This southern novel, Gardenias For Breakfast, written by award-winning, best-selling author Robin Jones Gunn is a story woven with joys and struggles in the pilgrimage of a woman’s life. The main character, Abby, and her daughter, Hannah, embark on a trip from Seattle, Washington to Louisiana for a long anticipated visit to Abby’s grandmother, Grand Lady, Charlotte Isabella Burroughs. Abby stayed with her grandmother when she was twelve, and was eager for her own daughter, now twelve, to experience the love and memories that she had as a child. Abby struggles at first, wanting her daughter to meet all of her expectations, but soon realizes that this trip was meant to bring about her own life-changing experience.
Throughout the book, readers can easily reflect on their own memories of their mothers, grandmothers, and other women who have been a strong personal influence. I found it both refreshing and gutsy that the author shares candidly about the changes a woman’s body goes through in the life cycle process.
The only weakness I found in the book was Chapter 1, and how it related to the story line. In addition, Hawaiian terms and details make it hard to get into the book. However, once Abby and Hannah reach America and start on their journey, the book becomes easy and interesting reading.
Young women, mothers, and grandmothers will savor this book and can reflect on why they are the women they are, and the importance of extending God’s grace in woman-to-woman relationships. You know a book is enjoyable when at the end you shed a tear of joy because of having read it. Gardenias For Breakfast caused me to have such an emotion, and I eagerly anticipate my own mother reading it, and reflecting on our own journey. -- Becky Swymeler, Christian Book Previews.com
"Everybody has a story. You listen to their story, Honeygirl, and your story will come find you."
Her Grand Lady spoke these words when Abby was just a girl growing up in rural Louisiana, surrounded by an extended, loving family. She’s been listening carefully ever since.
Now Abby is raising her own family thousands of miles away. And even though Hawaii might seem like paradise to some, it’s a long way away from those idyllic days she remembers, sitting with her grandmother, learning about the beauty and mystery of life. So Abby has just one wish: that her daughter Hannah might be touched by the beauty of her 92-year-old Grand Lady’s stories, before it’s too late.
But when Hannah finally does spend time with her Grand Lady, the old woman crushes her tender spirit. A mother-daughter journey “home” becomes an adventure of discovery—about the importance of family and the healing found in forgiveness.