Author: Katie Powner
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: October 11, 2022
Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.
When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle's financial company, he's determined to exceed everyone's expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.
At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.
After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near?
Reviewer: Linda Klager
I love Katie Powner's books! She is one of my favorite authors.
Eric Larson was sent to a tiny town in Montana to work at Larson Financial. Eric has difficulty fitting into the job because everything is very different from what he was used to in Seattle. Eric likes to live largely, and this town is too rural for him. Eric wants to prove to his uncle that he can surpass the revenue of a former worker. The people of Tukston, Montana, just want to ensure their families are taken care of. They don't care about making a lot of money.
He meets his neighbor next door, and Eric learns many valuable lessons throughout their getting to know each other. Eunice Parker is very ill and is dying. Eunice has a list of people she must speak to before the end. She needs to ask for their forgiveness. God has revealed to Eunice that she needs to do this. Eunice met Eric because of an unfortunate accident and made Eric feel guilty so that he would help Eunice. He is to drive her to each person's home.
There are many adventures along the way, and even a fire that gets out of control. Many lives and homes are in danger.
Some humorous parts of the book include Eric talking to a chicken named Cinderella.
Eric wants to go back to his life in Seattle, but because of the influence of Eunice and others, he is not sure that is really what he wants anymore.
I received this book courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Raechel Kelly
This is a beautiful and touching novel. Well written, and it wasn't hard to become involved in the story at once. This was my first time reading a novel by the author, but I appreciate her writing style and would like to go back and read her previous books.
I loved all the characters and all of their quirks. Cinderella, the chicken, was also one of my favorite aspects of this story, and I would love to see some of the scenes from this book come to life.
Eric and Eunice are very different characters, and yet their lives become connected. They form a peculiar but very endearing friendship. What I particularly appreciated about each of them was their realness. Eric was very egoistic and shallow at first. Eunice also had her flaws. And yet...they were so genuinely human, and they both grew so much through this story in a realistic way. I loved that.
Where the Blue Sky Begins does deal with a heavy topic of the prospect of dying, but it is handled with care and love, and there is still humor woven into the pages at the right amount. It made me both think and laugh in equal measure. And the ending - that was so cute. Very glad for the opportunity to read this novel.
This book was provided courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Cheryl Wood
Another remarkable story by Katie Powner. The author once again created a beautiful story with broken characters whose friendship brings healing to both.
Eric, who is from Seattle, moves to a small town in Montana without the bells and whistles of big-town living. He is always overdressed and looking for a good cup of coffee.
Eunice is a terminally ill woman who has a bucket list of people she would like to reconcile with before dying. A beautiful soul who becomes friends with Eric. A scooter and chickens bring these two unlikely people together on a journey of forgiveness and grace.
I loved the story! Make sure you have a box of tissues nearby.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Kristina Hall
Characters: I wasn't a big fan of Eric at first. He was shallow and egotistical. But I did warm up to him and enjoyed seeing him grow throughout the book. Eunice was an entertaining character. Even though she was terminally ill, she still had a sense of humor.
Moral/theme: Where the Blue Sky Begins featured themes of life and death, forgiveness, and friendship.
Plot: I'd say this was a more character-driven novel. That's not to say it dragged. Eunice and Eric's developing friendship and all their misadventures kept the plot moving right along.
Romance: Clean. Just a hint of romance at the very end.
Writing: Katie Powner's clear, descriptive writing style worked well for this book. I'm looking forward to reading more books by her in the future.
Overall: Where the Blue Sky Begins was an entertaining, thought-provoking read that I'd recommend to those who enjoy contemporary Christian fiction.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. My opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Where the Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner is a realistic look at life and the power of forgiveness. It was my first time reading one of her books, and it won't be my last.
Eunice Parker is dying, and her bucket list of wishes is to go to everyone she ever hurt, apologize, and ask for their forgiveness. It won't be an easy task when her days are filled with pain, and she is getting weaker. If only God would intervene.
Enter Eric Larson. He is new to town, full of himself and ready to make his mark in Tukston. What he calls "a sorry excuse for a town." The sooner he can leave, the better. But first, he meets Eunice by accident (literally), and he finds that getting stuck in Tukson might be the best thing for him.
I must admit, while I understood where the author was going with both characters, I found them both so disagreeable that I didn't like either one at first. This made it difficult for me to keep on reading. But I'm glad I did. I liked the character growth I saw in Eric. He went from being arrogant and narcissistic to actually see that other people existed and they mattered. But, while there was growth in Eric, I didn't see the same thing in Eunice. She would do something illegal with a feeble, "Sorry, God," hoping that would make things right because the end justified the means. I can't tell you what happened, but she didn't have to do what she did. I believe Eric would have helped her.
However, there were some moments that I'm sure will bring tears to the eye. And there was quite a lot of humour (mainly at Eric's expense, poor Eric). I loved how he was accepted by the town and how they tried to show him (in humorous ways) that he wasn't living in the city anymore. His growth really pushed the novel forward.
I loved this line by Eunice speaking to Eric, "In the end, it only matters where you stand with one person, and it's not your dad." Eunice had much to teach Eric if she had more time and if he would open his heart to really listen. And while Eric understood who Eunice was talking about, the author decided to leave it at that. This might seem like a missed opportunity to some readers. But the author has made a subtle yet significant point - don't waste your moments. If you know someone who needs God, talk to them. If you aren't right with God - get on your knees and ask for His forgiveness. He's waiting for you.
If you like hometown books with interesting and quirky characters, you will probably enjoy Where the Blue Sky Begins.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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