Authors: Karen Kingsbury
Tags: #FICTION / Christian / General, #FICTION / General
What Readers Are Saying about Karen Kingsbury’s Books
“My friend Shelley and I call your books ‘peanut butter books’ because when we start reading we just can’t stop, and our families know it’s peanut butter and jelly for dinner that night!”
“Everyone should have the opportunity to read or listen to a book by Karen Kingsbury. It should be in the Bill of Rights.”
“Karen Kingsbury’s books are filled with the unshakable, remarkable, miraculous fact that God’s grace is greater than our suffering. There are no words for Ms. Kingsbury’s writing.”
“Because I loaned these books to my mother, she BECAME a Christian! Thank you for a richer life here and in heaven!”
“When I read my first Karen Kingsbury book, I couldn’t stop. . . . I read thirteen more in one summer!”
“I have never read anything so uplifting and entertaining. I’m shocked as I read each new release because it’s always better than the last one.”
Let Me Hold You Longer
is breathtaking! My friend read this story to me—the first night we both left our new babies overnight. And by the end, the two of us were bawling. She bought me my own copy for Mother’s Day, and I read it to everyone . . . and each person cries as I read the words. I now buy it for every baby shower I go to. I think every parent should own or read this book. I read it as often as I can.”
“My husband is equally hooked on your books. It is a family affair for us now! Can’t wait for the next one.”
“I told my husband I want to pack up our home and three kids and move to Indiana and become a Baxter. . . . Your stories have touched my heart.”
“Every time our school buys your next new book, everybody goes crazy trying to read it first!”
“Recently I made an effort to find GOOD Christian writers, and I’ve hit the jackpot with Karen Kingsbury!”
“When Karen Kingsbury calls her books Life-Changing Fiction, she’s merely telling the unvarnished truth. I’m still sorting through the changes in my life that have come from reading just a few of her books!”
“I must admit that I wish I was a much slower reader . . . or you were a much faster writer. Either way, I can’t seem to get enough of Karen Kingsbury’s books!”
“I was offered $50 one time in the airport for the fourth book in the Redemption series. The lady’s husband just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in selling it. Through the sharing of Karen’s books with many of my friends, many have decided that contemporary Christian fiction is the next best thing to the Bible. Thank you so much, Karen. It is truly a God thing that you write the way you do.”
—Sue Ellen H.
“Karen Kingsbury’s books have made me see things in ways that I had never thought about before. I have to force myself to put them down and come up for air!”
“Karen, how did you get inside my head and heart to portray your characters so accurately? I identify with so many of the Baxter family in every one of the Redemption series! Due to all the tears I have shed in reading your books, I have enhanced the sales of tissues big-time. So in a word, between us we are helping the economy.”
Visit Tyndale’s exciting Web site at www.tyndale.com
Visit Karen Kingsbury’s Web site and learn more about her Life-Changing Fiction at www.KarenKingsbury.com
and Tyndale’s quill logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
BAXTER FAMILY DRAMA
is a trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008 by Karen Kingsbury. All rights reserved.
Logo illustration copyright © 2003 by David Henderson. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of couple copyright © by Image Source/Getty Images. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of geese over water copyright © by Julian Novorol/Getty Images. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of trees copyright © by Darwin Wiggett/Getty Images. All rights reserved.
Author photo copyright © 2004 by Shippert Photography. All rights reserved.
Designed by Jennifer Ghionzoli
Edited by Lorie Popp
Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc.,
7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Sunset / Karen Kingsbury.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8423-8758-3 (sc : alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 0-8423-8758-7 (sc : alk. paper)
To Donald, my prince charming
Can it be that we are celebrating our twentieth anniversary? I still see you as you were then, on that sunny July morning in front of our friends and family—love in your eyes and hope in your smile. You have marked these two decades with a sort of faith I never could’ve found on my own. From the early weeks of our marriage you believed God could do the impossible, and now . . . well, here we are. Impossible things have happened, and I thank God every day that among them he led Prince Charming to me. The years have flown by lightning fast—the births of our three babies, the moves from California to Arizona and finally to Washington, the adoption of our three Haitian sons, and the journey of seeing our oldest graduate this year. You and I hear songs now and then about the speed of life, and we look at each other with tears in our eyes. Yes, life really is a mist that appears for a little while. Only a little while. But today, when the vapors still shine brightly, while the voices of our children still fill our home, let’s hang on to every minute. That way, when the sunset of our years is upon us, we will have a million hours of memories to sort through, a million reasons to smile again. I love you, Donald. . . . You are my best friend, the one I lean on, the one whose stalwart faith is still the rock of our home. Yesterday I was that girl in my early twenties with a heart full of dreams, and God knew exactly the man who would take my hand and lead me toward them. Thank you for never wavering. I love you always and forever.
To Kelsey, my precious daughter
You are nineteen now, a young woman, and my heart soars with joy when I see all that you are, all you’ve become. We prayed that through the teenage years you would stay true to who you are, to your great faith in our Lord and Savior, and to the promise to keep yourself pure for God and for the young man He has waiting for you somewhere. Here, as you enter adulthood, we celebrate that God has answered our prayers, that you remain that one-in-a-million girl. Whether God leads you into a season of dancing or singing or acting, whether He takes you to a local stage or one far off, I know that these coming years will find you shining brightly for Him. And I know that our home will be a little less bright without you here. I am grateful you’re not rushing off just yet! The days of you and Tyler filling our house with song are too few as it is. But wherever God leads, know that you take a piece of home with you, and we will be cheering you on, believing that you will be that bright light for Christ you’ve always been. I love you, sweetheart. I couldn’t be more proud.
To Tyler, my lasting song
What a transition you’ve made, my precious oldest son. You’ve gone from the young middle school boy with stars in his eyes to a dedicated young man who now stands taller than his daddy. God has allowed you the lead role in a number of plays, and each time I’ve seen you grow not only in your ability to act and sing but in your faith as well. When I look at you today, I can see the man you’re becoming, one who is kind and loving, loyal and true. But one who is also strong in his convictions and purpose—much like your dad. You’re sixteen now, and I see you noticing the girls around you, sorting through their character traits and trying to understand the way females think and act. It’ll be a lifelong course, honey, but I’m so glad you’re sharing your thoughts with me along the way. “I’m not sure about her,” you’ll say. “She doesn’t believe like I do.” I smile to myself, once more seeing your father in you. God knows all these things, Ty. . . . Stay close to Him, and He’ll lead you to the right girl when the time is right. Until then, keep shining for Him. However your dreams unfold, I’ll be in the front row to watch it happen. Hold on to Jesus, Ty. I love you.
To Sean, my happy sunshine
Just yesterday you showed me a perfect score on your science test, and you and I shared a smile. Of all our kids, your A’s mean the most because you work the hardest for them. But here’s what makes your dad and me so very grateful: you try harder with every passing semester. You want to succeed, because you believe what we’ve always told you—to whom much has been given, much will be expected. And, Sean, we have been given so much. I know that among the great plans God has for your life, He has many, many more years of education. You are a very smart and gifted young teenager, and it warms my heart that the same intense effort you give on the soccer field and basketball floor you also give in the classroom. Wherever God leads you in the years to come, we’ll be cheering from the sidelines, Sean. I pray that God will use your great joy and positive spirit to always make a difference in the lives around you. You’re a precious gift, Son. Keep smiling and keep seeking God’s best for your life. Make sure the bar’s set high—not only at track practice. I love you, honey.
To Josh, my tenderhearted perfectionist
Every so often when you’re out there conquering the athletic world around you, I pray that you’ll never lose the kindness that was innately yours as a young child. And then something happens like what happened recently. There we were at one of Kelsey and Tyler’s plays, and it came time for the raffle drawing. The number was announced, and you held the winning ticket. But instead of rushing up for your prize, you handed it discreetly to Brooke, our friends’ young daughter. She gave you a quick smile and raced to the stage waving the ticket, fully thrilled to take the prize basket. Here’s the best part—you wouldn’t have told us. If Brooke’s mom hadn’t mentioned it, we never would’ve known. And so I smile when I see you win race after race, game after game, because I know that not only are you still the kind boy you were when you first came home to us, but you have learned to be kind with humility. How great a privilege it is to call you our son, Josh. I love you always.
To EJ, my chosen one
How wonderful this past season has been with you, EJ. It’s as if you are finally coming into your own, entertaining us with jokes and silly songs and opening up to us about your thoughts and dreams. We have always treasured your sweet nature and deep loyalty to our family, but watching you now, your dad and I are brimming with excitement over the direction your life is taking. We had a family meeting the other night, one of those talk sessions you kids sometimes tease us about. The subject was a reminder that sitting around the dinner table each night are the very best friends you’ll ever have—your sister and brothers. You’re a wonderful brother, EJ! Every day, every season, just give 100 percent, okay? Because God has great plans for you, and we want to be the first to congratulate you as you discover those plans. Thanks for your giving heart, EJ. I love you so.
To Austin, my miracle boy
Yesterday you did something that reminded me again of your special heart. You came through the door, a smile stretched across your face, your hands behind your back. You walked up to me, your eyes sparkling; then you held out a bouquet of dandelions. “Here, Mom. I picked these for you!” Your joy was untainted, the gift beautiful in your sight. And it was indeed! You had used one dandelion stem tied around the others so the other yellow buds stayed together. I held them to my nose and took a long sniff, and then I hugged you tight and said, “They’re the most beautiful flowers ever!” You grinned, thrilled with yourself for having done such a fine job and for making me so happy. With that you ran off to the kitchen, ready for a snack and a time of homework. I looked at the dandelions in my hands, and I blinked back tears. Then I set them down beside my keyboard and grabbed my phone, and before they could wilt even a little I took a picture of them. And in my heart I hoped that no one would ever tell you that dandelions are weeds. Thank you for your great love, Austin. . . . You are so special to us. I know that eleven years ago when you faced emergency heart surgery at just three weeks old, God spared you for a reason. Keep being that strong soldier for God, buddy. I love you always.
And to God Almighty, the Author of life,
who has—for now—blessed me with these.