What Happens Next Review

Posted by abakersp in Historical, Reviews / Spotlights / 4 Comments

Recently I decided I wanted to take an interest in reading more authors that I haven’t read before, and so that led me to pick up a novel by the talented Christina Suzann Nelson. Boy am I glad I did!

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About the Book

What Happens Next ReviewWhat Happens Next
Author Christina Suzann Nelson
Published by Baker Books
on January 17, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Christian / Contemporary, Fiction / Christian / General, Fiction / Women
Pages: 352

"Everyone has a story, and maybe everyone needs a little help toward healing."

Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy--but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. All of that changes when she's asked to spotlight her childhood best friend's missing person case on her podcast.

Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter's belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case.

As the long-abandoned investigation moves forward, old wounds and long-buried secrets are exposed. Will these two women, whose lives have never been the same, finally get the answers they need to reconcile the past and the future?

"This heartbreaking story will keep you guessing--and hoping--with the turn of every redemptive page."--ERIN BARTELS, award-winning author of The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water

Amazon | Goodreads

My Perspective

I have been wanting to read Christina Suzann Nelson for some time now, and I’m so glad I finally got the opportunity to pick up a book and read it. What Happens Next is a book that grabbed my interest from the very beginning. The three POV’s were so seamlessly integrated into the story, and I found myself easily able to follow along. It was so interesting to me that Nelson decided to include the POV of Heather as a youth before she vanished. Not only did it give you a look into her life, but it provided this back story for Faith and Dora, something I didn’t even know I wanted until it was there. Nelson did a fantastic job of putting subtle clues in all of the POVs as to what might have happened to Heather, and I loved following along. I actually didn’t get the ending right – something I try to do with all mysteries I read. Honestly – it made it even more fun!

Aside from the mystery, what really stood out to me was how Nelson wrote the character growth for both Dora and Faith. She somehow managed to keep the focus on finding Heather, but still showing glimpses of how each of these women needed to mature, grow, and move forward. It was almost like something in the background, and yet it spoke volumes to my heart. You could even see some from the secondary characters like Paul and Brooke. I think it came to me morseso at the end for them, as I looked back and reflected on the storyline. It was a pleasant surprise.

This novel has a little bit of everything. From working through a difficult part of marriage, to finding out how to move past tragedy, solving a case, and even finding love again. The romantic parts were not a huge part of the story line, it read more like women’s fiction to me, but they were subtle enough that I enjoyed it without it taking over the plot. Well done!

Sometimes you take a change on trying an author you’ve never read before and I’m happy to report this Nelson is now on my watch list. I’ll be going back and seeing what novels of hers I want to grab next. Those who are looking for something different will enjoy this novel! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Favorite Quotes

I’ve learned over the years that people don’t want to get too close to a family that’s experienced this kind of tragedy. It makes it too real, like it could happen to them. It’s as ridiculous as being afraid of catching cancer, but feelings like fear have a lot of power.”

In an instant she’d gone from a semi-dignified podcast host to an eccentric raccoon photographer.

About the Author

Christina Suzann Nelson in an inspirational speaker and the award-winning author. Her first novel, If We Make It Home, was honored as one of Library Journal’s top five inspirational novels of 2017.

In 2017, Christina was named the OCW Cascade’s Writer of Promise and received a Cascade award for her novel, Swimming in the Deep End.

Her stories have been published in the Cup of Comfort for a Better World, Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families, as well as other publications.

Christina is over the top about her passions, including the stories created somewhere in the twists and turns of her less-than-focused brain. When she’s not writing, Christina serves on the board of the non-profit, Every Child Linn-Benton, where she has the opportunity to influence the lives of families and children in the foster care system.

On a typical day, she chases escaped farm animals, reads, hikes with her dog, and enjoys her husband and six kids.

Have you read any of Nelson’s books? Which was your favorite?

4 responses to “What Happens Next Review

  1. Lelia “ Lucy” Reynolds

    I read this also as she is one of my favorite authors. You will love her other books also.