By Patricia Beal @bealpat
Sisterchicks in Gondolas, by Robin Jones Gunn
SISTERCHICK n.: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.
When Jenna is invited to Venice for a week of cooking for a small retreat group, she knows just who to take along: her sister-in-law Sue. With her Dallas drawl and wild tangle of red hair, Sue desperately needs her own retreat from the pressures of the past two years…and blessedly for their guests, Sue actually knows how to cook (unlike Jenna)!
With about six words of Italian between them, a map, and a keen appetite for gelato, they puzzle out the lovely city together. During their stay, Jenna and Sue become victims of grace in ways they never expected—starting with their accommodations: a restored fifteenth-century palace on a quiet canal complete with a stairwell perfect for mattress sledding!
Coming out of a time of dark shadows in their lives, these two friends dive into a new season of refreshing and realize that sometimes when serving God, the most important thing to do is just show up…and watch for goodness and mercy to follow close behind. Come join Jenna and Sue over boiling pots of pasta in this lilting gondola-paced adventure!
How fun it is to read an established author from time to time. I don't think Robin worried much about a story quest, an antagonist, opposing forces, chapter hooks, or any device designed to keep the reader "engaged." She doesn't have to. She has her Sisterchick readers. Her captive audience.
The result? A gentle story. A walk in Venice. A laugh. A sigh. A breath of fresh air for the soul. A character arc that's as gentle as the quietest little bridge in Venice and as long-lasting too. I've caught myself thinking "just show up" many times since I read the novel, and I have a feeling the thought will stay with me for years to come. I hope it does.
Awesome novel. Because sometimes I don't want to be on the edge of my seat. I just want to go for a walk in Venice or a slow gondola ride :)
The Beals in Venice in 2012:
One Beal (Simoes back then) in Venice in 2003:
Do you read established authors often? Do you find them breaking all "the rules" and writing (and selling!) lovely stories?
Robin's books have sold over 5.5 million copies worldwide. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawai'i. Visit Robin's site at www.robingunn.com.
She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017).
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