed the novel, but I’ll probably look more for something less political in future. A Kingsbury Collection forms a great introduction to the author’s writing, gives an excellent flavor for her different types of novels, and should have something to please all readers interested in trying out this justifiably popular Christian author. Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
This book took quite a long time to read considering the size, this compilation has three in one. The first book was quite depressing, and to be honest, I had a hard time getting through it. Since it took me so long to read the first one, I wasn't too thrilled to continue reading the others. Yes, the book was very well written, and yes the story was powerful, but it just was not my kind of book. Finally I delved into the second one and it actually piqued my interest right off the bat. Again the plot line was a bit sad, but it offered tremendous hope at the end. I enjoyed the second book. I had actually already read the third book before I had received the review book and I liked it when I read it. This book is not nearly depressing as the other two. It is a tense, but enjoyable plot line. Overall this compilation had a few good parts, but the book order could have been rearranged. The first book just turns away potential readers. I would suggest persevering to the last two books, or just skipping the first book. This has powerful stories, but do not be anticipating happy stories that lift your spirits. I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed all three stories in this book. I was with emotional though out the book. The first book is about learning to deal with death of a love one and learn to get though your marriage struggles of your marriage that you when though. The second book talks about depression and a bit about marriage struggles. This book also talks about telling the truth and adoption. This is quite a story and about foster care as well. The third story is about death as well and learning to trusting in good. Sorry for the lack on this it was hard to come up for each one and I really can not come with more.
This particular book is one of Karen's absolute best. The story is so incredibly gripping you literally wont be able to put it down! It will NOT disappoint for sure!
I have read many of Karen Kingsbury books. She holds my interest from beginning to end. I appreciate the strong Biblical messages she weaves throughout each book.
You are truly using God's gift to u to the max!
Her books are very inspirational. You can see yourself or someone near ou in some of the books. They are true to life examples of real life sitiations and solutions. KAREN KINGSBURY KEEP WRITING THESE GRAT BOOKS FOR YOUR READERS TO ENJOY.