Robin Jones Gunn is well known for her YA books and her SisterChicks books. Here we have a book that reminds me a little of the SisterChicks books except instead of best friends we have Carolyn who is at a crossroads in her life, her mother who lives in the Canary Islands and her daughter who just can't get her boyfriend to commit. These 3 generations all learn a lot about each other and themselves when they take a little time to discover what's important. I loved the setting of this book and the characters were so vibrant and different. The message that you are never too old or young to find yourself and that God has a plan in everything was so clear. What a good book, especially if you enjoyed her SisterChicks books!
For fans of Robin Jones Gunn, as well as those who haven't had the pleasure of reading her books before, Canary Island Song is a must-read.
I joke that Christy Miller was one of the best friends I had in high school, and the funny party is, I'm only half-joking. If you're like me and you love the Christy books, you are sure to appreciate the hero's connection to Todd, as well as the novel's brief mention of this couple. In some ways, Canary Island is sort of like an adult Christy Miller book: the whimsical beauty of love with some of life's hardships mixed in.
Carolyn is a young widow whose heart yearns for love but still feels the pain of her sudden loss. Bryan is a single father who's family drama brings him back to the Canary Islands. Together, these two rekindle a past worth remembering.
Something magical happens between the spaces of a Robin Jones Gunn book, and this novel is no exception. I can't explain it. All I can say is that Robin has an amazing ability to make the reader empathize with the characters, and to transport the reader into the vibrancy of different locations. In this case, that location is full of sort breezes, camel rides, flamenco dance lessons, and adventure. Also, Robin does a nice job weaving historical details into the story so that fans of historicals will still be satisfied with this contemporary story.
There is strong and well-developed family thread that was probably my favorite aspect of the book. Grandmother, mother, and daughter all come together in this tropical setting to find their dreams and their strength, but most importantly, to find it together.
All in all, another A+ from Robin. You know a book is good when you come away from it wishing you could meet the characters, and that certainly holds true here.
I read my 1st book by Robin when I was 13 (The Christy Miller series, Book #1) and I was immediately hooked! Since then I have read almost every book that she has published. So I was very excited to see she had another new one on the market. I was even more excited to find out that she had pulled a character from her previous series into this stand-alone novel (I love catching up with old characters).
I was a little surprised when I started to read "Canary Island Song" that I had some trouble getting into the 1st chapter or 2 (not usual for me with one of her books). That problem quickly disappeared and I was swept up in to the story of Carolyn & Bryan and the interaction between the different generations of women in the family! (Man, I want to visit the Canary Islands now!! lol) As with all of Robin's novels, she is able to describe thing so you feel like you are right there watching the events unfold. Her characters come to life and the reader is drawn into the character's life and struggles. As with all Robin's books, she again weaves this story around faith in God, which is so refreshing and uplifting.
*Disclosure: I pre-ordered this book, but before I could receive my purchased copy, I was sent a complimentary one from Howard Books for the purpose of review. With two copies, I happily passed one on to a friend with high praises (she loved it too)!
Carolyn is someone we can all relate to. Most days our lives are put on hold to take care of the loved ones around us. Carolyn has willingly put her life on hold after the death of her husband to stay busy with her daughter and her twin sister's life.
When her twin sister moves out she decides that maybe it is time to take her daughter's advice and "get a life". She decides to do something out of her comfort zone and go back to the Canary Islands to surprise her Mom for her 70th birthday.
She doesn't realize that the biggest surprise will be on her. When she walks into the party she finds the love she left behind when she was young. It shakes her perfectly ordered world and forces her to reinspect her priorities.
I would love to read this book again, but next time I would love to be reading on one of the beaches of the Canary Islands to get the full experience!!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from CFBA. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
As an avid Robin Jones Gunn reader, when I got an email about the opportunity to review her newest book, Canary Island Song, I was all over that. I started out reading her Christy Miller series in middle school, and was able to follow along with Sierra Jensen as I was in high school. Canary Island Song was a fun way to briefly catch up with a couple characters from those series via Bryan Spencer.
Robin’s books always make me want to live in the islands, whether Hawaii, where many of her books venture, or the Canary Islands, like in this book. Her descriptions are so lush and vivid, I can imagine myself there. Of course, I am then brutally reminded that I am, in fact, not on an island, but in the Midwest. Tragic.
The book starts out with Carolyn’s twin sister Marilyn getting married, and Carolyn realizing she needs to “get a life,” in the words of her adult daughter, Tikki. After a brief, failed relationship begun at Marilyn’s wedding reception, Carolyn agrees. And the best way to get a life? Take an impromptu trip to the Canary Islands just in time to surprise her mom, Abuela Teresa, for her seventieth birthday!
While in the Canary Islands, Carolyn spends time with the Women of the Canaries–her mother and aunts–getting a life after the loss of her husband. She still blames God for his death seven years later. Through flamenco dance lessons, treating herself to a pedicure, and, of course, reconnecting with her high school summer sweetheart, Bryan Spencer, Carolyn is able to regain both her life and her relationship with the Lord.
This is a sweet story about mother-daughter relationships, healing after loss, and the rekindling of love, many years and heartaches later. The dynamic with three generations—Carolyn, Abuela Teresa, and Tikki—is fantastic, and I love Aunt Frieda’s Old World declarations.
I highly recommend this both for longtime Robin Jones Gunn fans and those who have never read her books before.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Howard Books. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
It's been six years since Carolyn lost her husband. She has kept her heart imprisoned in her private grief ever since. It is only when Carolyn's grown daughter tells her to get a life that she decides a change of scenery is in order. She decides to travel to her mother's home in the Canary Islands. Her mother's Spanish ancestors had been on the island for 200 years. The family came to the states when her mother was fourteen. Her mother and one aunt married men from the United States. The rest of the family moved back to the Canary Islands. Carolyn is reminded of a summer romance, another teen spending a summer vacation in Las Palmas. She had succumbed to his advances the last night he was there and it had ruined everything. And then she meets him again, Bryan, at her mother's birthday party. He apologizes to her for his actions all those years ago. But he is just getting ready to fly back to his home. Carolyn stays with her mother. She goes for a swim. She goes to buy some groceries and stops for a pedicure and manicure on the way. Bryan comes back to the Island, needing to complete some business. Then Carolyn's daughter decides to come. Her relationship with her boyfriends is stagnant and she needs a break. Carolyn struggles with having to share her mother's attention. Carolyn, with her mom and daughter, go to a flamenco dancing lesson. Carolyn has somewhat of a spiritual experience at the dance lesson and has hope. Will Carolyn and her daughter find lasting love?
Sometimes the writing is kind of boring. When Carolyn went shopping for groceries: “The store was similar to grocery stores back home.” (129) There is limited dialogue as much of the book is description of the Island and its customs. This book is not plot driven. It is a travel book disguised as a novel. If you want a moment by moment description of life, eating out, taking dancing lessons, etc., this book is for you. I'd not plan on reading it if you are looking for a page turning romance. At the end of the book, Gunn has added pictures of her own trips to the islands. There are questions for reading groups.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Imagine my joy and surprise when this little gem showed up in my mailbox. I had received an email awhile back, probably from Robin Jones Gunn's email newsletter or something, asking if anyone would be interested in getting an advance copy of this book to review. Of course I jumped on it. But I knew supplies were limited, and I never received another email saying I had been chosen. So faithfully I've been checking my library's website to see if I could get on the list to read the book once they got their copy. And then suddenly, there the book was.
In Canary Island Song, Carolyn is urged by her adult daughter to "get a life," so she takes a break from her life as a single woman in San Francisco, and travels to her mother's home in the Canary Islands. It's been seven years since the tragic death of her husband, and Carolyn has been treading in the murky waters of grief since then. Time with her mother, aunts and the gentle breeze of the islands is just what she needs. Much to her surprise, she runs into her high school summer love Bryan Spencer, and finds her heart being drawn back to the land of the living. She must decide if she's ready to trust her heart and God for what her future holds.
That's right, folks. Bryan Spencer. As in Todd Spencer's dad. One of my all-time favorite things about Robin Jones Gunn is the way she peppers all her books with characters you already know and love. And if you haven't met them yet, it's okay; you'll be just as delighted to read about them in her other books. This story was class Robin Jones Gunn, transporting you across the globe with a very real, relatable character. While the story is rich enough in itself, I did find myself digging through a bit for information on what Todd and Christy might be up to, the way someone might dig through a bowl of strawberry ice cream for the fat, frozen berries. I won't give away everything, but Bryan, Todd and Christy were not the only characters from previous books that were mentioned. All her stories feel a bit like a family reunion, introducing new characters and seamlessly weaving them into a world you are already comfortable with.
This book will be released on July 5, 2011. Do what you have to to get your hands on a copy.
This book was sent to my by Howard Books. They didn't ask for a review, but I'm giving one because I love Robin Jones Gunn.
Robin Jones Gunn has done it again! She's written a very sweet, touching story set in the Canary Islands. She does a great job of bringing the reader to the islands. I feel as if I've had a vacation. Main character, Carolyn, finds rekindled love as she visits her mother. She finds healing from the hurts of her past and is ready for a new beginning. Her daughter, Tikki, is also visiting the island and gets a surprise visit that changes the course of her life as well. There are blessings scattered throughout this moving tale. You won't be disappointed in Canary Island Song.
Robin Jones Gunn is one of my all-time favorite authors. I grew up reading the Christy Miller series and have loved her adult fiction as well! I couldn't wait to get my hands on her newest novel Canary Island Song.
Carolyn has spent her life taking care of other people. When her daughter encourages her to think about herself and move on with her life, she decides to return to her family's ancestral home in the Canary Islands where her mother now lives. Running into Bryan,her first love whom she originally met in the Canary Islands, brings up memories from the past and forces Carolyn to deal with the hurt, regret, and disappointment that life has dealt her. Will she learn to trust God again or will she continue to try and make her own way in the world?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Carolyn and Bryan's story. While I thought the book started off a little slow, it picked up and kept me engaged until the very end. I loved Carolyn's daughter and mother ... the dynamic of three generations of women in the same family was absolutely wonderful. And, for all you Robin Jones Gunn fans, you'll be surprised (and delighted!) to learn of Bryan's family history. (I won't ruin the surprise for you.) This is a great summer read!
I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
An intriguing mix of sorrow, hope & new beginnings
Date:May 29, 2011
Author Robin Jones Gunn unfolds a story that will keep you turning the pages way too late at night! Seven years after the death of her husband, Carolyn is trying to "get a life" again. When she goes to visit her mother who is now living in her native Canary Islands, Carolyn comes face to face with the ghosts of her own past which she thought were long buried. The wonderful times & secret heartbreak of the summer she spent in the Canary Islands when she was 18 are all re-lived when a key figure from her past suddenly shows up again. A wonderful story in a fascinating place, that you will long remember -- a gentle reminder that "joy comes in the morning". The people & culture of the Canary Islands will delight you, as will the Spanish “refranes” (sage sayings) at the beginning of each chapter. Put this book on your "must read" list! I was given this book to review & have expressed my honest opinion.