Karen Kinsgbury,
A Thousand Tomorrows
(Center Street, 2005)

True love wins after a series of bitter losses and misunderstandings and it's all that much sweeter for it. Author Karen Kingsbury knows how to develop empathy for her characters that lasts throughout A Thousand Tomorrows. She brings together, from out of their contrasting worlds of love and pain, loneliness and loss, two young rodeo riders.

In theory, many teens and young adults carry secrets around with them that they feel make them less than human or less of a person, and this point is made clearly in the book. And as in life, that feeling sometimes drives them to be fulfilled in awesome and courageous ways. Though their problems may not be typical, the emotions that result from them are.

Within the comfort zone of the rodeo, the two characters, Ali Daniels and Cody Gunner, are stars. Outside of the rodeo their lives are a struggle. Kingsbury is adept at pulling on our heartstrings by creating situations, but doesn't delve deeply into character. The writing is simple and would appeal to teens, perhaps some romantic-minded young adults, and because this is the level of romance I read in high school, I'd say a lot of women in the 40-70 age bracket would have an enjoyable sense of nostalgia when they'd read this tale of young romance.

This book has an elegant, smooth book-jacket in a cool, serene light blue, and inside, large print for ease of reading. The cover design is a bit off base in my view; it's rather more spiritual and mysterious looking than the actual story which has a very straightforward and practical sensibility.

A Thousand Tomorrows tells a sweet, romantic, and inspirational tale without offensive language. It's a relaxing read, easy on the mind and soul, and yet may inspire us to look at people who suffer from illnesses in a new light. So often, easy reads do not deal with disadvantages of illness and disability. The characters in this book are at an age of discovery. They already know and have developed toughness in themselves; through Kingsbury's gift they get a chance to explore togetherness and discover tenderness.

If you collect or share inspirational romance, this one will look beautiful on your shelf or as a gift. If you read them like water, however, the price may be a bit steep.

by Virginia MacIsaac
19 November 2005