Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Driving With The Top Down

Driving with the Top DownAuthor: Beth Harbison
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Three women, two weeks, one convertible: sometimes life doesn't take you in the direction you expect...

Colleen Bradley is married with a teenage son, a modest business repurposing and reselling antiques, and longtime fear that she was not her husband’s first choice. When she decides to take a road trip down the east coast to check out antique auctions for her business, she also has a secret ulterior motive. Her one-woman mission for peace of mind is thrown slightly off course when sixteen year old Tamara becomes her co-pilot. The daughter of Colleen’s brother-in-law, Tamara is aware that when people see her as a screw-up, but she knows in her heart that she’s so much more. She just wishes her father could see it, too.

The already bumpy trip takes another unexpected turn when they stop at the diner that served as Colleen’s college hangout and run into her old friend, Bitty Nolan Camalier. Clearly distressed, Bitty gives them a story full of holes: angry with her husband, she took off on her own, only to have her car stolen. Both Colleen and Tamara sense that there’s more that Bitty isn’t sharing, but Colleen offers to give Bitty a ride to Florida.

So one becomes two becomes three as Colleen, Tamara, and Bitty make their way together down the coast. It’s a road trip fraught with tension as Tamara’s poor choices come back to haunt her and Bitty’s secrets reach a boiling point. With no one to turn to but each other, these three women might just discover that you can get lost in life but somehow, true friends provide a roadmap to finding what you’re really looking for.

If she could go back, would she do it all the same way again?

She was no high school badass. And now she would be going on a road trip with one.

Happily ever after. But that didn’t happen. I don’t believe in that anymore. I remember when I did, as clearly as I remember believing in Santa Claus. And I miss believing in happily ever after just like I miss believing in Santa Claus. A lot of magic went out of life with the realization of how ugly and stark and unfair things can really be.

Each woman in this book is having a hard time with life and certain people or things involved in their own. The three women, Colleen, Tamara, and Bitty, are all connected through Colleen and are each searching for something that seems to be missing in their lives. Colleen doesn’t quite know what she is searching for, Tamara is a troubled teen with a past, and Bitty is struggling in a horrible marriage. These three women end up together for a two week car ride up the coast looking for new items for Colleen’s shop. This book is very well-written, of course because it is a Beth Harbison book, and will have you laughing and crying as the stories of these women unravel and they share their desires, deepest secrets, and their deepest fears with you!

This novel is a little on the larger side at almost 350 pages, but it took me no time to finish. Once you learn about each woman you will instantly become invested in their stories and what they have to share with you. I could never decide which one I liked more, but I will say that I was rooting for Tamara because as a teen she was still so young and I wanted to see her change her life and come out on top. The story is light and this definitely qualifies as a summer/pool/beach read. It is so charming and I guarantee that you will connect with at least one of these women.

Beth Harbison is a phenomenal author. I have never disliked any of the books that I have ever picked up by her. This book has a lot to offer as far as relationships are concerned, and if you have any relationship in your life whether it is romantic, a friend, a colleague at work, or anything else then you understand the importance of them. What I love most about Harbison is that while she writes incredible fiction stories, she also makes you stop and think at the actions and thoughts of her characters. She puts thought into each one and I am sure she is trying to reach her readers using her characters. If this is the case, it works every time for me!  

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review***

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