Take Three, by Karen Kingsbury. Unabridged audio.
I enjoyed the first novel in this series, as I thought that it presented a nuanced story about modern Christians using the arts to express their worldview. It was a refreshing take for a genre that prefers to dwell within established boundaries. But I found that the second book, and now the third, too often fall into the comfortable clichés of inspirational fiction. That being said, Kingsbury delivers the novel with skill, and the novel moves at an enjoyable pace.
The movie production company that Chase and Keith have created is on the precipice of its greatest success, but Chase feels that it is more important to stay with his family in Indiana than to continue to face the temptations of Hollywood. But the problems don't last too long, of course, as another producer is easily found. The newly-formed company faces its own problems, trying to land one of Hollywood's greatest young stars for their next movie. But his reputation and actions may irreparable harm the Christian film company.
Back in Indiana, the next generation have their own issues. The main romantic subplot finds Bailey Flanagan caught between the reliable Tim, her boyfriend of many years, and the boy she really wants, Cody. One of the things I dislike about this book is that Bailey's mistreatment of both boys is never addressed. There is even a "happy ending" that seems to justify her poor treatment of both Tim and Cody. Cody is criticized for never telling Bailey how he feels about her, but not praised for not hitting on a girl who already has a boyfriend.
There is another character who has an unplanned pregnancy, and considers having an abortion. Now this is a Christian novel, so I certainly did not think she would go through with it, but there was some drama there. Except that about 20 pages before she makes a decision, we are introduced to a family who wants to adopt a baby. At this point all of the "will she or won't she" drama related to the unplanned pregnancy goes out the window, as it is clear that she will give up her baby for this family to adopt. And then after she makes the decision to go through with the pregnancy this character, one of the young female leads and a POV character, totally disappears from the book. Time passes for the other characters, but this one literally never appears again -- we never see this young Christian woman "showing," if you will, her out-of-wedlock pregnancy becoming public.
I preferred where the story seemed to be going in the first book, and hope that the fourth book moves back into that more subtle and nuanced territory.
source: public library.