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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Audible Book Review: One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury

This is a striking and engaging audio story.

One Tuesday Morning | [Karen Kingsbury]One Tuesday Morning
Genre: Inspirational Fiction
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Summary from Audible:
One Tuesday Morning
A devoted fireman and a driven businessman: strangers with the same face. Only one will leave the Twin Towers alive, but will he ever find his way home?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, two men meet in a smoky stairwell of the World Trade Center. One is Eric Michaels, a driven financial manager from Los Angeles who has been busy climbing the corporate ladder, often at the expense of his wife and young son. The other is Jake Bryan, a New York City fireman devoted to his wife and daughter. In the midst of the crisis, Eric falls on the stairs and Jake stops to help him up. The two men freeze momentarily, stunned by the uncanny resemblance between them.

Later, after the building has crumbled to the ground, Eric awakes beneath a fire truck. He is burned and bloody and most of his clothes have been blown off. A fire captain rushes to his side, thinking he recognizes his friend Jake. By the time Jake's wife arrives at the hospital, Eric's face is bandaged and his memory gone.

In the months that follow, Eric struggles to relate to a wife and daughter he doesn't remember, while on the opposite coast Eric's real wife grieves and finds comfort from Eric's brother, a single man who has always adored her. The emotional suspense builds as Eric begins to have disturbing dreams and flashbacks, and questions grow in Jake's wife's mind.

The only way for Eric to find his way is by following the love of a special woman, and the footsteps of a man who no longer exists.
Review: I liked the basis for this story and found it to be an engaging listen.
The first couple of hours of the story are spent developing the characters and this seemed to move slowly but it is important to set the personalities.  Eric is a man who fails to appreciate his family as he is only focused on his career and success. His wife is a Christian and it is only her faith that has kept her from taking their son, who feels as if he has no father, and walking away from her marriage.  Jake, on the other hand, is a devoted Godly man who cherishes his wife and daughter above all things. He prays for his wife, Jamie, to come to salvation and trust in God and feels that she is leaning toward that acceptance. These extreme differences play a big factor in the story after the 9/11 attack.

Once the story hits the terror attack on September 11 it becomes very active and intense.  Jake is steadfast with his coworkers climbing the stairs in the second tower even though they realize they may never walk out.  Eric finally leaves his boss and heads down the stairs.  He stumbles along the way and is helped up by Jake. In that encounter he sees the picture of Jake’s daughter, Sierra, in Jake’s helmet.  When Eric awakens in the hospital all he remembers is Sierra, nothing more.

The intensity of the action dies down in the final third of the book as Eric struggles to find himself in the position and life of Jake. There is great emotionally turmoil for Jamie and a tender friendship that develops between Eric, presumed to be Jake, and Jamie, as they try to piece together his past and their lives.  There is also turmoil for other wives who lost their spouses in the attack. There is hope and tenderness as the story resolves.

There were multiple readers and unfortunately the female narrator read with a lot of swallowing  and as though she was reading around a lozenge which can be distracting.  I recognized one of the male narrators who I really liked.

This is a powerful story that I think many people could appreciate.

Sheila at Book Journey was reading this also and we agreed to share our reviews. Thanks for sharing Sheila! She asked me these questions:

Q1. Initially the book had come into publication in May of 2003.... not two years after the real attacks.  Do you think that was too soon?  Do you feel this book could have been used as a healing mechanism for those who have painful memories or losses during the events of 9-1-1, or was it a painful reminder?
I thought that the portrayal of the crash from a “ground zero” view was quite powerful. I myself was not fully aware of the extent of the loss of life in the fire crews. I think this story might have been too raw for some in 2003 but for others there might be great healing in the faith messages.

Q2.  Did you find this story believable?
Ah- The families presented and the attack scenes are completely believable.
I did however have some issues on the issue of the mistaken identity.  I questioned that there was no wedding ring on Eric to distinguish him from Jake and no body mark, birth mark that was distinguishing. I could understand the Fire Chief jumping to the assumption this was Jake but I had a harder time with Jamie, his wife, accepting this. It was understandable initially because of the look-a- like aspects and the fact that she would want him to be alive. She did have a few doubts but managed to rationalize them away.  Also I questioned how they were managing for months without income while Jake/Eric did not return to work.

Q3.  Do you plan to continue the series with the second book/audio - Beyond Tuesday Morning?
I was not even aware that there was a second in the series. I enjoyed this book and would be interested to see how Jamie and Sierra move forward from grief to living again.

I asked this question - but did not get this Sheila in time for her post as I failed to catch her last two emails in time to realize we were posting today (August 4).
Did you feel that the faith based issues were blended easily in the story or did some feel forced (more preachy)?
I felt, even as a follower of Christ, that parts of the early story seemed to hit a little heavy on Bible which might turn off some potential readers.  Later in the book parts of the message of faith were naturally blended  from Jake’s journal and I really liked that. I also liked the salvation message although again I thought this might be too “preachy” for some readers/listeners.  In these circumstances I sometimes feel that a book like this might end up “preaching to the choir.”

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