Jane Kirkpatrick invites you into the lives of five women friends who promise to help each other achieve their life goals. Annie Shaw's goal is far from simple: become famous. But she's in trouble after quitting her day job to write full-time. Her second novel tanked, and her new editor wants her to re-write the ending of her latest work to ensure this one is more successful. In order to pursue fame and an elusive bestseller, Annie travels to Chicago, acquires a rambunctious dog, and participates in antics better suited to a television reality show than real life. Can Annie's best friends help her achieve her goals without destroying her future?
Average Customer Rating:
(6 Reviews) 6
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2 out of 633%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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.
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Review 2 for Barcelona Calling
Date:October 13, 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.
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Review 3 for Barcelona Calling
A Different Calling
Date:September 26, 2011
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.
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.
Jane Kirkpatrick's historical fiction takes you out of the present back to authentically portrayed time periods with determined women who struggle against environment and circumstances. Her plots go beyond the ordinary and she has often used real events and people as the backdrop for her well-crafted stories. When I was given the opportunity to read an advanced reader's copy of her new book (Thanks, NetGalley), I was surprised to see that Barcelona Calling has a contemporary setting. Still I expected realistic Christian fiction which would transport me to Spain and perhaps a romantic setting. Surprise! Surprise! Kirkpatrick has not written a travel-centered romance, but instead a humorous, implausible chick lit novel, set in Milwaukee and Chicago. It is her main character, Annie Shaw, who has written the Spanish romance novel, and now she must take action to ensure its publication. Annie's successful first novel, loosely based on her own romance with sports writer husband, remains a readers' favorite. That apparent success is tarnished by her recent divorce, the complete failure of her second book, and the lack luster sales record of her current title. When her new editor demands major revisions on Annie's fourth book based on a recent trip to Spain, Annie is consumed with self doubt. Enter the ring of best friends and one out-spoken sister who demand that the young writer take action to get herself noticed by Oprah. What follows is a Three Stooges comedy of castrophes which will have you shaking your head at the same time you are stifling chuckles. Will the young policeman Annie left behind in Barcelona follow her to Chicago? Does she want him to come? What if his presence ensures a successful book and a spot on Oprah? What appears to be a light humorous read has some surprise thoughts about finding oneself and accepting that life. Give Barcelona Calling a try and the next time you want some historical fiction with depth, check out Kirkpatrick's other offerings
Annie Shaw is a romance writer. She has had one book sell well but is now struggling. Her last didn't sell all that well and her publisher is stalling on the present manuscript. Annie has four close friends who help her, giving her ideas of how to promote her upcoming novel and then participating in the schemes. Annie wants to be a famous author and is willing to do just about anything to see that happen. The top choice is getting Oprah to recognize the book – that would make it an instant bestseller. One friend knows Oprah's dog groomer so Annie gets a dog and an appointment. Disaster (and repair bills) result. Another try is Oprah's previous chef. A tipped candle and fire sprinklers douse that plan. No matter what Annie and the friends try, another disaster results. Annie stumbles on and on, trying to get her latest novel to “work.” She meets with her editor and is slightly attracted to him. They try to rewrite parts of the novel and spruce up the ending. Annie's newest novel is somewhat biographical, telling the story of her trip to Barcelona and meeting the handsome man who wants to marry her. When her friends arrange for him to visit her in the United States, Annie must make a choice.
For me, this was not a rewarding read. I have read several of Kirkpatrick's historical novels and, in general, liked them. This contemporary, humorous style is something new for her. It was silly. The humor in the book is sort of “slap stick” comedy. It is almost as if Kirkpatrick heard of a funny disaster, (like a dog getting loose at a pet groomers, knocking down things, breaking bottles) and then was determined to find a place for it in her novel. The romance in the book was unrewarding. We hear of this mysteries Jaime, a character in Annie's book based on the real fellow she met in Barcelona. When he comes to visit Annie, the whole scene is very anticlimactic, kind of odd, actually. In the end, the novel is redeeming in that all five women realize a change in their lives for the better – something they did not even know they were looking for. One finds a man. Another starts eating healthier. One decides she and her husband will adopt a child. And Annie realizes she does not want the fame she craved. She'll go back to teaching and perhaps write children's books. But then the very last scene in the book kind of ruined it for me. Oprah comes to hear of Annie's book after all. I see that Kirkpatrick might mean this to be a “lay it all on the altar” kind of experience. Annie has given up promoting her book, then, boom, Oprah hears of it. However, throughout the novel the level of Annie's struggles were not spiritual at all. She never struggles in prayer to God about her writing. The novel is pretty light hearted, no serious ruminations about what God wants for her life. So for the last scene to have spiritual overtones is totally out of character for the rest of the novel. I think the last scene is just supposed to be funny – you tried so hard yourself, Annie, and now it just happens, almost accidentally. To me, it almost validates Annie's attempts to promote her book. The answer to success is Oprah after all. Some may find this style of writing fun to read. I did not.
I received an egalley from the publisher for the purpose of this review.