Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Under a Maui Moon
Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Publisher: Howard Books
Release Date: July 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Romance
Year/Setting: Present day, Maui
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Robin's Website/Blog: www.robingunn.com
Carissa and Richard might have a marriage in trouble. It’s hard to say, though, since Carissa is staying tight-lipped about her feelings and Richard is spending more and more time at the office. With an ambivalence that neither of them really feels inside, they wonder how to move on and keep their marriage alive.
When Carissa is let go from her job, one of her favorite coworkers gives her the key to his Hawaiian getaway and tells her to take Richard for a vacation. In a last minute change of heart, Carissa decides to get away on her own and try to sort through her feelings and her life. What does she want to be now that she’s grown up?
She loves being in Maui and her backyard neighbors are fantastic. An older couple with a strong marriage and faith, they serve as a bit of an example of a strong marriage. And when Carissa meets their divorced son Kai, she’s even more torn about what to do. Should she pursue a relationship with a man like Kai? He’s more understanding than Richard and more solicitous of Carissa and her needs.
Will Carissa figure out what she needs for her life? Will she give Richard a second chance? Will she pursue a relationship with Kai? Can she find her way back to God and learn what He would like her to do? Will she be able to find her way back to her life under a Maui moon?
Carissa is a character going through a lot of things all at the same time. She is now an empty nester, unemployed and in a rocky spot of her marriage. She can’t really trust Richard to stay because she knows everyone will eventually leave her. She’s got some unanswered issues that she has to come to terms with before she can really make a decision about her life.
I really loved the secondary characters and Carissa’s Hawaiian neighbors, Dan & Irene, are people I’d move to live next to. They are a wonderful couple with pearls of wisdom to share. It’s their open hearts and generosity that draws Carissa to them. Then she learns a lot about what she wants for her own life by watching their example.
I was able to see the largest hurdle to Carissa’s finding herself, but it felt that this major issue was a bit glossed over in the story. Carissa is really struggling through a major life crisis and most of the time I was with her and understood her (even if I didn’t always agree with her). A few times she seemed extra needy and whiny, but overall she was a lovable character. I did identify with a lot of her struggles as a woman and I was delighted beyond belief with the surprises that keep coming at the end of the story.
Seeing the internal struggle Carissa is going through—even though she looks put together on the outside—gave me a better appreciation for other friends I have who seem to be in a dark place right now. I found her struggles to be different from mine; yet, in the end I found a struggle is still a struggle, no matter what the root cause. I hope I picked up some empathy for others while reading this story.
Under a Maui Moon was an exceptional story showing us that God’s love is never as far as we think it might be. God is always looking to walk with us, and help give use redemption from the situations we get ourselves into. His grace is never lacking and it is hiding in plain sight.
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