So, this book is mainly about an author. A female author of light romance novels with very low self-esteem and a group of also female friends who love her and want to help her.
It portrayes her struggles during the editing of her latest book, her ambitions of seeing it promoted by Oprah Whinfrey, and her coming to grips with the past. She is divorced, and quite scared of taking the next step into love. There is quite a bit of romance in this book, as well as a comedy of errors.
I really enjoyed being inside the heroine's head, especially as I am a writer myself. I believe anyone would be interested, though, since the whole point of the story is is finding yourself, your voice, and deciding what kind of life you want to live. I loved the romance, it was subtle at first, althought there were sparks flying all over the place by the end of the book. I really like, as I have mentioned in other reviews, a book that has a surprise for the reader at the end, and this was one such book. The surprise was brilliant, and it was as if it made all the pieces of the story click in place.
The only thing that bothered me with this book was the mention of Oprah in every page -and several times, in some pages. Of course, I understand that this was a major plot point, the author's ambition to get her book on Oprah's show, or on her book club, or something, but it got boring and weird after the first two chapters or so. That was the main drawback for this book for me.
Also, it is not Christian fiction, although categorized as such. There are a couple of verses thrown in as quotes, but God plays no part whatsoever in the lives of the characters. That disappointed me a little, but if I had to rate this book as a secular book, I'd say it was a good one.
I received this book from Zondervan, in exchange for an honest review.
November 16, 2011
I have every book that Jane has written. I was excited to sit down and enjoy this one as well. I tried two different times to read and just couldn't seem to get interested. I decided to set it aside, again, and try a third time maybe on a snowy cold day when I don't have anything else available. It wasn't what I have learned to expect from the author.
October 13, 2011
A Different Calling
Barcelona Calling is a different calling for the author Jane Kirkpatrick, the main character Annie Shaw, and even Jane's longtime readers of her other books. I have been a devoted reader of Jane Kirkpatrick's historical fiction works for many years, finding no other author who met my need for exploration into the foundation of our Christian woman's spirit, based in the reality of lives which survived hardships we cannot now imagine. The consideration of her changing genres gave me cause for concern, not only for the application of her talents to new ventures, but also for the loss of the gift of coming to know the real lives of women I met through the careful research and thoughtful presentations of her historical works. It was with that trepidation I entered into Annie's world in Barcelona Calling.
Within the first sentences, descriptively and powerfully written, I knew my concerns were to be allayed. This would be a different prism of light reflected through Jane. Stepping out of the pages of history into the terms and images of today's world. Through the reflections of her Monthly Memos (now Words of Encouragement),with which I have been familiar for years,I found in Annie glimpses,or hints,of Jane as I've come to know her by her revelations of self. I was kept guessing. What of Miranda was really Annie, what of Annie was really Jane?
She has a sensitive understanding of relationships, her own inner journey, the nuances of support (even when other's good intentions can be veiled through self interest), the need to grow to bend, and that a certainty of life is change. We may not want to be willing, but we will be carried along until we realize we will encounter fewer bumps and bruises in the stream of life if we chart our own course through it. All this was intuitively portrayed through Annie's journey and discovery and the realistic portrayal of those who helped guide her toward her own claiming what was for her best. You have to ache for Annie, understanding her many avoidance defenses. How she would rather reach outward to costly and seemingly ridiculous efforts to resolve the issues with her book, hoping to guarantee its success and the illusion of her security, than stop and look inward to where changes were needed in Miranda's story because they were needed in hers. As she found out, and we were reminded along with her, the harder we run away from our own truths, the more casualties we're likely to create in our lives along the way. Stopping, taking a deep breath, and entering into what we fear is where we often find that better than we can imagine is waiting for us. We wonder why did we wait so long? Annie's story gives us permission to trust earlier in our journey to do just that. Have fun with her foibles along the way, but to get the most out of Barcelona Calling, let it call you to the changes your own story wants you to make.
September 26, 2011
I was expecting so much more
In Jane Kirkpatrick's newest novel we meet, Annie Shaw, who is a writer. She has had success and then failure. She is now writing again. Annie struggles with being humble. She wants fame in the worldly way. She thinks if she has fame she will have met her goal in life. She finds that simply isn't true. She is even wanting attention from none other than Oprah herself. So, on this journey of trying to create a best seller, Annie and her friends, dive into doing everything under the sun to find fame. We have the question before us, "What would you do to gain the fame you want so badly?"
I struggled with this book. I wanted to enjoy it. But I just couldn't get connected with the characters before me. It wasn't one of those reads that I just couldn't put down. As a writer waiting for my first book to be published I can walk away with the valuable lesson of I need to remain humble. I need to stay focused on the Lord and His will through my writing.
This novel takes us through the journey of, Annie Shaw, and those around her, as they search for that happiness factor. The thing is, they believe it can only be found in fame.
I must share, the ending has a sweet little twist and that made me smile as I closed the book. Sadly, the most valuable lesson is missing. Faith. I expected to see faith. I expected more, so I must say I am a bit let down from this selection.
This book was a gift from Zondervan for it's review.
September 20, 2011