Robin Jones Gunn knows the trick of making readers care about her characters. I'm a big fan of her work and have been since Junior High.
Exotic vacation spots, female friendship and inspirational messages are the theme of the Sisterchicks novels.
Sisterchicks in Gondolas is set in Venice. Jenna is asked to cook for a group on retreat and knows the task is too big to do alone. She decides to bring along Sue, her sister-in-law and friend.
Jenna and Sue are on an adventure that includes cooking for the retreat group, rating gelato flavors in the various shops they visit, exploring a hidden staircase that leads to a beautiful rooftop view, growing their friendship bit by bit and meeting God in the midst of it all.
Bubbling with Gunn's familar style, wise phrases and tender heart lessons leap of the page.
Jenna's struggles since her divorce and the challenges as a single parent surface in this beautiful setting. Meanwhile, Sue reflects on her husband's accident which changed both of their lives drastically and requires her to become her husband's caregiver. This role change causes her to wrestle with anger over the circumstances, shame for her feelings and confusion as to where God went.
Readers dealing with regrets, shame or concern about God's faithfulness will find themselves in this story.
Pick up your copy today at Amazon, CBD, or Barnes and Noble.
*In compliance with the Federal Trade Commission Rules please note that Sisterchicks In Gondolas was provided for review by Bloggingforbooks.org.
I just completed book two in this series.
B was for Biography
What did I learn from reading this biography?
A couple things:
1. I realized that biographies pack a ton of information into their pages. Multiple people are named, significant time frames are laid out. In fiction, some would say multiple characters, details and events would be too hard to follow, but with biographies this influx of information is expected and appreciated. The biography reader wants all the details. They crave the full story. To leave a person or time period unmentioned, leaves a gap in the history that demands to be filled.
This makes me ask:
2. My particular choice of biography (written on Louisa May Alcott's major influence, her mother) brought up questions on how to share our own stories within our fiction.
I think I do this. I try to do this. Every character in When Chicks Hatch had an inspiration, a real person as it's framework. However, my characters quickly developed their own voice, their own distinct traits that made them unrecognizable as their original inspiration.
Lousia did this extremely well. Her own life and the lives of her characters intersected on the page, but yet remained distinctly their own experience.
This taught me that I can safely pull from my reality, but I must trust the story to pull it where it needs to go. A skillful writer will light up reality in a fresh way, twisting it, shaping it and building an impact that becomes stronger than the original source.
3. I learned that no story that needs to be told can ever stay hidden. Bury your journals in an attic, tuck them away, dig a whole in the earth and drop them in . . . nothing can keep the written word from resurfacing. Be careful little hands what you write!
Get ready for "C" is for Classics. I'm starting the next book soon. I love this genre so it was a trick to find a book I haven't read before. I chose A Room with a View which I've never read before, but (from what I hear) probably should have.
Do you have a favorite classic novel? If so, tell me about it.
For the letter B I mixed two things I really enjoy. The first is Biography. Biographies have always appealed to me because they feed my appetite to know more about a person. They provide answers of behind the scenes influences and personal experiences of interesting people.
When I was 16 I worked as a page in a library. I floated around the library during the time that I worked there, but my primary places for re-shelving books were in the 800s (mainly classic literature and poetry), 900s (history and biographies) and in the children's area.
The library manager knew that I wanted to be a writer someday and I think he placed me in those spots as his own immersion attempt. Every day I was surrounded by powerful people, important influencers and exceptional talent. These books became my friends, the biography section my home away from home.
My reading choice for this category is obvious to anyone that knows me. I love Louisa May Alcott and am greatly inspired by her writing.
Remember, this is not a solicited review so you won't find any affiliate links here.
I always knew that I loved Louisa May Alcott. What I didn't know is that I also loved Marmee.
Oh, I loved the character "Marmee" in Little Women, but I didn't realize how real this larger than life character was.
Abigail May Alcott was a huge inspiration to her daughter and in The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother: Marmee & Louisa clarity is given to the personality traits she skillfully embedded in her daughter's spirit.
What can be better than hearing a story firsthand?
In this expansive biography you can learn all about Abigail from the pages of her own journal.
The Author, Eve LaPlante, is family to Abigail and stumbled across some journals kept by her. Imagine such an extraordinary find.
With personal family stories and direct text written in Abigail's own voice, readers and fans come to know Louisa's mother in a personal way.
Reading this biography brings a deeper understanding of Louisa and her writings.
So many of the events, stories, people, personalities and experiences are dramatically similar to events and characters that eventually land on the pages of Louisa's books. There is no mistaking the sly sneaking of her own life onto the pages and plot of her stories.
After knowing the sources of her influences it isn't surprising that she embedded them in her work. She was surrounded by a lot of wisdom and personality to pull from and it would have been almost a crime not to catalog them in her fiction somehow.
As a writer, I found deeper respect for the art of writing life. Louisa writes inspired by life but her work is also fiction. It takes skill to incorporate real family events in a way that is original and separate. Her writing reflects her own life without copying it entirely. It's just enough, a complete balance that earns her work even more respect.
As a mother, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of Abigail's strength and her nurturing influence that shaped her daughter (by example and education) into a writer we all admire.
Do you have a favorite biography? Is there anyone that you would like to learn more about by reading a biography? If so, please don't hesitate to share in the comments section below.