Over the holidays, I did a lot of reading. The book that I was nearly finished with when I had to return to a more standard schedule of work, school and sports was Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn. I was intrigued by the title. I had recently finished reading the Girl in the Glass, which had also been in large part set in Italy, when I selected it to read.
Sisterchicks in Gondolas follows the story of Jenna and Sue, who head to Venice to cook for a mission leaders' retreat. Jenna's friend from college was organizing the retreat and asked her to come and cook for the group. He offered her two complimentary airline tickets and the opportunity to stay on at the villa where the retreat was being held for the remainder of the week after the four day retreat was complete. She brought along her sister-in-law Sue to help with the cooking and to share in the experience. This journey to Venice turns into a spiritual journey that leaves the women feeling transformed and 'victims of grace'.
The book was well written and entertaining. I enjoyed the experience of Venice through Jenna's eyes. I watched as they fell into a daily routine and pushed their own boundaries of comfort. I liked their references to earning 'badges' for the various adventures, including sleeping on the roof and later, mattress surfing down the stairs. It was really great to watch these women's relationship with each other, themselves and God develop as they lived life in Venice. Jenna even renewed a relationship with a woman that she worked with years ago, through one of the mission leaders at the retreat.
I was a little bothered that after spending chapters exploring a seven day visit, the author tried to summarize the next few years in last five pages. Whereas it was nice to learn that they continued on their Sisterchick adventures, spreading laughter and bringing gifts where they went, it was just too much info in five pages and felt forced. Simply summarizing with the perspective that they carried on their adventures and spread laughter and shared gifts, would have been a smoother ending.
Otherwise, though, the book was enjoyable and I would recommend it.
As I continue to read stories set against various cities in Italy, I will soon need to plan a trip there. I will of course include Venice and Florence on my journey, so that I too can share in the sites and sounds that the women in my recent books have experienced.
No compensation was received for this post. A copy of the book was provided through Blogging for Books. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.
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