Karen Kingsbury’s novels have found success with both Christian and secular audiences. Her novel The Bridge was even adapted into a successful film by the Hallmark channel. Much of Kingsbury’s success, Christian book review writers suggest, comes from her ability to write stories that connect with her audience not just emotionally, but spiritually as well. Her equally successful work, The Chance, is yet another example of the author’s ability to create a Christian novel that tells a touching story full of drama, heartache, and healing, all the while building it on a spiritually uplifting foundation.
At a glance, The Chance recounts the romance of Ellie and her childhood friend, Nolan. Readers are given a window into the characters’ shared past, where they grew up together in rural, picturesque Georgia. Kingsbury’s writing strongly conveys the scenery and successfully transports the reader into the world of the story.
As children, Ellie and Nolan wrote letters to each other and buried them beneath a tree in a metal box, with a promise to return together in 11 years’ time to dig up and read the notes together. With that date soon approaching, the story returns to the present lives of the characters, where they both struggle to find contentment as adults.
Ellie has lost her faith in God and struggles to make ends meet while caring for her daughter. Meanwhile, while Nolan has kept his faith despite several personal tragedies and achieved fame in the NBA, he struggles with loneliness and a deep longing to reconnect with his childhood friend, for whom he has romantic feelings.
As a Christian novel, The Chance succeeds in telling a clean, pure romance without the salacious and needlessly graphic details common in secular romance novels. Nolan’s love for Ellie never outshines his love for God, and in that respect he is an ideal example to both men and women of strong Christian morality. Nolan, Christian book review sources note, works as a source of inspiration because, in spite of the tragedies that beset his rise to fame, his faith remains firm. It’s this message that stands out most strongly in the novel.
Ellie is an excellent depiction of the opposite, a person who’s struggles have caused her to question her relationship with God. Ellie’s character development is an excellent source of inspiration for readers struggling with their own faith.
The book isn’t without its criticisms. While the plot is enjoyable, it does drag at some points which, given the book’s near 400 pages, isn’t surprising. It also falls into the realm of predictability, which is common for books of the genre.
The Chance is a heartwarming story with the thoroughly Christian message that, while God is always guiding us towards our happily-ever-after, so to speak, the road there is not without struggles, pitfalls, and disappointments. However, through earnest prayer, trust in God’s wisdom, and a willingness to step out in faith, Christians can persevere.
Ultimately, The Chance has a lot to offer readers, including:
- A Christian message of redemption and reconciliation
- Clean, uplifting romance
- Characters with struggles Christians can relate to
As no book is without flaws, readers might be put off by
- A predictable plot
- Occasionally slow pace