“Elizabeth, my dear, do you know what the dearest kindness is that a woman can offer herself in the autumn of her years?”
I shook my head.
“It is the gift of giving herself permission to take risks.”
And then she winked at me.
That’s when I realized that a hibernating dream or a dormant wish must be ushered out of its cavelike sleeping chambers and nudged right up to the cliff’s edge into nothing but untamed air. In that risk-taking moment, the wish might just discover its wings and fly. I’ve seen it happen.
And so begins an adventure abroad for lifelong friends Kelly and Liz, the protagonists of the newest title in Robin Jones Gunn’s award-winning Sisterchicks series. In SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT!, three women with unfulfilled dreams and wishes take off for England, unaware that their little trip will lead them to some life-changing decisions. Along the way, Kelly and Liz tour many well-known attractions in London and Oxford while taking a few unexpected excursions. Their experiences provide a great travel guide to England, rich in imagery and embedded in a fun, light read. As their journey takes on a life of its own, Kelly and Liz see God’s hand in every twist and turn.
Liz and Kelly, both in their mid 50s, unexpectedly meet Opal, an aged and tiny British woman who has a huge impact on their lives. When Opal hires them to redecorate her apartment, the three quickly form a friendship that leads to weekly tea times. Upon completion of the decorating job, Opal surprises them with plane tickets to England…and the announcement that she will accompany them. Liz and Kelly’s heads are filled with grand images of touring London after escorting Opal to her twin sister’s house in the small town of Olney. However, their carefully planned trip starts unraveling before they even leave Heathrow Airport, as a quirky old man arrives on the scene who puts a twinkle in Opal’s eyes.
Bound and determined to check in at their London hotel before sundown, the two friends are duped into spending the night in Olney, then stay on for the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake race. Finally it’s on to London, but again their plans are foiled and they spend the night in Oxford, where Liz stumbles across a Bible verse while visiting the Exeter Chapel. The words come back to her again and again throughout her vacation as she learns to trust in God, seek His guidance and see His fingerprints on her life. While Liz grows spiritually, she also gains confidence and overcomes her tendency to shy away from anything new or different. Her mind slowly embraces the notion that sometimes going with the flow means letting God take the reins.
After a crazy cab tour through the land of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and a hot-air balloon ride over the Cotswolds, they finally succeed in reaching their main destination. From high tea at the Ritz to the Tower of London and a side trip to Windsor Castle, the friends are awed by the sights, sounds and tastes that are London. Liz’s obsession with seeing Big Ben and her love of British literature is brought to light when she discloses a long-kept secret to Kelly --- an event in her teen years that permanently influenced certain aspects of her life. Her final wish comes true when they set off for Westminster Abbey, where she sees her beloved Big Ben, then visits Poet’s Corner. It is here, amidst the burial sites and memorials for authors who filled her with hope during a trying time, that Liz feels God reminding her of His faithfulness.
As Liz views the journey with the eyes of one who loves British literature, Kelly sees England from an artist’s perspective. Bent on starting her own interior design business, she often points out interesting details in the fabrics, colors and furniture they encounter.
Liz and Kelly’s delightful adventures continue as they leave England and arrive home to find that God has a few more surprises in store for them. All in all, SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT! is a fun and easy, take-to-the-beach kind of book with the likable characters and fascinating settings that make this series so popular.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on May 20, 2008