Five young moms, including beloved Gunn character Christy Miller, gather to share meals and soon become unlikely best friends. The regular gatherings provide opportunities for the women to reveal their stories, and those life stories endear them to each other. They experience their lives naturally meshing as they raise their children together in community. In Becoming Us the group find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they'd had when they were growing up. They unite to be remembered for what they do as moms and not for what was done to them.
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I had no problem finding Jennalyn’s house that windy night in early December. The two-story charmer stood out from the other Costa Mesa ranch-style houses on Ventura Street. I even made it as far as the welcome mat by her front door before a rising sense of panic pressed in on me, causing me to stop and draw in a deep breath.
You don’t have to do this, Emily. You can leave now. No one inside knows you’re here.
My gaze went to the meandering red ribbon that looped through the fresh evergreen wreath hanging on the door. The wreath had an artistic assortment of bright silver bells, clusters of holly berries, and strategically placed starfish—a charming blend of beachy, artistic, and classy. Just like Jennalyn.
Nervously, I pulled her handmade invitation from my shoulder bag as if another glimpse at it would bolster my courage.
Come to a Favorite Things Party!
7 p.m. on December 5
Jennalyn’s new home.
Bring a plate of Christmas cookies
5 gifts of your favorite thing that costs under $5.
(No whiskers on kittens or bright copper kettles, please.)
It was all so cute. The idea, the invitation, and now the charming wreath on Jennalyn’s front door.
Why did I say I would come? I can’t do this. I won’t fit in with these women.
My feet didn’t move. In my pounding ears, I could hear the echo of my husband’s calm voice right after we moved to California. He had to coax our daughter out of the car on her first day of fifth grade.
“You gotta be brave, sweetheart. You’ve gotta take the first step. Truth is, I don’t know anyone in this wide world who wouldn’t want to be friends with you. Go on, you can do this.”
Audra took that first step, and she had made lots of friends at school over the past three months. Now it was my turn. If Trevor were standing beside me, I knew he would slip into his most adorable southern drawl and say, “Go on, Emily, darlin’, ring the bell. You’ll be glad you did.”
You better be right, Trevor Winslow. You better be right about a lot of things.
I rang the doorbell and waited. When the door opened, cheerful Christmas music spilled out. Jennalyn’s dark, silky hair hung over her shoulders, and she smiled at me in her welcoming way.
“I’m so glad you came! Come in.” She offered me a pregnant mama side hug.
I held out my plate of cookies with an apology. “They’re not homemade. I hope that’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay.” She took the plate and led the way past the garland-festooned staircase. The fragrance of fresh pine mixed with cinnamon and cloves hung in the air.
I could hear the other women’s voices coming from the large open area at the back of Jennalyn’s beautiful home. They were laughing the way friends laugh when they know each other well.
I hung back slightly, my heart pounding. The conversation paused when we entered. I counted the women seated on the plush sofas. There were only three, but they were all looking at me.
“This is Emily.” Jennalyn placed her hand on my shoulder. “We met at the grocery store a few weeks ago and ended up having such a great conversation, I knew I wanted to include her for our Favorite Things party.”
A chorus of greetings followed as each woman said her name. I gave a nod and a “hi” and placed my gifts on the end of the long marble kitchen counter where the other gifts were. Jennalyn added my plate of cookies to the snacks.
“Would you like something to drink?” One of the women had stood and was now coming toward me. Her long hair had a pretty nutmeg-brown tint to it and was tucked behind her ears. Her oval face seemed to be framed like an open window with the curtains pulled back to each side.
“I was going to make some hot tea,” she said. “We have cold drinks too.”
As she came closer, I read in her distinct blue-green eyes a gentle sincerity. Or maybe it was compassion, as if she instinctively knew how nervous I was.
“Tea sounds good,” I said.
“Do you like peppermint tea?”
“Yes. Sure. Anything.”
“I’m Christy. I know it’s hard to remember names when you hear them all at once.”
She motioned to the other women on the couch. “So, again, that’s Tess. And Sierra is in the chair.”
My eyes went to Sierra first because of her beautiful, wild, curly blond hair. She wore a stack of gold bangles and beaded leather bracelets that shimmered and clinked together when she lifted her slender arm to wave at me. She reminded me of a mermaid.
“I love your sweater,” Sierra said. “It looks hand knit. Is it?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so.” There was no way I was going to admit to her that I’d found it at a local junktique when I was hunting for lamps for our small apartment.
Sierra patted the underside of the simple scarf-like cocoon strapped to her front. “This is Ella Mae. She was four weeks old yesterday.” Sierra folded back the tie-dyed fabric so I could see the downy head of her little one.
I hadn’t realized she was cradling a newborn in her wide scarf. I smiled back but couldn’t manage a comment because a lump had swelled in my throat. I blinked so I wouldn’t tear up.
“Do you like honey in your tea?” Christy poured the boiling water into a white china teapot shaped like a pineapple.
“I’m the same way. I like my peppermint tea unsweetened. Now, if we were having English breakfast tea,” Christy confided, “I’d have both milk and sugar in it. And at least two cookies for dunking.”
“At least two,” Jennalyn chimed in. “Although I think we’ll all need more than just two cookies tonight, by the looks of this assortment.”
Christy and Jennalyn were treating me as if we were already friends. I wished my emotions hadn’t gotten so elevated.
Jennalyn reached across the counter to uncover the plate of cookies I’d brought.
I couldn’t tell if Jennalyn’s exclamation was one of surprise and delight when she saw my contribution, or if she was appalled. I stayed fixed on her expression as she examined the thumbprint cookies. They each had a chocolate kiss in the middle, popping up like an elf’s cap. At least that’s what Audra said they looked like when she helped me pick them out at the grocery-store bakery that afternoon. That’s why my daughter had taken it upon herself to meticulously cover each kiss with green frosting and add a tiny red candy dot on top.
“How clever.” Jennalyn, the artist, understood my daughter’s attempt right away. “Christmas elf caps. These are adorable!”
I noticed that Christy was observing the lopsided cookies the way I had, with polite skepticism.
“Hey!” Sierra called from the couch. Her sleeping baby stirred, and she lowered her voice. “I vote that you guys bring the cookies over here and share the bounty.”
“Great idea.” Jennalyn went to the coffee table and cleared her artistically arranged decorations, looping the expensive-looking table runner over the back of a kitchen chair and carefully transferring the nativity set.
Tess stood to help transfer the cookies to the coffee table, and I was surprised at how tall she was. She carried herself as if she had runway experience. As she gracefully reached for the plates of cookies on the counter, I felt short compared to her.
I also realized I was the only one in this group who had short hair. Problem hair, as my mother used to call it. My baby-fine strands never grew up nor had they managed to grow out. My light brown, wavy hair fell to just below chin level. Most of the time I felt like I looked as if I’d gotten caught in a springtime shower without an umbrella. I think that’s why I always noticed other women’s hair. My four sisters-in-law had often said they envied my flat stomach and shapely legs. For me, I admired other women’s hair.
I watched Tess out of the corner of my eye and wondered what it would be like to have thick, dark hair like hers. She wore it folded into a loose braid that hung down her back and then fell to the side when she bent to put the first few plates within easy reach for Sierra.
Tess caught my gaze and smiled. I smiled back. Her pale blue eyes stood out in a mesmerizing way against her toasty brown skin. She was stunning in an exotic, complicated way.
I took a seat next to Christy on one of the leather sofas. As the other women chatted, I drew in a slow breath. Christy was kind and a little shy. Jennalyn was outgoing and hospitable. Sierra was the free spirit in the group who had no trouble speaking her mind.
Tess would be the mystery. That was fine with me. After being the only introvert around Trevor’s big clan for all the years we had lived in North Carolina, I found it nice not to be the only quiet woman at a party.
“Emily, how did you come up with the idea for the elf-cap cookies?” Sierra asked.
“It was my daughter’s idea. She decorated them.”
“Clever girl. How old is she?” Sierra asked.
“Ten. Well, almost eleven.”
“What’s her name?”
“What a pretty name.” Tess spoke for the first time. Her voice had a warm, lilting tone. “Audra,” she repeated as if my daughter were a storybook character.
Sierra helped herself to a second cookie. “Do you have only one child?”
My stomach tightened. I don’t think Sierra intended for the word only to stand out in her question, but it did.
“Yes. Just one.” I put the cup of peppermint tea to my lips and hoped the subject would change. My heart was racing again.
“Ella Mae is our first,” Sierra said. “Jordan would love to have a dozen. I wouldn’t mind that. I came from a big family, so I’m hoping we have lots more. Babies are amazing, aren’t they? Such a gift.”
I nodded and took another sip of tea.
“Do you think you guys will have more?” Sierra asked.
A circus of emotions ran through me, doubling the uncertainty I had felt on the doorstep earlier. My hand wobbled as I held the teacup to my lips. I swallowed before making a noncommittal sort of “Mmm” sound in answer to Sierra’s question.
“Does anyone else want tea?” Christy lifted the pineapple teapot. “I think there’s enough for one more cup.”
“Sure,” Sierra said. “I’ll have some. It’s decaf, right? Unless, Tess? Do you want the last cup?”
“I’ll make another pot.” Christy rose from the couch.
I used the opportunity to quietly excuse myself and retreat to the powder room. As soon as I closed the door behind me, I let out a long, slow breath.
Why is this so difficult? These women are nice. What is wrong with me?
Putting my clammy hands in the sink, I let the cool water run over my wrists, grounding me, calming me. In the mirror, my solemn brown eyes seemed to be evaluating my reflection the way I’d evaluated all the other women. It had been easy for me to find something I liked in each of them. Why couldn’t I show myself the same kindness?
I’m not ready to have these kinds of conversations. Not with these women. Not with anyone. I need more time. I can’t do this.
I folded the guest towel and adjusted it on the countertop.
I need to leave. Now.
I returned to the great room and saw Jennalyn standing next to the kitchen counter. My plan was to discreetly tell her I wasn’t feeling well, which was true. I sidled up next to her, ready to make a quiet excuse and equally quiet exit.
Jennalyn looked up. “Perfect timing! We’re ready to open the gifts.”
I hung back. “Well, actually, I—”
“Don’t worry. You didn’t miss the instructions,” Jennalyn said. “I was about to explain how the favorite-things gift exchange works. Here.” She placed a basketful of gifts into my arms and pointed at the coffee table.
I found a spot for them next to a plate of cookies and hesitated before sheepishly lowering myself onto the sofa.
I’ll stay for the exchange. Then I’ll slip out. No drama.
I noticed that my teacup had been refilled, so I reached for it and held it like a prop, grateful to have something to look at other than the women in this close circle.
“It’s simple,” Jennalyn began. “Everyone takes a few minutes to talk about what she brought and why it’s a favorite item for her.”
“We have to stand up and say something?” Christy echoed my discomfort.
“You don’t have to stand. But you do have to explain why you chose what you brought. Then we all get one of the gifts to open, since everyone brought five of the same thing. Does that make sense?”
“Yep,” Sierra said. “Should I go first?”
“Yes, please do.”
“My favorite thing is shopping in funky thrift stores.”
She and Jennalyn started talking at the same time and laughing about a shared moment they had recently while shopping at a local thrift store. They had found a vintage dresser that Sierra had turned into a changing table for Ella Mae with the assistance of Jennalyn’s painting skills.
Their enthusiasm for “repurposing treasures” made me feel less self-conscious about where my sweater had come from. I also realized they called them thrift shops and not junktiques.
“I didn’t have time to wrap them, so here.” Sierra opened a zippered fabric pouch she had pulled from her diaper bag and displayed an assortment of at least a dozen bracelets on the coffee table. “I thought everybody could pick the one she wanted.”
I waited until the others had made their selections before settling on a lime-green, plastic bangle. Since I don’t wear a lot of jewelry and always felt like bracelets got in the way, I made my choice based on what I thought Audra might like.
“Thanks, Sierra.” Tess gave her wrist a shimmy. “I really like this one.”
“Good! I’m glad. Why don’t you go next, Tess?”
Tess handed out her gifts in small drawstring pouches. Sierra immediately knew what it was.
“Is this the same fragrance you brought over with the diffuser a couple of days before Ella Mae was born?”
“Yes.” Tess’s buttery voice sounded confident. “No surprise, is it? One of my favorite things is fragrant oils. These are roll-on tubes of my latest favorite combination. The base is cedarwood and lavender, so it’s earthy and calming. You might also pick up the faint hint of frankincense.”
Excerpted from "Becoming Us"
Copyright © 2019 Robin Jones Gunn.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having read several Todd & Christy books, I was super excited when I realized this book was a continuation of their life together. Becoming Us (Haven Makers Book 1) by Robin Jones Gunn is a tale of friendship and forgiveness. It details not only how Todd & Christy become “us” with a new life away from his family, but also how Christy and her friends become a tribe. This book made me yearn for my own DOE group. I have a tribe, although just four ladies. We are at that time in our lives, all busy with our own families, where we don’t have much time for each other. However, these are ladies I could call in the middle of the night and they would come. These are shoulders on which I have cried and those that I have supported. Ladies need shoulders… a tribe for when we are angry with our husbands, our children and even ourselves. We need shoulders not only for life’s disappointments but also to share our triumphs. We need shoulders for dinners, movies, and weekend getaways. I loved the “Welcome to Womanhood” party. I only wish this book came out a few years ago. The party is so sweet and endearing. Making your girls feel a part of a tribe rather than dirty, alone, ashamed, or ugly. Most importantly, robin reminds us to always live for your King of Kings! Publication Date: May 7, 2019 Genre: Christian Fiction, Religious Fiction, Chick Lit Cover: Perfect Rating: 5 stars Source: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read this great book! #TheLongCall #NetGalley
Becoming Us is the first book in the Haven Maker Series by Robin Jones Gunn, author of the well known Christy Miller Series. I devoured the Christy Miller books in high school and was excited to know that Robing was releasing Becoming Us which features Christy as an adult. The main character in Becoming Us is a young wife and mom named Emily who moves to Southern California from the East Coast. Emily and her husband Trevor experience a season of transition as they seek to establish their own roots and remove themselves from the shadow of Trevor's domineering family. While living in Calfornia, Emily becomes friends with Christy Miller and her friend group which includes Jennalynn, Sierra, and Tracy. Life takes an interesting turn when Trevor's job in California ends up not being all that they expected it to be. Emily and Trevor wrestle through whether or not they should move back to their hometown where life is familiar and there is a guarantee of a job for Trevor. While Trevor considers committing to what's comfortable, Emily finds herself growing closer to her new circle of friends as she shares with them some hard things she's experienced in her past. Overall, I enjoyed Becoming Us. I love that Robin Jones Gunn produces fiction which is lighthearted and encouraging but there were some aspects of Becoming Us that I wasn't particularly fond of. I felt that the book was a bit lengthy. Also, there is a part toward the end of the book in which Emily and Trevor's daughter is about to have her first menstrual period so Emily and her friends throw a party for her to celebrate. I thought this idea was a little odd and were it a normal, non-fictional celebration, I would opt out of participating. I did appreciate that there were many aspects of the book in which I could relate to Emily as a wife and mom, but this wasn't one of them. I did enjoy reading about how the main characters had to work through conflict in their marriage. I believe this side of marriage is often glossed over especially in Christian fiction. I really appreciated how the characters worked together to seek God's will in tough decisions they had to make. Much of what Emily and Trevor had to work through as they trusted God in their marriage reminded me of similar instances in my marriage. I received Becoming Us compliments of WaterbrookMultnomah in exchange for my honest review.
Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn was a lovely story about relationships. There are hurts and hang-ups and life navigating trails in this one. To be introduced into each of the women’s life and why they are the way they are is a real picture of people around us every day. Hurt people hurt people and forgiveness is so healing and important. Seeing the real enemy and not switching into self-preservation mode. Sometimes I laughed and sometimes I cried. Should she move or should she stay, all emotions were wrapped up in this read. I look forward to the next book in this series with the anticipation of where it will take me. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I really enjoyed Becoming Us, there is something in this story for everyone. We have all, as adults, faced fears and lost confidence in ourselves, just like the couple in this book. It was refreshing to see real life problems and how God can work them out, lean on him like Emily and Trevor, and let him work out the details. Emily and Trevor have moved across the country, with their daughter Audra, to get a fresh start. When things aren't working out financially they begin to doubt that the move was the right thing to do. All the reasons they made the move are becoming less clear as they aren't sure they can make it. Beyond the financial challenges, they are facing all the things everyone faces, lack of close friends, family is far away, and they are learning to lean on each other and on God. Making a new life, having the confidence to make new friends, and feeling like they belong, these are things we all face in our daily life. I loved watching their journey to Becoming Us, and how being away from family expectations gave them the freedom to define what Becoming Us actually will be. I face some of their difficulties and I enjoyed how they worked together and relied on God. This is full of scripture-based lessons. I loved watching Emily become Emily, away from the predefined Emily she felt like she needed to be. Really an enjoyable story that leaves you with plenty to consider! I received an uncorrected proof copy to read from the publisher but was under no obligation to provide a review.
Emily and Trevor Winslow's move from North Carolina to California was supposed to give them a new, amazing start. Instead, the used car lot Trevor owns and manages has become an albatross, and the Winslow family is amping up the pressure to come back to North Carolina. Can they hold firm that, while California has so far not lived up to the hype, they still believe they were led to relocate there by the God who loves them? Introverted Emily has had a difficult time making friends. When she is invited to a "Favorite Things Party" she is eager to meet some like-minded women, but incredibly ambivalent about putting herself out there. Just as she convinces herself to leave before even going in, she is pulled into the home where the party is being held. As the women share, she discovers that these women come from all walks of life. While some have their own beautiful homes, some, like Emily, are apartment dwellers, and one is even living with her in-laws, a situation Emily is achingly familiar with. Even though she enjoys herself, she talks herself out of going to the next meeting - until she stops to pick up her plate from the party's host, and ends up helping her deliver her baby. After that, all hope of stepping away is gone, and she has friends whether she wants them or not. The more time she spends with the group, the more invested she gets, and the more she enjoys them. They take Emily and her daughter, Audra, in as part of the family. Even her husband Trevor finds a friend in one of the husbands of the group. The Daughters of Eve, as the group begins to call themselves, share truth with each other and do life together as friends. It was beautiful to watch Emily open herself to other women through this group, even though she felt inferior in so many ways. Realizing she still has something to offer to others was a huge deal for her, and gave her the confidence to shore up her husband's lagging belief in himself. Gotta say, I was a little disgusted with Trevor's father. Yes, Trevor was the youngest in the family, and yes, financially he had gone bankrupt once, but the near constant phone calls trying to lure him back into the family fold did not help, even though that was the intent. I was glad they were able to stand firm, together, and not fall apart. This was the story of friendships of women, and of Emily and Trevor's marriage. While this reminded me in many ways of Gunn's SisterChicks series, and one of the main characters here was Christy Miller, from her Christy Miller series, I didn't find as much laughter as I found in Sister Chicks. I did, however, find every other emotion I can think of. Readers of women's fiction will enjoy this story, as will romance readers, although, the romance is more about romance in marriage than new love romance. It took me a bit to get rolling with this book, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend!!
Emily and Trevor come to California hoping for a fresh start. After years of infertility and financial exhaustion, the couple is seeking a new beginning at their uncle's car lot. And when invited to a women's Christmas party, timid Emily comes out of obligation... and vows not to get close. But as the group becomes more intwined, the women find that they need each other... and that becoming is truly a group effort. Will Emily and Trevor get the break they need to start a new life? Or will their "becoming" be cut short? Written by the author of Christy Miller and Sisterchicks series, Becoming Us follows the lives of five women as they try to discover who they really are. In various stages of life, they form a community through effort and time together. I really appreciated the way Gunn always brought the story back to relationships: Emily with the other women, Trevor and Emily together, family relationships, Emily and her daughter... and so many more. It is these relationships that bring the women through a variety of tough situations. And these relationships that ultimate tie Trevor and Emily even closer together. It was this marriage relationship that was even more enjoyable for me to watch... the way they both supported and encouraged each other. There were times that I felt Gunn minimized some of the character's issues. For example, timid Emily quickly changes her ways and opens up to the group. And some serious marriage issues were resolved rather easily. These were issues that I felt could have been further developed and seemed somewhat trivialized. But all in all, it was a light quick read about the importance of relationships... not only in terms of friendship, but also in terms of becoming all we were meant to be. * Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn; Inspirational Fiction, Waterbrook Multnomah, 320 pages, 2019. Becoming Us is a modern day fiction account of a young family who has relocated to California to make a new start. After years of disappointing fertility treatments they have struck out on their own leaving a close knit family in the East. Emily is a woman who has not dealt with many unfamiliar situations and must now deal with all the new people and insecurities that she encounters in California. What she finds in the way of unexpected friendship gives her the strength and insight to deal with her anxiety and buried pain. Through Emily’s growth and the wisdom of her friends, I think every grown woman has experienced similar experiences and will identify with one of the women in this story. This book reminds me how much we as women, need other women friends to become all that we were meant to be. Emily’s faith also sustains her and gives her peace in tough situations and helps her find forgiveness. Although I usually tend to like historical fiction, I really enjoyed this book and the characters and would encourage women to read this book. Each of the women have faced struggles and dealt with difficulties. The friendships that develop remind me again how much we need each other because life is just hard at times.
This book was amazing. A sweet story of friendship, over coming hard stuff, and God's grace that my heart desperately needed. Robin is the master at creating 'soul stories," and this one truly touched my soul in several ways. It is a sweet easy read, and a wonderful opener to her new series. As someone who struggles with loneliness and missing have girlfriends that live close to me, this book was a balm to my heart. It is lovely, lovely read. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
I had the joy of getting an early release of this book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the haven makers series as she released the next ones. The characters are very relatable in this book and there’s a character everyone could relate to. It’s similar to a hallmark movie in a book, it keeps you interested and deals with heartache, new beginnings, friendships, and growth in all the characters. I really enjoyed it!!! Plus I grew up reading the Christy Miller, Katie Weldon, and Sierra Jensen series and loved them. Not to spoil anything but I loved that the characters also overlap in this book! I recommend reading this book.
This is the first book I’ve read by author Robin Jones Gunn and it won’t be my last. An easy read, Becoming Us explores the lives of women and their need for healthy relationships. Five friends become bonded through life experiences, both good and difficult. We also see the need for a family to become just that, a family, without influence from others. Faith in God and real situations with life like characters drew me in and made reading the book a wonderful experience. I look forward to book two in this series. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
Becoming Us, first in the Haven Makers series, is a charming and delightful story of a circle of women who grow in friendship and find comfort in their connection with one another. Robin Jones Gunn is a prolific author and yet I had not read any of her previous books so did not know what to expect with this book. I found the book to be entertaining, and yet even more that than, encouraging and inspirational, inspiring me to be more welcoming to others, to create a space for people to do life together in a safe place—a haven. Ms. Gunn writes with authenticity and readers are easily drawn into the lives of these women who have known disappointment and heartache and yet can find strength as they nurture each other, realize God’s provision in their lives, and find the passion of true friendship. Becoming Us is a poignant story about finding hope in the midst of the ever-present changes in life, it is about having faith in a God who has promised to be with us through the circumstances of life. I am looking forward to reading more of this author’s work. I received a complimentary copy of the book from WaterBrook & Multnomah Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are my own.
Friendship Leads to Growth and Acceptance Southern California may seem like a dream local to many, but Emily wasn’t so sure. She and her husband, Trevor, had relocated from North Carolina where they were embraced by a family circle. Here they have a small apartment in which Emily struggles to feel at home. Just before Christmas Emily is invited to join four other women for a pre-Christmas party. Emily is shy and feels uncomfortable in a setting where the other women are relaxed. She particularly feels like an outsider because they all have babies and toddlers while her daughter is ten. It’s particularly stressful because of the infertility problems Emily and Trevor have experienced. This is a story of Christian friendship. The five women band together to share life stories and support each other. They name their group, Daughters of Eve. For readers familiar with Gunn’s previous books, Christy and Sierra will be old friends. This is a gentle book. The plot is not exciting or thrilling. It’s the story of women and friendship. Many of the scenes are the women, either in pairs, or all together sharing their tears and joy. It’s a story that encourages women to realize how important friendship is. No one has to feel alone in trying circumstances. I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for this review.
When I was in high school, one of my favorite series was the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. My family had just moved and I was going to a school after being homeschooled my whole life. I could really relate to Christy Miller and felt as if she were one of my best friends. When I started reading Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn, I was so excited to be reunited with my old friend. This book is told in first person through the perspective of Emily. In this book, I could really relate to Emily. There are many aspects of my life that I am going through right now that, while not exactly the same, are similar to what Emily experiences. I could even relate to the fact that Emily is an introvert since I am highly introverted. I’m not usually a fan of first person books but I think it was perfect for this book and made the book better. The characters, old and new, in this book made me feel like I had joined a supporting group of friends. It was hard to finish this book and leave my new acquaintances. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Robin Jones Gunn’s latest book Becoming Us is a heartwarming story of faith, friendship, and family. Five women come together to form a strong bond of friendship and provide support for each other during both the good times and the difficulties in each of their lives. Their faith in God helped give them strength and to realize their own self-worth. Robin Jones Gunn created a wonderful cast of well-developed main characters and supporting characters who were positive influences on each other. The author showed how beneficial it is to have a group of friends who will always support you and and will share in your faith and love of God. This was a very enjoyable story and one that fans of contemporary fiction will not want to put down! I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook & Multnomah through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Let me start by saying I love the cover of this book. Now that I have finished reading the story, the cover means even more to me. I want to have a summer party with the ladies in my life just like Jennalyn's. This is a very special story about becoming a good friend, a better sister, daughter or mother. Every woman needs a Jennalyn, Sierra, Christy, Tess or Emily in their life. I have gained so many wonderful ideas from this read. Without going into detail and spoiling the story for others, let's just say there are some fantastic party and get together ideas I will definitely like to try. Christy, one of the characters in the story, would ask God each year to impress upon her a word for the year, something she should be working on. In the book the present word is LISTEN. So she shares with her friends different ways God was bringing this to her attention. At the beginning of this new year, what a wonderful time to pray and ask God to impress on me a Word or area I need to do better at. The Word is going to be different for each woman, depending where we are with our walk with Him or our family dynamics. This group of ladies called themselves the Daughters Of Eve, or DOE's. The support and understanding they develop for each other is phenomenal. Each lady has her own strength, and they combine these for the good of the whole. My daughters are grown now, but this is one time I wish I could go back in time. I would love to have a celebration of their entry into womanhood for each of my girls, as the DOE's did for Emily's daughter Audra. Our girls are all princesses and should be treated as such. After all our father is The King of Kings. This is a wonderfully written story. There is so much content here, you will want to read it again so you do not miss anything. I received a copy of this book from the publishers WaterBrook and Multnomah through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own
This book is from a first person point of view, that being said I am usually not a fan with this book the author did a really good job and not making the reader feel like you are missing anything. This story is in no way a love story. In a world where women can come off caddy and not welcoming, the author captured five women in different walks of life and has them come together to bond and find a way of lifting each other up and being there for each other no matter what one is facing. I loved that about this book and how uplifting it was to me as a reader. The struggles that Emily and her family faced felt like really anyone could face and it was how they handled it that gave hope. I really liked how the author draws you in and makes you feel like you are catching up with friends and less about reading a book. This book is a good clean read but does deal with adult situations.
Emily Winslow and her husband, Trevor, have moved with their daughter to California for a fresh beginning, but their ties to North Carolina keep them from feeling like they are completely committed. Years of fertility treatments and the resulting financial hardships have taken their toll on their sense of self-confidence and self-worth. They long to have refreshment breathed into their lives and their relationship. Robin Jones Gunn explores the importance to women of close, nurturing relationships with other women. She does not ignore the complications that often arise in the search for these types of connections, complications caused by being judged, by insecurity, and by time constraints to name a few. God can use loving, sisterly relationships among women to heal and to draw women and their families closer to Him. Emily reluctantly steps out of her comfort zone and is embraced by just such a group of women. Readers may look at their own relationships, cherishing them or looking for ways to go deeper. I recommend Becoming Us to those looking for a sweet story of renewal, and to those who have been hurt and want to try again to connect. I am grateful to have received a copy from Multnomah via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
A new book, a new series by Robin Jones Gunn? I’m in! Becoming Us is Book #1 in the Haven Makers series. The story is told from the perspective of Emily, a young wife and mom. She and her husband Trevor, and their daughter Audra, have recently moved from North Carolina to California. With no family nearby, they learn to rely more on each other, on God, and on the new friends He brings into their lives. Emily connects with a small group of other women, and together they have fun and fellowship. There is laughter. There are tears. There is even laughter that brings tears! They share their stories, their struggles, their joys, their journeys. They become, for one another, a haven. Robin Jones Gunn is a gifted storyteller. Her writing draws you into the story, the setting, and especially, the characters. Even though it has been many years since I was a “young wife and mom”, I could relate to these women. I read her earlier series, Sisterchicks, and remember the excitement I felt when I learned there was a new book coming out. And now, I can’t wait for Book #2 in this new series! Hurry back, Emily and friends!
Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn brings together 5 young mothers who connect and form a close bond with one another. The story is told mostly from the POV of Emily who has recently moved from North Carolina to California with her husband and young daughter. Unlike the others, Emily's child is not a baby or toddler, so that plus being in a very vulnerable season in her life causes her to be hesitant about forming friendships within the group. When an unexpected event thrusts her into a shared experience, however, she allows herself to be pulled into the group. The transformation of Emily from a shy, lonely, timid woman who has allowed family to shape her life into a person emerging from the shadows strong in faith, confident in herself, willing to take risks, and determined to do what is best for herself, her husband, and her child is an encouraging story for anyone who struggles to find herself. Both Emily and her husband Trevor make strides to lean less on their own thoughts, understanding, and indecisiveness and to trust fully in God... which also is a lesson observed and adopted by daughter Audra. For the fans of Christy Miller and Sierra Jenson, it will be a treat to revisit them in "Haven Makers" series. I know Robin Jones Gunn through her "SisterChicks" books, but now I want to read more. I give Becoming Us 5 stars and look forward to reading future books about these friends. I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself as part of the WaterbrookMultnomah Becoming Us Launch Team. All opinions are my own.
BECOMING US is the first book in Ms. Gunn's Haven Maker series and features her well-known characters Christy and Sierra that many readers grew up with. (I didn't. I never read either of those series.) I discovered Ms. Gunn's books via her Glenbrooke series and her Sisterchick series. A group of four women: BECOMING US is written in first person, and in Emily's point of view. Emily is shy, misplaced, unconfident, and struggling to find her footing in a new environment. Her husband has a new job and is an extrovert, her daughter is thriving and making friends, and Emily just wants to crawl into a cave and hide. Womens fiction, this is a story of Emily finds her footing, finds friends, and finds her faith in the midst of a pending life storm. Fans of Ms. Gunn (especially those who grew up with Christy or Sierra) will want to grab this new book BECOMING US. Preorder your copy now. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
We are living in a time where we need a haven in life. This is book #1 in the haven makers series. I found this book to be a place of safety and refuge. It’s a well crafted story told from Emily’s point of view about finding your self, your strength, style, and stronghold in the storms and joys of life. In true Robin Jones Gunn style there were tears of joy and laughter, as well as grief and struggle. This book wove faith and God being present and real in our lives as a theme underlying the characters growth, but not in an overpowering way. Other themes were motherhood, female friends, marriage, secondary infertility, finding yourself, relationships with your Mom, and art. This is a great example of why I read, it soothes my soul, and inspires me with new ideas, like a blessing of another as a celebration of a new season of life. Thankful to partner with Multnomah and read an ARC of an author whose Sisterchicks and Glenbrooke Series I had previously read.
The author gives us a wonderful story of warm hearted women and you will soon be immersed in their lives, and as I found I didn’t want to leave. For me it is a reunion with some of these characters, and the others soon become dear friends. Being there for one another is an understatement, wow, even helping with birth, even if you didn’t know how the day was going to turn out. As these women are on this journey of “Becoming Us”, or Daughters of Eve, they soon find they are also learning more about themselves and those that are a part of their lives. This is such an awesome read, that I want to go back and read it again and savor it a bit more, it is that good! I received this book through the Publisher Waterbrook, and was not required to give a positive review.