Since receiving so many author recommendations for fiction a couple of weeks ago, I've been checking books out of the library and doing a bit more reading. I wait till the evening, when others in my family are doing other things, then I sit down to read a bit. Last night, after church and a quick bite of dinner, I picked up A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury. I read half of it last night. I read the other half this morning. I couldn't put it down!
A Thousand Tomorrows is the story of champion bull rider Cody Gunner and beautiful, mysterious barrell racer Ali Daniels. Both of them have secret reasons driving their rodeo competitions, and neither of them is interested in finding love. But the day comes when Cody and Ali discover each other and come to experience a deeper love than either of them could have imagined.
Cody and Ali's story is deeply touching. It is full of courage and character in the face of overwhelming odds in both the competitive world of rodeo and in their personal lives. The love they experience is pure, wholesome, and selfless, changing Cody from an angry boy into a caring, unselfish man. There's plenty of action; if you are interested in the rodeo at all, this story will draw you right in! And if you're not interested in the rodeo . . . this story will still draw you in with its fast-paced action.
Although I enjoyed this book immensely, I was very disappointed that it did not portray any saved people nor present the gospel at any point. The characters are good, moral people, and there is a hint that one of them may have gotten saved at some point in time, but there is no clear gospel witness. The addition of a godly faith, repentance, and restoration would have made this an outstanding book. As it is, it is merely inspirational - a nice, feel-good read, but nothing that would help a person find peace and strength for living . . . and certainly none for facing death.
The only reservation I have about recommending this book is that it includes some scenes describing kissing and close physical contact between the main characters, along with the feelings that arise from those actions, something that we are teaching our daughter to save for after marriage. By most standards, the scenes were not offensive, and I was not offended by them myself; I just wouldn't recommend it for teen girls. Even with those scenes, the story is clean and wholesome, and most people would not be offended by the physical contact in the story. It isn't gratuitous, but it's there. A Thousand Tomorrows is the best I've read of Karen Kingsbury, and I would definitely recommend it as a light, enjoyable read.