Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finally and Forever by Robin Jones Gunn

Finally and Forever by Robin Jones Gunn is the conclusion of the Katie Weldon series. More than that, this book wraps up loose ends from over twenty years of writing by Robin Jones Gunn. Katie was a secondary character in Gunn's Christy Miller series, Sierra Jensen series, and Christy and Todd: The College Years trilogy. Christy's story was wrapped up in that trilogy (though she makes occasional appearances in other books), Sierra's story concluded with Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii (one of my reads from January of this year), and now Katie's story concludes with this book.

Katie, in her usual spunky and impulsive style, has followed her boyfriend Eli to Africa, where his parents work with a mission organization. Now that Katie and Eli have finished college, they both hope to find a way to be useful in Kenya. Will Katie be able to adjust to life in Africa? Will she and Eli find purpose for their lives -- and will those purposes be compatible, or will the two of them end up going their separate ways?

I have a sentimental connection to Gunn's writing, since I counted her among my favorite authors when I was a teen. Her squeaky-clean inspirational romances are better written than most of that genre, and she does a good job of creating interesting characters and developing relationships between them. Her teen and young adult novels feel realistic -- they're a good depiction of the conservative Evangelical Christian culture I grew up in. As such, they may not be of interest to those unfamiliar with or disinterested in that culture. For their target audience, however, they are a pleasant diversion.

I often don't mention book covers, but I do want to add that this one is particularly heinous. The first three books in this series have covers that are actually expressive of Katie's personality and of the tone of the story -- but with this book, the publishers threw all of that out of the window and decided to go for a soft-focus picture of a dreamy-eyed girl who looks like Africa would chew her up and spit her out. I'm really unimpressed. It looks like they just gave up and slapped any old stock photo on this cover.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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