SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.
Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.
Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.
A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.
And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
On that pivotal day at the Brew-La-La, the first thing I noticed about the tiny, determined woman as she assumed command from the cranberry red chair was her British accent.
“I do appreciate your willingness to meet with me here on rather short notice. I’m Opal. I spoke with you yesterday.” She adjusted her trifocals and with an open palm patted the side of her poofed-up white hair.
Kellie gave me a what-is-going-on-here look. All I could do was shrug.
“As I indicated on the phone,” Opal continued, “I’m fully prepared to pay your regular fees. My only question is, when might you be able to provide me with an estimate?”
“I’m sorry,” Kellie said in a tone that revealed her instinctively smooth and professional demeanor. “I think you might have me confused with someone else.”
Opal blinked. “Are you not an interior designer?”
The truthful answer for Kellie was yes. She was, as a hobby, an interior designer. “Who were you expecting to meet?” I asked.
Flustered, Opal reached for her pocketbook, undid the clasp, and rummaged around. Instead of a note or a business card, she extracted a handkerchief and held it in her left hand as if for moral support. “I have the name here somewhere.” She looked at Kellie again. “Are you certain you are not a designer? I thought I recognized you from Sunshine Manor.”
Kellie smiled. “My aunt used to live at Sunshine Manor. Did you know Martha Wojckski?”
Opal’s expression lifted. “Yes, of course I knew Martha. Her apartment was beautifully decorated. Which is exactly why I’m meeting with a designer. I’m afraid I’ll go mad if I don’t have a change of color on the walls soon. Do you happen to know who designed your aunt’s apartment?”
Kellie blushed. “Actually, I did.”
Opal sat up straight. “Then I should like to engage you for the work needed on my apartment.”
“I’m not a professional interior designer,” Kellie said quickly. She looked to me for backup, but I didn’t agree. Kellie had done wonders with my small home, and her home was a masterpiece. She had wanted to pursue designing for well over a decade but had never taken the first step toward that dream. If Opal was going to push Kellie off the cliff by inviting her to take this risk, I wasn’t going to stop her.
“You did such a lovely job with your aunt’s apartment. If you’re available, I would certainly like to hire you.”
“What about the other designer you were going to meet here?” Kellie asked.
Opal looked around and glanced at her watch. “I don’t think she’s coming. We only had a tentative meeting arranged, which is why I was so hopeful when I saw you wave. In her message yesterday she said she was reluctant to take on the project since I live at Sunshine Manor. Apparently there are difficulties in working within the limitations set by the association.”
While Opal was talking, I had been giving Kellie all the nonverbals I thought she needed to recognize this as a golden opportunity she had better snatch. Kellie may have had one eye on my affirming expressions, but she definitely had both ears open to Opal.
“I know,” Kellie said to Opal. “They do have some strict rules. I found a way to work around some of the restrictions. They aren’t that complicated. We just have to file the necessary forms.”
“Does this mean you’ll come to give me an estimate?”
I gave her my most encouraging smile.
“All right,” Kellie said with a hesitant sort of nod. “Sure. Why not? When would you like me to come?”
The next afternoon I accompanied Kellie to Opal’s apartment. My presence was partly for support and partly because I was fascinated by Opal. Her accent reminded me of Mrs. Roberts, a woman who had been important to me during high school.
Sunshine Manor was all of two blocks from Brew-La-La. We found number 2017 and knocked. Opal opened the door, and I offered one of my best smiles to Kellie’s first unofficial client. I don’t have a lot of stunning attributes like Kellie with her gorgeous, thick auburn hair and her warm, perceptive eyes. My hair is flyaway and fair like my skin. But I do know how to smile. I can almost always get others, even pouting children, to smile back when I give them a generous grin.
Opal invited us inside. “May I offer you some tea?”
Kellie and I slid into straight-backed chairs at a round table in the corner. A pudgy, rose-strewn china teapot and a plate of gingersnaps awaited us. We sipped Earl Grey from china teacups balanced on saucers, and I felt like we were little girls playing dress-up. This was a stretch for us. Kellie and I were decaf-grandetriple-nonfat-latte-in-a-to-go-cup kind of women.
I tried out what I hoped was proper British tea-party conversation.“Have you lived here long, Opal?”
“Not long. Sixteen years. My husband lived in Orlando as a child. He was determined to return and spend his final days in the sunshine. He did exactly that. I’ve been alone the past eight years.”
“Where did you live before coming here?” Kellie asked.
“I lived nearly all my life in a small town in England called Olney.”
“I always wanted to go to England.” I sat up a bit straighter. “Especially London.”
“Is that so?”
I nodded with the same eagerness I had felt about England since I was fifteen.
“Do you have plans to visit London soon, then?” Opal asked.
“No, not soon. Someday maybe.”
“Maybe sooner than later,” Opal said cheerfully. “You’ll find London to be a delightful city.”
I leaned forward in my best tea-party posture and shared my small secret with Opal. “I’ve always had a hopeless crush on Big Ben.”
Opal studied me as she swallowed a nibble of her gingersnap. Kellie, of course, knew of my fascination with all things British but particularly the top tourist sights of London. However, when the disclosure of my long-held wish was followed by a pensive silence, she moved the conversation to another topic.
“What sort of decorating ideas did you have in mind for your apartment, Opal?”
Turning her attention to Kellie, Opal said, “I am ready for a complete change. I would like a more cheerful color for these walls. Yellow, I think. One can live within the belly of a pale salmon for only so long.”
She unfolded a prepared list and read to us her extensive changes.
Kellie listened thoughtfully. “You have some lovely pieces of furniture. Once the walls are painted, these dark woods will look much different than they do now. I know an excellent upholsterer who could re-cover your wingback chair and give it a new look.”
"That would be fine. Just so long as none of the colors is pink. Nothing pink.” Opal rose from her chair with surprising agility and reached into her pocketbook. “For what amount should I draft the check?”
“How about if we draw up an agreement first?” Kellie suggested. “It will take me a little time to put together a preliminary proposal. I could return later this week, if you like.”
“Lovely. I will expect you on Friday at the same time. Would that suit you both?”
Kellie and I exchanged glances. I wasn’t part of the arrangement, but I didn’t have a particular reason to bow out at this point.
“Friday would be fine,” Kellie answered for both of us.
And that’s how our regular teatimes with Opal began.
Kellie poured herself into the transformation of Opal’s little nest, and I assisted in small ways. I hit an excellent sale at a fabric store and found the exact material we were after for the cushions on the four straight-backed chairs. I also was able to snag superior quality sheets at an outlet store and a gorgeous pale yellow matelassé bedspread from Portugal.
The entire redecorating process took a little over a month, and the results were stunning. Kellie and I were greeted by name at the front desk whenever we arrived at Sunshine Manor, and Kellie soon had requests for renovations from two other residents.
We were on our way to pay our final official visit to Opal when Kellie pulled into the parking area and said, “You know what I like about doing all this for Opal? I like helping someone who can’t drive around town or pick up a paintbrush and make these changes on her own. It was the same way with my aunt. If this is the last home she’ll have, she needs it to be lovely.”
“I agree. And you know what I’ve loved about this past month? I’ve loved watching your creative side run free. I think it’s time for you to get a business license.”
Kellie’s soft brown eyes always gave away her secrets long before her lips agreed to participate in any sort of confession. “I think so too. I even have a name for the business.”
“Really? Let’s hear it.”
“K & L Interiors.” She watched my reaction closely as we walked toward the entrance of Sunshine Manor.
“It’s a simple name,” I said, doing an on-the-spot evaluation.
“It’s easy to remember. K is for Kellie, right? And L is for…”
“Me?” I stopped walking. “Me?”
“Yes, you. Liz, we could do this together just like we did for Opal. No one can hunt and gather like you. The bedspread and sheets you found were perfect. And that table lamp was ideal. We’re a team. We’ve always been great together on projects.”
“But this is a business, Kellie.”
Her eyebrows raised in an expression that said, “So?”
“I’ll think about it,” I said, even though I already knew my answer. I didn’t want to do anything that could jeopardize our friendship. Kellie and I had thirty-two years of friendship to our credit. However, two of those years had been absolutely terrible. I didn’t want to be in that terrible place ever again.
“Just think about it, Liz, okay? I talked to Martin, and he thinks it’s great. His actual words were ‘It’s about time.’ Will you talk to Roger and see what he thinks?”
I nodded. My affable husband probably would say it was a good idea. But I knew I wouldn’t join Kellie’s endeavor. We took the elevator up to Opal’s floor and stood by her front door with a gift basket brimming with new tea towels and a tin of loose-leaf Earl Grey to replace all of Opal’s tea we had drunk during the past few weeks.
Opal let us in with a Mary Poppins sort of efficiency and invited us to have a seat on her reupholstered sofa. She thanked us for the gift basket and then proceeded to hand an envelope to each of us.
“Go ahead and open them.” Opal grinned in her innocent-as-a-lamb way.
This was awkward. I shouldn’t be paid for any of the work. It was Kellie’s gig. “I can’t accept this.” I slid the unopened envelope back across the coffee table. “Thank you, though, for considering me.”
“How can you say you can’t accept it when you don’t even know what’s inside?” Opal was on her feet, rosy faced with excitement.
“Open it. Please.”
Kellie and I opened the envelopes in unison. Inside we found airline tickets to what I always had considered the most romantic sounding airport name in the Western world: Heathrow.
I was holding a ticket to my childhood wish in my hands. Too stunned to cry, I gleamed. That’s what Kellie said later. She said my face was so red and radiant I was shooting gleam-beams all over the room.
Kellie immediately began the string of questions. All the answers from Opal started with yes. Yes, this was for real. Yes, Opal was sure she wanted to do this. Yes, she remembered my saying on our first visit that I had always wanted to go to England. Yes, the tickets were booked for next Monday. And, yes, she knew that we had current passports because she had slipped that question into a conversation two weeks ago.
I calmed down, but my smile stayed at full sail. Opal poured the tea. Kellie sat in sweet, stunned silence. Both of us had just put the china teacups to our lips when Opal pulled out her final surprise of the day.
“We are going to have such a lovely time.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am an undeniable anglophile. Obviously there are many literary greats that hail from the UK (Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, the Brontës, etc.), but it¿s not just the authors that leave me itching to cross the pond. I love the cranky bartenders at the pubs. I love the rolling hills in the countryside. I love the limitless new plays that cycle through the West End. I love double-decker buses, the Tate, cathedrals, day trips to sleepy villages, the Tube, Tower Bridge and posh politeness from strangers. My Brit love boiled over when I lived in London. Instead of sating my thirst, it only cemented it. The first time I visited England I don¿t know if I stopped smiling the whole trip, which probably made it painfully obvious that I was a tourist. I was only 19 and I flew into Heathrow by myself. I visited a friend who was living in London and then we traveled to Bath and Stonehenge for a few days. I flew over to Ireland and wandered through that country on the same trip. Though I passionately loved the land of Guinness, it wasn¿t quite the same devotion I felt for England. Two years later I managed to swing a semester in London, which made it officially my permanent home away from home. All of that is to explain why Sisterchicks Go Brit!, a light read from one of my favorite authors when I was a preteen, was so much fun for me. It was a great reminder of all of the above. Gunn¿s characters travel to England for the first time and just like me, they are smitten. I felt like I was reading about my own experience in many parts. They did so many of the things that I (and many tourists before me) did. They shopped in Portobello Road, saw Les Miserable, posed with Big Ben, traveled to Oxford to visit the Eagle and the Child pub (where the Inklings hung out!). The book itself isn¿t life changing, it¿s just a sweet walk down memory lane.
An unexpected trip to Great Britain reveals to Liz the blessing and favour of God in her life and a deepening of her relationship with Him.Another instalment of older women or sisterchicks who travel with a close friend and discover new truths about God and their relationship to Him.
Thought I'd try the series. It reads like a travelogue.
If you are not familiar with the Sisterchicks series, each book follows a pair of women (the "sisterchicks") as they go off on an adventure that involves traveling to a faraway location--in this case England. Kellie and Liz are our sisterchicks and while the plot may be predictable it delivers plenty of feel good moments as the women bond over travel mishaps, food (in this case lots of tea, scones, and clotted cream), shared dreams and hopes, and a renewed walk with God. Kellie wants to start an interior design business with Liz her best friend. Liz isn't so sure, she thinks a business partnership might not be good for their friendship and she isn't sure that interior design is her dream. In fact her passion is for all things British, especially British literature, and it is this--along with a generous benefactor named Opal who becomes a part of the adventure--that finds them coming face to face with Liz's childhood crush--Big Ben. It's all good rollicking fun, with a bit of a faith lesson about trusting in God's direction thrown in.If you are looking for the perfect light summer read, look no further. And be sure to try out the other Sisterchick books by Robin Jones Gunn--each one features different characters so there is no need to read them in any kind of order. Each adventure will take you to a different spot on the globe so they are perfect for the armchair traveler who likes to experience different locales through books.And here's an extra tidbit of information that Kansas readers will appreciate--the sisterchicks travel to Olney, England which is famous for the pancake race they have every Shrove Tuesday. Do you know which Kansas town also participates in this tradition every year, racing against the participants in Olney? If you do, you will enjoy seeing this bit of trivia pop up in the book!
When I first picked up this book I was a little skeptical, because I'm an early twenty-something and I was unsure just how exciting a book about two best friend fifty-four year old women could be for me in particular. Well, it doesn't matter their age, the story and the message was wonderful. The only European trip I have ever had was a five day fabulous exploration to London with my sister. It was a last minute trip (back when you could make last minute flights) and is the best vacation that she and I have ever taken. We never ventured out of London on the trip, but every minute was well worth it. Reading this book brought back many memories that had been dormant and accelerated my desire to return someday as well. (Or maybe go to Scotland to see where my adventurous sister lives now...). Dreams and hopes are something that we all have. A wish is something that we make to help them come to light and push toward coming true. This book is about looking in yourself and finding what your dreams are, and making them work and showing you how God wants you to have all of your dreams and desires of your heart.
I picked up the first Sisterchick book (Sisterchicks on the Loose) a few years back, I think it had just come out. I had started reading Robin's books when I discovered the Glenbrooke series. I'm a Christian but I don't read a lot of Christian fiction. I'll be honest, I find a lot of it terribly cheesy and not all that interesting. I mean no offense to the sincere authors who write Christian fiction, some of it is quite good! There are authors who craft beautiful stories that touch hearts. My main issue with a good chunk of the genre is the idea that everything is good all the time. Even with God in my life, things are not good all the time, things can be dark and scary, painful and lonely. I want real characters and real situations. That said, let me tell you why I like the Sisterchicks books.The first thing you should know is that they are about travel. With the exception of Sisterchicks Down Under they are about women -usually two friends -traveling together. I only say that book is an exception because it involved relocation for one woman who made a friend in her new temporary home. If you have ever traveled with a very close friend you'll know that it's not always easy. Even for the best of friends to spend that much time together can be tricky. I have traveled with my best friend and it's a lot of fun. There is usually one point where we are tired and cranky but we respect each other to know that we can let it pass and move on.In the Sisterchick books the women generally have a plan but rarely get to follow it. Isn't that usually the way it is with traveling plans? There's always something to mess things up but these women embrace it, enjoy it and have fun. There's a great scene in Sisterchicks Go Brit where one of the characters splits her pants right before taking off in a hot air balloon. With some creative use of duct tape, she manages to get through the flight. After coming down to earth she sits down in some grass and not realizing that some of the sticky tape might be coming through she stands up to have "daisies" on her pants. It's cute and you know what? It could totally happen to all of us.I have been to the UK and I can really relate to those moments of seeing some of the great treasures for the first time. The first time you see the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Crown Jewels is quite amazing. The main character also has a great love for English literature. I'm getting there but I do understand where she is coming from.It's a light, fluffy read, perfect for an airplane or vacation read. It takes you away and you can't help but enjoy it. If you are a woman who loves to travel or just wants to travel I say pick these books up. The books do bring up Bible passages and the women usually have some sort of growth in their relationship with God but the books aren't overly preachy. Even if you aren't a Christian, you could easily read them for the adventures. Enjoy!
This is one of the worst books I've ever read. I didn't particularly like either character. It read like a bad travel journal. I understand this is a series. I won't be reading anymore!
Written by: Robin Jones Gunn
Published by: Multnomah
Reviewed by: Stephanie Rollins for ReviewYourBook.com 12/1/2008
¿A Series of Adventures for Two Moms¿ 4 stars
Opal is my favorite character in this book. She is a wacky 70-something woman who tells Elizabeth, who is in her 50¿s, to take chances. Liz had a dream to see England. Her childhood friend, Kellie, had a dream to have her own interior design company. They set off to tend to their dreams.
This book is made up of many small anecdotes. This makes for quick, enjoyable reading. Gunn writes with an understated humor and a keen sense of character development.
This easy-breezy book is one to read and recommend. All mid-life mothers will see the humor in it.
This book was an absolute joy to read. I think this book ranks as one of the best Sisterchick books ever (tying with Down Under). The main reason is because going to England has always been one of my dream getaways. And I will finally get to live it out when I go on my honeymoon next year! So this book gave me lots of ideas of what to do when I go. Going to a high class tea time is a must. And I would love to visit Oxford and pretend I was a student there. Seeing the crown jewels and watching Big Ben will be high priorities on my list. I could understand Liz's frustration with wanting to go to the city immediately instead of hanging out in the countryside. While I did enjoy reading about their adventures with the twins, I wanted them to experience the big city. I could totally relate with Liz about seeing British literature come to life first hand. I mean almost all the great classics are from British writers. I can't wait to experience Jane Austen's world, pretend I'm riding the train to Hogwarts or walking around London waiting for Aslan to whisk me away to Narnia. I can't believe that Kellie didn't know who any of the characters were. Oh I feel sorry for people who don't like to read lol. The friendship between the two women is great and it's wonderful to see how their relationship grows. Everyone needs a sisterchick in their life! This book has made me so excited for my upcoming trip that I am dying to go now (forget a huge wedding, let's plan the honeymoon! j/k!!). This book is a great armchair traveler. Once you've finished reading you'll be craving fish and chips with a spot of tea and and will start speaking with a fake British accent. This is one of my favorite fiction series ever and I can't wait to see where we get to travel next. VERY HIGHLY recommended.
When I first picked up this book I was a little skeptical, because I'm an early twenty-something and I was unsure just how exciting a book about two best friend fifty-four year old women could be for me in particular. Well, it doesn't matter their age, the story and the message was wonderful. The only European trip I have ever had was a five day fabulous exploration to London with my sister. It was a last minute trip (back when you could make last minute flights) and is the best vacation tha...more When I first picked up this book I was a little skeptical, because I'm an early twenty-something and I was unsure just how exciting a book about two best friend fifty-four year old women could be for me in particular. Well, it doesn't matter their age, the story and the message was wonderful. The only European trip I have ever had was a five day fabulous exploration to London with my sister. It was a last minute trip (back when you could make last minute flights) and is the best vacation that she and I have ever taken. We never ventured out of London on the trip, but every minute was well worth it. Reading this book brought back many memories that had been dormant and accelerated my desire to return someday as well. (Or maybe go to Scotland to see where my adventurous sister lives now...). Dreams and hopes are something that we all have. A wish is something that we make to help them come to light and push toward coming true. This book is about looking in yourself and finding what your dreams are, and making them work and showing you how God wants you to have all of your dreams and desires of your heart.
Though in their early fifties, best friends Kellie and Liz have dreams since they were teens they hope to one day fulfill. Kellie still wishes to start an interior design business with Liz as her partner Liz wants to visit London, a dream she has had since she was a teen. ---- Elderly neighbor Opal is going home to England to see her sister. Liz and Kellie decide to join her. As the Sisterchicks swing through England, they run into trouble, fog, and a good time while meeting nice people (for the most part), but also begin to understand that God knows their inner wishes whether the Lord grants them or not. ---- Fans of the series will want to accompany the Sisterchicks on their tour of Britain, which instead of the Romanism of Bronte starts as traffic like can be found in New York. The story line is actually more a series of anecdotal tales rather than a novel, but fans of the adventures will enjoy the SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT. ---- Harriet Klausner
So much fun. Encourages your relationship with God and your friends.
I enjoyed reading about Liz an Kellie and their lives. This is my first sister chicks book and I enjoyed it. I recently went to England and it was like being there all over again. The subway and seeing the sites. I was fun to hear about the things Liz and Kellie did and how surprising it was they were able to be there in the first place. The Pancake relay was fun to hear about and the historical information about it. The Balloon ride. There were some jokes in it that made me laugh out loud. I can't wait to read the next one. Although, I found that each book has new characters. This book was like being on tour in England. Extremely enjoyable.