Moon Over Tokyo

by Siri Mitchell
Siri Mitchell has written another beautiful story in Moon Over Tokyo. Much like the first Mitchell novel I read (The Cubicle Next Door), the setting plays prominently in the book: Siri pens engaging descriptions of Tokyo, bringing the sights and sounds of the city alive in a way that reveals the inner tensions and beauty of its Japanese culture. As I turned the pages of this book, I felt as though I was escaping to a foreign world: And though my feet have never stepped upon Japanese soil, I feel as though I’ve experienced a bit of its intrigue.

But this book offers so much more than just an interesting setting in Tokyo: It also offers an enchanting romance. Journalist Allie O’Connor prays for a friend who speaks English: And what she gets is an unexpected reunion with Eric Larsen, an old high school classmate who spars with her politics but creates sparks in her heart. Allie and Eric’s romance doesn’t hold any highly dramatic moments: Rather, it’s a tender story that unfolds with the timidity and uncertainty that characterizes most real-life relationships.

As Allie explores her fears and feelings about Eric, she learns some important lessons about her faith as well. Allie’s story is one of dreams, fears, and learning to give control to God. And that’s why I loved this story so much. Yes, it’s a very romantic story (one of the most romantic I’ve read for awhile!).  But it’s about so much more than a guy and a girl who fall in love: It’s also about the God of love who brings them together.

In the field of Christian chick-lit, where most stories seem to involve large US cities, gallons of coffee, and sassy 20-somethings, Siri Mitchell’s Moon Over Tokyo offers a refreshingly unique setting and characters with more depth. I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s craving a good romance or a trip to an exotic place!

The Cubicle Next Door

by Siri L. Mitchell

This was the first Mitchell book I’ve picked up, and I was rewarded with a cute “chick lit” story, complete with quick-witted characters and humorous situations that kept me smiling as I turned the pages.

The Cubicle Next Door centers around Jackie Harrison, a civilian employee at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. As the story opens, her office is about to be “compartmentalized” into cubicle space for two. Bewildered by the antics of her new officemate, Joe Gallagher (a pilot turned instructor at the Academy), Jackie begins to write about her frustrations on her online blog, The Cubicle Next Door. But just as Jackie’s feelings for Joe start leaning toward romance, a national news program features her blog on a special report: Suddenly everyone’s attention is fixated on Jackie’s unproclaimed love for her officemate–including Joe himself!

I enjoyed the witty banter between Jackie and Joe, but it was in the more sincere moments of Jackie’s vulnerability that the story became most endearing. From a whirlwind makeover by her grandma’s best friends to her first-time attendance at an Air Force football game, Jackie slowly allows her world to expand beyond the safety of her online blog. And of course, her feelings for Joe help prod her along the way.

With a clever plot and characters you want to cheer along, The Cubicle Next Door delivers a great mix of romance and reality. And for extra charm, Mitchell adds entertaining glimpses of the quirks and traditions of the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs. In my opinion, it’s a winning combination, and I recommend this title for those who enjoy the chick-lit genre.