Customer Reviews: Oceans Apart
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on August 23, 2005
I have good news for readers who are Karen Kingsbury fans, and even better news for readers who are not: this is far and away the best novel I've read by this bestselling author of something like 30 books. It's a powerful story of forgiveness, reconciliation and grace, wrapped up in a genuine page-turner. And if you've never read Kingsbury before, this is the one to start with.

The promotional material from Zondervan, including the synopsis on the back cover, refers to the "perfect" life of airline captain Connor Evans and his wife, Michele, and their two daughters. Frankly, that word is an immediate turn-off for me; it implies shallow, stereotyped characters, an overdone scenario, and unimaginative writing. If I hadn't been assigned to read this book, I probably would have ignored it.

The Evanses may have a decent and privileged life, but it's not a perfect life, the kind populated with cardboard characters. These are real people who happen to have it pretty good until an airline crash in the Pacific shakes things up for them in Florida. That's when Connor discovers that an indiscretion years earlier resulted in more than a good time. He has a son, and he has a choice: forget about him and pretend the one-night stand with the boy's mother never happened, or come clean with his wife, meet his son, Max, for the first time, and make Max a part of their family, at least temporarily.

One of the elements that sets this book apart is the light hand the author uses throughout. She skillfully weaves in the faith message and allows the story to unfold naturally. It's not until late in the book that we learn the circumstances that led to Connor's unfaithfulness; it would have been so easy, and ultimately so unsatisfying to the reader, to place those scenes early on in the book in an effort to simply get them out of the way. Nothing about OCEANS APART feels "wrong"; even the Florida setting rings true, which isn't always the case in the hands of non-native writers.

The forgiveness theme in particular never feels forced or superficial. So much forgiveness is needed on so many levels, and Kingsbury lets the process that leads to forgiveness develop over time. Equally impressive is the way she handles the theme of "second chances," and not just with regard to the obvious second chance that Connor needs. All of this reflects a multilayered effort on the author's part, and one that she carries off well.

Readers who have found some of Kingsbury's plots to be implausible --- ONE TUESDAY MORNING and its sequel, BEYOND TUESDAY MORNING, come to mind --- should be pleasantly surprised with the achingly realistic story line in OCEANS APART. And the characters --- you just may find yourself loving Max and respecting each of the major characters, along with the decisions they end up making.

OCEANS APART won the ECPA Gold Medallion Award for fiction, which means it was selected as the best novel of 2004 by both retailers and a panel of independent judges. It's certainly the best, or among the best, from Kingsbury, and the accolades it has received should encourage her to maintain the higher standard she set for herself with this book.
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on March 6, 2005
Conner and Michele Evans seem like the couple that have it all. Great home, loving daughters and their whole lives ahead of them. But Conner has something that he has been hiding from Michele. Seven years ago he had an affair that resulted in a child, Max. Now Max is alone in the world and he needs a family. But is the Evans family it?

This was the first book that I read by Karen Kingsbury and I really enjoyed it. Ms. Kingsbury gave real emotions to her characters. She also showed about faith and forgiveness and how it is important to ones life. Overall, I would be interested in reading more from Karen Kingsbury.
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on September 1, 2008
I usually like Karen Kingsbury books but this was just too much. The characters were so unreal. The seven year old boy was perfect. Totally unlike a normal seven year old especially going through the loss of his mother.

The book was way too mushy for my taste. It was also too predictable. An affair in a marriage is devastating. Not something that can be fixed in a few weeks.

The other thing that really bothered me what the way she wrote when the boy was talking. I really didn't like the little kid talk she wrote in. Everything was "my mommy"... or some mispronounced word. It was kind of like reading Junie B Jones.

I did not like this book.
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on April 24, 2015
at a HUGE disappointment. The author spent so much time trying to make the husband (and mistress) sympathetic, she forgot to make him repentant! I spent the whole book waiting for him to see the devastating impact of his sin, but I waited in vain. Especially as the author seemed to be working just as hard to portray a reality in which there were none. She couldn't seem to make up her mind about which petty excuse would get the reader to accept this philanderer. Was it "I thought it was my wife" excuse? Or the "thrown together by circumstances but I wasn't really attracted to her" excuse? The "he really loved her (but apparently only for one night) excuse that both he and the wife tell the kids? or the one I found to be the most disturbing....the subtle but eerie unspoken implication tht God somehow WANTED and willed this to happen...? That one was just creepy!!! It would have been better to leave him unlikeable but RESTORED. the way she does in her other series, REDEMPTION

In the end, everyone paid the consequences for the husband's sin but him; and everyone repented and made peace with God but him. HIs only time of sorrow was spent moping that he can't have His way in keeping his "boy"; which seems to be the greatest value that he has...that it's a boy instead of a girl. This is not the way marriages are restored. in real life, the consequences of infidelity are devastating...and not patched up in two weeks moping he does that he can't have His way in keeping his "boy"; which seems to be the greatest value that he has...that it's a boy instead of a girl. by a pouting adulterer and a self-blaming wife.
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on April 11, 2004
Karen Kingsbury continues her string of amazing writings with Oceans Apart. Once again, I couldn't put this book down, and my husband was amazed at how fast I read. Secrets can destroy anyone, and it almost happens here. God's grace and love are personified in Oceans Apart. Max is so innocent and wise, and everyone will learn from his trusting heart. Kiahna's plans for her son may tear apart a family, yet God intervened. Have that comfy chair and box of tissues once again as you read and appreciate the gift that God has given Karen Kingsbury.
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on October 23, 2005
Kingsbury makes you think about how you would react about life situations. After reading one of her books, you put your faith and beliefs in check. As with all of her books, I leave several tear soaked pages and pass them on to my daughters to read, who in turn pass them on to their friends, who pass them on to their mothers!! It's a great way to share God's love.
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on January 9, 2016
Nope. Nope. Nope. I have such a high expectation for this book, but it disappointed me SO MUCH. For those of you who do not want to read spoilers, please stop reading because I'm going to be ruthless.

The main plot of the book is this: Husband had an "unintentional" affair with a girl who once had a potential to be so much more. Said girl didn't know that Hero was married and she was expecting that after what happened between the two of them, they'll be having a relationship. After finding out that no, there couldn't be any commitment between the two of them, the girl moved on, albeit heartbroken. The hero moved on as well, and he went back to his wife who was also struggling with something which I do not want to elaborate on.

Everything went back to normal except the girl back home got pregnant and was catapulted into a future she didn't originally want. The inevitable happened and they found out about the child. The wife of the hero was devastated, which in my opinion was a natural reaction. In fact, she was the only character who acted like human. The husband was adamant that she should just accept what happened and move on to the point that he seemed to not understand why his wife was upset. Their children accepted the child right away, and by god the product of the affair was so, so mature! No child should ever be that understanding.

I also do not like the concept that the girl whom the hero had an affair with was portrayed as a "saint". It was like, oh she could have ruined your family, but she didn't and you should be all thankful to her. I felt like if the heroine won't accept the child, she would be viewed as a monster when, let's face it is really a tough decision to accept it.

And the highlight of it all was the hero's want to have a son. Ha! his life is complete and he's happy (before the whole ordeal), but because the child was a boy, it would be such a waste to let others adopt him. To top it off, his son is also a saint in the making, so why let him go?

Don't get me wrong -- should this happen in real life, I would expect the father to fight for his child (regardless of gender), but I know that no husband should ever EVER put pressure on her wife like that.
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on December 2, 2015
I loved this book. So many times I've had the feelings that Kiahna had before boarding her flight. Most of the time I've learned that they were telling me something. I felt so bad for Max. He was only a child and didn't understand so much about life. His mom adored him more than life. God had a plan for Max though to fulfill his life completely. There were times when I was so angry at Michele I had to put the book down. It's only because I've forgiven much more in my life than what she had to endure. She was being so selfish. She didn't want to know anything but her hurt feelings. Naturally she came around and Connor and the girls got their brother and Max could keep his beloved dog. It truly is a book of forgiveness. I learned a lot about myself......I am very forgiving and I'm so happy I have that ability. This was a wonderful book and I wanted to learn more about Connor and his new son.......this book could go on to a second book.
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on January 4, 2016
LOVE LOVE LOVE... it was such a sad story, and as a mom of three boys I found it hard to read, but I knew based on previous Karen Kingsbury stories I've read that the portrayal of God's message would come through loud, and profoundly clear and I wasn't disappointed. Another one that I finished with dramatic tears of joy and assurance of God's promises.... thanks again Karen.
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on July 6, 2004
This was the second book that I have read by Karen Kingsbury, and I gladly admit that she is the best writer when it comes to real life issues. My husband laughed when I cried endlessly while reading this (he hates reading ficiton), but little did he know how incredibly real it seemed. Somehow Kingsbury always creates such unending depth in her characters and their stories, that I can't but stand in awe of the gift God has given her for writing. What an incredible ministry. Thank you Karen Kingsbury.
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