Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wandering Wednesday - Venice, Italy

By Patricia Beal @bealpat

Sisterchicks in Gondolas, by Robin Jones Gunn


Ciao bella!

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! 

Patricia's Thoughts

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 :)

Wandering Spotlight

The Beals in Venice in 2012:

One Beal (Simoes back then) in Venice in 2003:


Your Turn

Do you read established authors often? Do you find them breaking all "the rules" and writing (and selling!) lovely stories?

About Robin

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

About Patricia

Patricia Beal has danced ballet her whole life. She is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years.

 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). 
Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.

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  1. I do read novels by established authors. Some are great, because the characters and storytelling show why they are established authors (e.g. Robin Lee Hatcher). Some have changed direction or genre, and I find myself preferring their older books. Others ... the writing can feel tired, as if they've lost the love.

    Love your Venice pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I've noticed the same thing--writing that feels tired. May God help us know when to take a break or stop altogether. I like that Francine Rivers puts out a new book once every three years and that's it. When it comes out, I'm missing her. The story is fresh. The perspective is fresh. And yes, I love the ones who show us time and again why they are so successful. Thanks for stopping by, Iola!

  2. I love Robin Jones Gunn, I have read all the sisterchick books and love them and laugh in them. I read a lot of established writers. I am a reader so don't really know the ins and out of writing just know what I love. Thanks for sharing the photos they look really cool.

    1. I love her too! Did you read Victim of Grace? That one is not fiction but so good! It's a look at her journey as an author, mom, and wife. It's one of my favorite non-fiction books. Thanks for stopping by, Jenny :)

  3. Sisterchicks in Gondolas--what a great title! I haven't been to Venice in more than 50 years--I think the doges were still living then. What fun to see update pictures.

    1. Thanks, Donna! The Sisterchicks books are so fun. Here's the Goodreads list of the whole series: Sisterchicks in Sombreros, Sisterchicks Down Under, Sisterchicks Say Ooh La La, Sisterchicks Go Brit!, and many more. I really enjoy Robin's writing and love the series. There's even a devotional. You probably knew Venice at its best, but if you have a chance, go back ;)

  4. Hi Patricia, I love your photos from Venice. Beautiful memories. :) Years ago I read a couple of the Sisterchick books that I must have borrowed from the library. I like the change in pace of a light hearted, fun read that isn’t angsty and provides a pleasant escape into a different world. Happy stories that make you smile. Thanks for sharing your journey to Venice with us. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Narelle! A change in pace is nice indeed. I might have to get more Sisterchick books soon :)