I was not going to help launch this book. I decided I was busy enough that Esther could help Cathe Swanson launch her books, and I’d stick to helping Chautona Havig with hers, and Esther was happy about that. Of course, since she got Baggage Claim to read in advance of publication, she sent it to my Kindle when she sent it to hers, and I started reading it a couple of weeks ago. Oops! I ended up wasting a lot of time reading it instead of getting right back to work when I should have. And now, Esther hasn’t even had time to finish the book, so guess who volunteered to write a review and help promote the book! It’s a good one—you won’t regret buying this book and reading it. It published today, so you should be able to get it immediately.
Here is my review, which will stay here until Esther publishes it on her website:
I don’t know when I’ve read a book I’ve enjoyed as much as I enjoyed Baggage Claim. I loved all of it. Cathe Swanson is one of my very favorite authors! I hope she keeps writing. This is only her second published book, but it’s a winner.
Ben Taylor is a young widower with four children, and he has a nanny who keeps his life in order. Teresa Cooper not only takes care of the children, she also keeps the house tidy and meals on the table. Ben has never had life so easy since he got married at 18 after Anneliese got pregnant. Now, though, he is searching for his birthparents. What a mess he finds!
One thing I love about this book is the many stories interwoven skillfully into one. Teresa has a fascinating story; Ben’s history is mysterious and I absolutely loved what he ended up finding; Ben’s life ends up full of intrigue and possible danger. I also love the setting. Ben lives in Chicago, but he ends up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few times. One thing I really liked was the mention of Bond Falls in the U. P. I had never heard of it until our family was traveling through that area a number of years ago and saw a sign pointing down a side road toward Bond Falls. It was the most spectacular waterfall I have seen in my life, and is a very special memory, so I was delighted to see it in a book. It was also fun to see the mention of Ontanagon, just because it’s an unusual name for a place, and it’s real. I think I would love this book just for the portrayal of my home state, even if the story wasn’t quite so good!
Besides simply enjoying the story, there were some very meaty parts to it, too. One scene that really stands out in my mind is when Teresa is telling the story to a friend of her experience in a women’s shelter. She describes another woman who was in there, and says that she was the reason that Teresa became a Christian. It wasn’t because she told Teresa about Jesus, but rather that she was a “living testimony” that other women could build on to explain salvation to Teresa. I shared that passage with my husband one afternoon when he was talking about his frustration with himself and not sharing Jesus with the world as much as he wants to. Teresa’s friend’s response was just what my husband needed that day, “Some plant the seed, some water and some harvest. God put it all in place for you. He’s just amazing that way.”
I highly recommend Baggage Claim if you’re looking for a great story that’s perfectly clean and pulls you in. It is a long book, but keeps moving. I’m hoping for a sequel—Ben had some unfinished business at the end, although Teresa’s story had a satisfying conclusion! Oh, and my favorite quote from the book? “And Jonah couldn’t find the outhouse at all.” You’ll have to read the book to find out who Jonah is and how an outhouse comes into the story.
WARNING: When Ben is searching for his birth parents, he hears a fairly detailed story from his teenaged mother’s best friend. Later in the book, a girl who is babysitting Ben’s children hits a man over the head with a gun to knock him out so she can tie him up.
Note: The links in this post are Esther’s affiliate links, so if you purchase the book through them you’ll be helping to support her website.