Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Amazon Kindle Store
Summary (from Goodreads): The answers Bailey Flanigan once longed and prayed for are finally becoming clear. In Loving, the fourth and final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Bailey is planning a wedding and making decisions that will shape her future. Bailey enjoys the beginning of her new career and time spent with Brandon while Cody faithfully coaches his team on and off the field. Will she spend her life with Brandon Paul in Los Angeles, or will her heart draw her back to Bloomington, Indiana and Cody Coleman, her first love? Bailey has learned much and grown over the years, but the greatest challenges, the richest joys, and the deepest heartaches are still to come. Featuring members from Karen Kingsbury's popular Baxter family, Loving completes Bailey and Cody's story --- the finale thousands of fans have been waiting for.
I began to scroll down and read the reviews. This wasn't going to end the way I had hope it would all these years. I actually debated whether or not I should even purchase it because I was so upset about it. But, I couldn't do that to Karen. She had her reasons, and I was going to show my support either way, being the loyal reader that I am.
Normally, I read through a Karen Kingsbury book in a day. A day and a half at most. Knowing how this was going to end, it seriously took me over a month to get through this book. I would lay my kindle down on my lap, look at my husband in desperation and say, "this isn't how it's supposed to be! I just don't know if I can finish it!" Yes, I am one of those that feel like these are real people.
I'm glad that I knew the ending beforehand, because although it took time, eventually I started becoming more accepting of the fact that Bailey was going to choose Brandon. And because Karen decided to minimize the character of Cody and maximize the character of Brandon, it became more bearable.
The thing is, with everything Cody had gone through between almost losing his life overseas, losing Cheyenne, and even losing Bailey for a while...you would think he would've had some epiphany that life was too short, keep those you love close....fight for them and never let go, especially Bailey. He wouldn't just shrug his shoulders and move on with his life...that's not the Cody Coleman we all knew! Andi was a bit random, but even making her and Brandon a couple would've made more sense.
I'm still really torn about this series...by the end of it I was able to like the character of Brandon a lot more, but if I didn't know she was going to pick him the whole time, I probably would've been a lot more devastated.
I give a painful 3 star rating because I still think that Karen wrote within the same context we all love her for: Faith, Family, and Love. However, I think the storyline throughout the Bailey Flanigan series started off strong, but slowly became weaker as Karen was trying to decide which direction to take Bailey. I feel like it became too much like a repeat of Katy and Dayne's story. Although it worked for them...and although I know you don't always end up with your first love, I think Bailey Flanigan and Cody Coleman could have easily had a successful "first love" story that could've been one of the sweetest of them all.
Totally Team Cody,