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Sisterchicks in Gondolas (Sisterchicks Series #6) Paperback – May 1, 2006

Book 6 of 8 in the Sisterchicks Series

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"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver
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$13.14 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Sisterchicks in Gondolas (Sisterchicks Series #6) + Sisterchicks Say Ooh La La! (Sisterchicks Series #5) + Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes (Sisterchicks Series #8)
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"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver
Join Carver in his second collection of stories as he rightly celebrates those characters that others too often consider peripheral. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Publishers (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590525051
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590525050
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robin Jones Gunn is a God-lover who has been telling stories all her life and writing them down for publication the past twenty years. A world traveler and mom of a grown son and daughter, Robin confesses she's still crazy about her husband after twenty-nine years of doing life together.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue

I don’t think I would have gone to Venice if I hadn’t had a crazy thought five years ago that woke me at three o’clock one morning.

I was used to wacky, middle-of-the-night thoughts, but not like this one. Usually I created mental memos such as, “Send Aunt Becky’s birthday card by Tuesday, or it won’t arrive in time.” In my head I would respond, “Okay,” and fall back asleep.

Other times the thoughts came fragmented like, “car insurance.” Those were the ones I hated because I’d lie alone in the darkness wondering, “Am I behind on a payment? Or was I merely dreaming about a late-night commercial with some dancing lizard telling me I was paying too much for my current coverage?”

When I discussed these annoying, sleep-robbing thoughts with my sister-in-law, Sue, she responded, “Welcome to menopause.” Then she told me that she keeps a notepad and pen by her bed and another one in her purse at all times. “That way, if I do go completely insane, at least I’ll have left a trail for the medical community to follow, sort of like bread crumbs.”

Taking her advice, I put a notepad by my bed. That’s why I can still remember the persistent thought that woke me and set this adventure into motion. The 3 a.m. revelation was simple: “You’re not done yet.”

That was it. I wasn’t “done.” Done with what, I didn’t know.

I wrote down the thought, but then, instead of falling back to sleep, I considered all the things I had started but never finished. The list was long. Very few events in my life had unfurled the way I had thought they would. I was too old to start over but too young to roll over and play dead. Such is the muddle of midlife, I told myself. I shouldn’t elevate my expectations this far along in my quota of years. I should be winding down, right?

But at 3 a.m. that particular spring morning, I wasn’t “done” yet. And I didn’t know what that meant.

Sleep wouldn’t return, so I slipped out of bed and made a cup of tea. The sound of the newspaper thumping against the front door of my condo told me the world around me was waking. In a few hours I would leave for work. During the hectic pace of my position as a checkout clerk at Abbot’s Grocery, I would scan dozens of cans of soup and tomato sauce. I would weigh Red Delicious apples (code #4782) and dripping bundles of romaine lettuce (code #4623). I would say, “Have a nice day” more times than any human should have to say that phrase, and I would forget any thoughts that had come to me in the night.

Then, in the wee hours of the next morning, the same thought returned and woke me again. This time I sat up in bed and said aloud, “What? What isn’t finished?” All was silent except for the whirl of the ceiling fan over my bed.

I fell back asleep. My unremarkable life continued at its usual pace for two more weeks.

Then a letter came from Sam, a friend from college who was now the director of an international mission that was based in Europe.

Jenna, would you consider traveling to Venice in July? We need someone to cook at our mission leaders’ retreat. You keep coming to mind. We were given two comp airline tickets from the U.S. so you can bring a friend. The retreat is only for four days. You may stay at the palace the remainder of the week at no charge. Please respond ASAP.

I read the note again. Venice? Why me? Why now?

I wasn’t a very good cook. Sam knew that because I worked on the kitchen staff one summer at a camp he and his wife ran in Austria. But that was during college. A life-
time ago. Sam and Austria and cooking all happened when I was young and naive and had lofty plans for my life. Then I fell in love, and, ignoring advice from friends and family, I spontaneously got married. I had a beautiful daughter and an unwanted divorce all before I was twenty-seven. That was when my life grew small.

Now I was being invited to be part of something outside the small boundaries of my broken, limited life. And in Europe, no less. Was this the unfinished business?

Sam’s invitation stirred something deep within me. I realized that no matter what age we are, a profound sweetness glides over the human spirit when we are included in a small circle by an old friend. It’s a humbling thing to be chosen.

I cried for the first time in a long time, and then I called my sister-in-law. Sue was the friend I chose to take with me to Italy.

She was coming up for air after the worst two years of her life. Because she never had been to Europe, she understandably was hesitant about leaving home, but she finally agreed. We left behind everything familiar about our lives in Dallas when we boarded that airplane and flew to Italy.

Neither of us expected the transformations that began in us during our week in Venice. Our luxurious makeovers started with morning walks to the panetteria, where we bought our daily bread. Our nails were “manicured” by eager pigeons that we fed from open hands at San Marco Square. Instead of cucumber slices over closed eyes, we opened our eyes wide inside the grand, Byzantine churches and drew in the scent of honeyed candles. We meditated on God and life while listening for the echo of footsteps on the ancient tiles.

So much changed inside both of us on that trip. Sue and I look back and refer to that summer as the summer we were ambushed. Neither of us saw the blessings coming. They just came—and kept coming—and bowled us over.

Sue now has a term for what happened in Venice. She says we were “victims of grace.” I like that. Both of us had been victims of a lot of other stuff over the long years. How sweet of God to make us victims of grace when we were old enough to appreciate what that gift cost Him.

Yes, we were transformed in Venice. We both are convinced that what happened to us never would have happened in Dallas. Not that God can’t change a heart and a life in Dallas—or anywhere else—but they don’t have gondolas in Dallas. And for our transformation, we definitely needed a gondola.

Customer Reviews

I also know they will see the Love God has for us.
Diana Ricketts
I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say there is a part that is really funny!
pjk
Let me begin by saying that this is the first Sisterchicks book that I have read.
cscott9

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heather Ivester on March 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Venice ... as Gunn says, is "the city that Italy wears proudly like a diamond-studded broach on the cuff of her tall boot." From the very first page of this book, I felt like I was whisked away to the land of canals and chilled Italian gelato ice cream. It was almost comical how I could actually hear the sweet sounds of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" being played by an Italian violinist every time I opened the book.

The setting in the jewel of Italy is magnificent, and the characters captivated me as well. Jenna and Sue have been sisters-in-law for almost 30 years, yet their friendship has become tightly knit only in the last five. In exchange for cooking for a group on a retreat, the women are invited to stay in a 15th-century restored palace on a quiet Venician canal. The descriptions of this palace are breathtaking.

What's even more fun is that Sue and Jenna decide to sleep on the roof of the palace, since the other guests need all the bedroom space. And we're right there with them. Narrator Jenna says, "The evening air swirled with the scent of salt air and garlic. Accordian music floated our way from one of the alleyways..."

Not only do readers get to enjoy the scenery, we're also gently pulled along into the author's deep Christian faith. While on the rooftop, Jenna ponders her relationship with God. She remembers how He comforted her years ago when her husband left her with a newborn daughter to raise. Even though she'd prayed fervently for her marriage to be restored, she was left alone, as a single mom. Yet God carried her through the years.

Her sister-in-law, Sue, is also entering a new season of life as the caretaker of her husband.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christian Book Previews on May 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Readers who love exploring the world will relish the pages of Robin Jones Gunn's Sisterchicks in Gondolas. Finding God's purpose in mid-life transition emerges as the main theme, as two sisters-in-law share a retreat along the dreamy canals of Venice. Both have experienced recent disappointments and even tragedy, yet their faith prospers during their Italian adventure.

When Jenna receives an invitation from a mission organization to volunteer in Venice, she invites her sister-in-law, Sue, to join her. In exchange for cooking for the group, the women are invited to stay in a 15th-century restored palace. Deep spiritual growth takes place as the women talk and pray while sleeping beneath the stars on the palace rooftop.

The retreat allows the women time to explore the winding roads their lives have taken. Jenna was left by her husband and spent years in bitterness as a single mom. Yet she shares with Sue how God's "abiding Spirit was like the moon. A sliver of comfort and light rising even on the darkest night." Sue is also emerging from her own nightmare, facing the years ahead as a caregiver for her husband, who barely survived a debilitating accident.

Through friendship and the refreshment of travel, both women sense a new plan God has in store for them. They share a dream of serving Him through helping other women in trying circumstances. Their newfound joy is contagious, spilling into the hearts of readers.

It's not surprising at all that Gunn's Sisterchicks series has sold over three million copies worldwide. Her faith-driven writing offers a wealth of insight. I'd recommend this book to anyone experiencing a major life transition or wanting to experience armchair traveling at its finest. -- Heather Ivester, Christian Book Previews.com
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Sam, head of an international missionary based in Europe, invites Jenna to cook at a leaders' retreat in Venice; he also gives her a second free ticket so she can bring a friend. Jenna muses that she had not heard form Sam in years and that the one time she came along as a cook she stunk at it. However, something inside her says this is right so she plans to go and knows immediately who she will invite to travel with her from Dallas for a week at a fifteenth century restored palace. She asks her sister-in-law of three decades Sue who has been her best friend of about the last five years to accompany her.

In Venice, Steph meets the sisterchicks as they eat gelato in Campo Apostoli and escorts them to the extravagant palace they are staying. The two American visitors easily fall into the soft warm lifestyle of gondolas while making pastas for the retreat's attendees. As Venetia enters their hearts, they gain courage to live life to the fullest; something neither has tried in a long time out of fear of failure and self pity and ridicule.

Die hard fans of the series or newcomers will enjoy the latest sisterchicks tale. The pairing of two middle age women is fun as Jenna and Sue are genuine friends who take Venetia by storm as they have several adventures and escapades while readers enjoy their guided tour of the canals. Though obviously somewhat like the previous five tales, SISTERCHICKS IN GONDOLAS is a fun gambol that as always cherish the loving friendship between women.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Tales of Christy & Todd continue in Robin's new series "Christy & Todd: The Married Years". Book 1 "Forever With You" and Book 2 "Home of Our Hearts" are both available now. Book 3 "One More Wish" is coming in summer, 2015.

You are warmly invited to visit Robin's website at www.robingunn.com. Be sure to sign up for the Robin's Nest Newsletter and have a browse in the Online Shop.

Over the past 25 years Robin has written over 85 books with over 5 million copies sold. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawaii.

Her best-selling, award winning novels include the Christy Miller series for teens as well as the Sierra Jensen and Katie Weldon series.

The popular Glenbrooke series features eight gentle love stories and her Sisterchicks(R)novels are a favorite among midlife readers who enjoy the emphasis on travel and friendship in the series.

Robin's standalone novels include "Gardenias for Breakfast", "Under a Maui Moon", "Canary Island Song" and "Cottage by the Sea". Her newest release, "Victim of Grace" offers a personal glimpse into her life as a wife, mother and writer. Other popular non-fiction includes "Praying For Your Future Husband" and "Spoken For".

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