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{Reader's Review} The Bailey Flanigan Series

AUTHOR: Karen Kingsbury
GENRE: Christian Fiction Novels
PLOT: Bailey Flanigan is the oldest Flanigan child and the only girl. Growing up in Bloomington, Indiana as the daughter of a former NFL player and big time coach, she has learned to love her home and has blossomed in the nurturing, Christian environment her parents have provided. After attending the University of Indiana for theatre, she is readying herself to fly off to New York and pursue a career on Broadway, something Bailey has dreamed of since she was a young girl. Of course, leaving means separating herself from the people she loves, even if only for a while, and this is the hardest part. She must leave behind two significant people:  her boyfriend Brandon Paul, the hollywood heartthrob, and a young man from her past, Cody Coleman. Leaving her home behind, she must also choose to leave her heart to the Lord, for He knows the plans He has for her, and that plan just might include her name in lights on the New York City Stage. The ride won't be easy, but she knows the Lord will see her through.

***Leaving is the first of four books in the Bailey Flanigan Series. The others include Learning, Longing, and Loving.

MY THOUGHTS: I first picked up Leaving at the Library last summer and after reading the first three pages I noticed a few things: (1) the main character's name was Bailey (how had I missed that when I checked it out??), (2) she was pursuing a career in theatre (crazy coincidence or what?), and (3) there was a back story to this series that I wanted to know. The Bailey Flanigan Series is the fifth series in a set of series by Karen Kingsbury, all centering around two families living in Bloomington. Throughout the books, we follow Bailey as she grows from being a timid but beautiful fifteen year old, to a confident twenty-something following her dreams and finding the love of her life.

It was pretty amusing to read about another Bailey whose life was so similar to mine and yet so different. I loved reading another's perspective on what it means to be a Christian in the theatre world and how to keep true to your values while sharing the love of Jesus in what is often a dark place. If anything, these books made me stronger in my convictions to pour into the theatre realm as well as reminded me of why I love doing what I do. The Lord uses our gifts to bring both us and Him joy as well as to further his Kingdom. Bailey Flanigan was a great example of that.

There were many twists and turns in her story, even back from the beginning. I grew with her, ached for her, cheered her on and cried for her many times. These books have a special place in my heart and in this season of life for me. I highly recommend them, but I would suggest starting from the first series and following through them all. I enjoyed the journey with the Flanigan and Baxter families very much.

MY RATINGFive out of five stars, without a doubt. I'd give it a sixth if I could, and you know, I just might! :)

THE SET OF SERIES:  The Redemption Series: Redemption, Remember, Return, Rejoice, Reunion. The Firstborn Series: Fame, Forgiven, Found, Family, Forever. The Sunrise Series: Sunrise, Summer, Someday, Sunset. The Above the Line Series: Take One, Take Two, Take Three, Take Four. The Bailey Flanigan Series: Leaving, Learning, Longing, Loving.

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