Although the Sisterchicks series of books by Robin Jones Gunn has been around for a while now, I had never read one before Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes, and I quickly realized how little I knew about the books, so I have to address the series in general before I can talk about this book in particular.
First of all, I was worried that because I hadn’t read the first seven books, I wouldn’t be able to get into them, that I wouldn’t be familiar with the history. As it turns out, that isn’t a problem. After a little research, I came to realize that each book is about a different pair of friends, and the books aren’t dependant on each other at all. That makes this the perfect series to pick up partway (or a long way, like me!) in, because you don’t have to worry about not knowing the characters or their stories–it’s all new with each new book.
Second of all, I totally didn’t get that the books are centered around traveling. Now that I’ve look at all the titles, it’s glaringly obvious, but I didn’t realize it when I saw the books individually here and there. The unique settings in each book help to reassure the reader that she’s not missing pieces of information.
I was also a little concerned about reading them because, let’s face it, the main characters are old enough to be my mother. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, and really feeling for the characters.
Enough about the series in general, though–on to Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes!
Summer Finely and her pastor-husband Wayne have always taught their children “we do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do.” But when she receives an abnormal reading on a mammogram, Summer decides to throw caution to the wind and fly to Holland to visit her life-long pen pal, Noelle, whom she’s never actually met, but who she feels as close to as a sister.
Summer asks her husband to allow her to stay in denial about the potential medical crisis looming over her head, and he reluctantly agrees, so she sets off, travel book in hand, eager to get to know Noelle, worried about embarrassing herself in a strange land, and anxious to see the fields of tulips in bloom.
As she and Noelle explore Holland, they share secrets and heartaches, and form a closer bond from their shared experiences. Uncertain of what the future holds, one thing is certain–Summer and Noelle have their faith, their families, and their friendship to hold onto.
I really enjoyed this book–it’s interesting to read about life in other countries, the characters were instantly likable, and they were dealing with real problems and experiences. I barely even noticed the age difference between myself and the main characters (although, I imagine if I revisit the book in 15 years or so, I may find it even more meaningful). Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes has made me want to read the rest of the Sisterchicks novels, and now I know I don’t even have to worry about reading them in any particular order!