writing for children

I went to Holland this week…

sort of. I travelled to Holland without boarding the plane or touching a toe to foreign ground…all compliments of SISTERCHICKS in WOODEN SHOES by Robin Jones Gunn!

SisterChicks in Wooden Shoes is a book in the SisterChicks series. Not knowing anything about this author, the book or the series, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And when I saw there was a prologue (I’m not a huge fan of prologues), I was leery. But she grabbed with the first line.

We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do.

I was intrigued. I am in need of more discipline in my life, and this sentence struck a chord. According to the description of the book, it is not about discipline, but rather about trust. So why start with this sentence? It took me until the end of the book and the writing of this review, but I finally figured it out…

Summer Finley is a pastor’s wife, mom to six grown children and control-freak. (Know anyone like that?) Her life has been orderly, even in the midst of miscarriages, adoption, surprise pregnancies, and the death of her mother from breast cancer. And though her ability to control her surroundings with grace has served her well, her world is shattered by a phone call and four little words: abnormal mammogram. biopsy needed.

Unable to cope with even the thoughts of following in her mother’s cancer-laden footsteps, Summer books an expensive and sudden flight to Holland to meet her life-long pen pal, Noelle Zandt. A rash decision for someone as orderly as Summer helps set the stage for the changes in store for her life and those around her.

By the time we meet Summer’s penpal, Noelle, we already know much about their friendship. Though they’ve never met in person NOR talked on the phone (in 30 years), we find that the letters they have shared are full of much information they could not, or would not, share with other people. Even so, Summer chooses not to tell Noelle the reason for her visit right away. Not to be outdone, Noelle has painful secrets of her own she has chosen to keep private, even from her pen pal and semi-therapist, Summer.

As Summer experiences Holland, she allows herself to live in denial about what “might” be waiting for her back home. She is under the illusion that she can control what happens simply by not trying not to think about it. But the fear continues to creep up her spine. In the midst of her adventure, Summer finds something she is not expecting. She discovers what she really wants in life: FREEDOM.

Summer wants to be free of the possibility of cancer. Free of the “out of control” feeling. Free of the fear that has plopped down in the middle of her little world. In the midst of working out the subtle differences (and sometimes not so subtle) in their relationship, Summer finds that the one thing she MUST do is the one thing she hasn’t yet done… TRUST.

That is when I finally understand the first sentence of the story… We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do Summer must TRUST God completely in order to walk in complete FREEDOM.

Gunn took me on an intimate trip through Holland with Summer. I smelled the scrumptious bread, saw the dancing tulip fields and felt the warmth of forgiveness as she described Corrie Ten Boom and her “hiding place”. I even learned a little Dutch along the way! But more than that, I came away with a deeper longing to trust my heavenly Father with all things “me”. 

Even though some of the story seemed a little slow-paced and the first person writing felt a little heavy-handed in places, the descriptions of the Holland, friendship and discovery were all well written. And yes, I admit it, I even cried a little!

I recommend this book to anyone searching for freedom. If you want to do something that you haven’t yet done, perhaps this book will help you discover what it is you need to do first!

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


6 thoughts on “I went to Holland this week…

    1. If you haven’t yet ordered it, I’d love to send you my copy. I got it free and would love to pass it along!

      You can find my email addy somewhere on the right-hand side of the page. If you want it, it’s yours!


    1. Why thank you, my friend! I wasn’t sure anyone would even read my review and had decided it was fine if they didn’t.
      But God sure made my day by sending you two ladies my way! 🙂

      I look forward to the day I get to blog about YOUR new book!


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