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Just Beyond the Clouds    by Karen Kingsbury Amazon.com order for
Just Beyond the Clouds
by Karen Kingsbury
Order:  USA  Can
Center Street, 2007 (2007)
Softcover

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* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

Although I read a good bit of Christian fiction, I had only heard about Karen Kingsbury's elegant and captivating writing until I read Just Beyond the Clouds. Now I am sold on the author whom many tout as the best Christian fiction writer out there.

Although this novel is a sequel to A Thousand Tomorrows, it can easily stand alone; I had no idea it was a sequel until I saw the author's note in the back. Kingsbury takes a character from the prequel, Cody Gunner, and continues his story a few years in the future. It has been five years since Cody lost his rodeo-loving wife Ali to cystic fibrosis. He gave her everything he had, including his lung, and is determined he won't ever get over her despite his young age. Elle Dalton was jilted at the altar and embarrassed terribly by the secret her fiancÚ harbored. She is convinced she's better off without men at all, and lives with her mother and sister, who has Down Syndrome.

Elle runs a center for adults with Down Syndrome, including her sister Daisy and Cody's brother Carl Joseph; she helps train the students to be able to live independently. When Cody returns home from a season at the rodeo and finds his brother enrolled in this school, he is furious and anxious to show the teacher a thing or two. What he doesn't expect is his attraction to the teacher.

Kingsbury takes a typical romantic situation (both against romance, both have misunderstandings that keep them from pursuing the relationship) and makes it a beautiful story by getting into the minds of people with Down Syndrome. As Carl Joseph and Daisy develop a romance, Elle and Cody see how simple things can really be. I thought Just Beyond the Clouds was whimsical, just as the title suggests, and a perfect antidote to a rainy Saturday.

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