Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Christy and Todd: The Married Years trilogy by Robin Jones Gunn

Forever With You, Home of Our Hearts, and One More Wish by Robin Jones Gunn constitute a trilogy continuing the story of some of this prolific inspirational romance author's best-loved characters. Christy and Todd are a young married couple just out of college. Over the course of these three books, they face challenges with jobs, finances, and housing. They learn to communicate and compromise, and start planning for the future, including the possibility of children. They also reconnect with many old friends known to Gunn's readers from other connected stories.

I probably would not recommend these books as a starting point for readers unfamiliar with Gunn's works -- she uses this trilogy to tie up several loose ends and catch up with many old characters. Readers who have not already "met" Doug and Tracy, Katie and Eli, Sierra and Jordan, and the many others who appear in these pages would probably be a bit confused -- like going to a party where you don't know anyone, but everyone seems to know everyone else. On the other hand, readers who are familiar with Gunn's stories will enjoy catching up with everyone. Gunn's greatest strength as an author is her skill at creating memorable, relatable characters. I felt that the writing was rather weak compared to some of her earlier works (I always feel that the Glenbrooke series is her best). In this trilogy the authorial voice veered to the preachy side at times, which I've never noticed before in Gunn's writing. I also found myself occasionally rolling my eyes at the coy references to sex. I get the feeling that Gunn was taking special pains to keep the books squeaky clean for the youngest and most innocent of her readers, but it comes across a bit stilted. Of course, none of that kept me from burning through these books in a very short amount of time. I appreciate getting some closure for several long-running story lines, and I hope to see Gunn move on to focus on creating some new characters for her readers to enjoy. (When I saw the title of this series, I joked, "What next? Christy and Todd: The Parenting Years? Christy and Todd: Midlife Crisis? Christy and Todd: The Retirement Years? Christy and Todd: Til Death Do Us Part?" I think I may be kind of over Christy and Todd.)

(Reviewed from my personally purchased electronic copies.)

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