A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck
Thomas Nelson, 307 pages
He’s a handsome billionaire. She’s not impressed.
Katie McKenna has never loved any man but one: billionaire Luc DeForges. He was her first love. But there are a billion reasons why she’s engaged instead to Dexter Hastings, a solid and stable man who wants the same things she does: marriage and a family but all of the things that she wants without the deep-seeded pain and fear of being abandoned that Luc brings.
Dexter and she have worked an arrangement that’s akin to faith without action, love without deeds — a dead faith. Going home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend’s wedding, Katie must search her heart to find out if any of her reasons for being with Dexter are stronger than love. Only when Katie steps fully into faith and jumps off the cliff of life into the arms of Luc does she understand the fullness of God’s grace.
Ah, marriage. And engagement. Two things that I never really thought much about up until my brother got married. Now it feels like everyone around me is getting engaged or married. How many old female high school friends have changed their surnames (or at least, added their husband’s surnames to their names? How many friends in high school and college have I seen change their status from “In a Relationship” to “Engaged”? Sometimes they take me totally by surprise, too, only because they seemed so timid and shy back when I know them and now they’re getting married and starting their own families. It doesn’t make me want to get married yet (well, maybe a teensy part of me wonders — just a small part, because hello, I don’t even have a boyfriend yet), but it makes me realize that maybe I am at that particular season of my life where everyone around me is getting married and I’m…not.
Talk about a chick lit novel. I knew my life can be qualified as a chick lit novel.
That may be one of the reasons I decided to read Kristin Billerbeck’s newest novel for Valentine’s weekend. Kristin Billerbeck wrote the Ashley Stockingdale series, one of my favorite Christian novel series, and I was thrilled to be able to request a copy of her newest book, A Billion Reasons Why, from Booksneeze.
Katie McKenna has been burned. Badly. She loved Luc DeForges with all her heart eight years ago, but he rejected her publicly, causing her to run away to build herself up again, even going to California shortly after her father died. Katie has found a new life in California with her best friend, teaching special kids. She was also about to be engaged to Dexter Hastings, a simple and stable man who wants to settle down and have a family like she does — basically everything that Luc is not. However, in comes Luc again, now a multimillionaire and still with an oozing charisma that Katie could not resist, asking her to sing for his brother’s wedding.
Truth be told, this felt a little bit harder to read to me compared to Ashley Stockingdale. The Ashley novels read a lot like Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series but with a geeky and Christian flavor. A Billion Reasons Why brought me into the world of New Orleans and 40′s music and movies, things that I am not too entirely familiar or fond with. This definitely had the author’s style, though — the over thinking heroine, the hot guy who knew the right words, the other, somewhat boring guy, the in-your-face best friend and the somewhat crazy mothers. I had a hard time following the story and though, because I was plunged right into the action from the start. I spent almost half of the book wondering what exactly Luc did that embarrassed Katie until it was finally revealed, and by then I felt like my attention has gone somewhere else, like reading about tattoo removal or something. It also felt that some characters were quite inconsistent with their affections, like Eileen, Katie’s best friend. She would rag on Luc then rag on Dexter, and she was really getting annoying at some point. Sometimes some of the characters felt a bit one-dimensional, particularly the one touted as the antagonist. It was an automatic dislike for the character from the very start. I think from the blurb alone, you know what’s going to happen and who Katie is going to choose, and it really didn’t give me much of a thrill when things unfolded in the book.
I wasn’t quite sure if I liked the book when I finished it because the entire story didn’t gel with me too much. I didn’t feel much of a deep connection with any of the characters, and the story, while cute and interesting, didn’t really give me too many “awww” or “aha” moments unlike the Ashley novels. Interestingly enough, I found that the book made much more sense a few days after I read it. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think Luc’s pursuit of Katie is the point. She was almost content with being someone she had to learn to love eventually than with someone she was in love and has loved ever since. Luc pursued her relentlessly despite all the people against him, not because he was afraid of losing her but because he knew what he wanted her. That makes all the difference in the world. He loved Katie and he wanted Katie, and he would do anything just to win her heart all over again to make up for the past mistakes. I especially liked what Katie’s Mam told her, which is a pretty good advice for everyone, IMHO:
You know, Katie, you can plan so nothing goes wrong in life. But something will, and it won’t be what you expected to go wrong. So make sure you’re with someone who will help you bail the water out of the boat, not someone who will blame you for the hole. (p. 188)
Love isn’t safe. And whoever you love will hurt you. It’s part of the human experience. No one is perfect…people make mistakes. The secret is to focus on what they do right and decide what quirks you can live with. (p. 284)
Stability and good faith in a relationship is good, but without love, what’s the use? And I don’t think you can call it true love without the commitment and stability and faith.
A Billion Reasons Why isn’t my favorite novel from Kristin Billerbeck, but it’s a good book that talks about the complications of relationships and love and makes you think of your own convictions in that life aspect. It didn’t make me want to get married anytime soon (heh), but it does make me want to go and pick up all the other Billerbeck novels I’ve missed. :)
My copy: Paperback, review copy from Booksneeze
Cover & Blurb: Booksneeze