Published by Quercus
Publication date – 29 April 2021
Source – Review copy
Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.
But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie’s ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.
Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they’ve totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with four-hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can’t avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship…
Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly, is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?
Addie and her sister Deb are on their way to Scotland, ready to enjoy their friend’s wedding. What they aren’t ready for was being crashed into. What they definitely aren’t expecting is that the occupants of the other car are Dylan, Addie’s ex-boyfriend, the one she hasn’t spoken to for nearly two years, and Marcus, Dylan’s best friend, who happens to loath Addie. With Marcus’ car out of action Addie finds herself driving the pair, and stranger Rodney, up to the wedding. Four hundred miles in a squashed Mini Cooper. What could possibly go wrong?
The story moves between the present day and back to when Addie and Dylan first met, layering the story so that the reader is aware of the background between the pair, and what led to their break up.
Whilst this should feel like a closed room novel, given there are five main characters in the car, it feels like there are a lot more people involved in Addie and Dylan’s journey. The step back in time allows the reader to see more of the people involved in Addie and Dylan’s lives, from overbearing fathers to loud uncles on Dylan’s side and exuberant friends and considerate parents on Addie’s.
Of course the journey is not without it’s issues, from car trouble to leaving Deb on the hard shoulder of the motorway, it soon becomes apparent that the trip will seem far longer than 400 miles.
The humour mainly comes in the scenes in the car. Five adults squashed into a Mini Cooper is bound to bring some funny moments. Throw in Rodney, a stranger to them all, unaware of the history between the others in the car and Deb, Addie’s exuberant and blunt sister and there are bound to be some light-hearted scenes.
Dylan and Addie have to look at the end of their relationship in a new light as they start to interact more. Having not spoken for nearly two years, the pair have to cope with a return of feelings long since thought buried and analyse where things went wrong. Both have to acknowledge how they were during their relationship and how much they have changed since then.
The Road Trip isn’t as laugh out loud funny as The Flatshare, or as warming as The Switch but it has a tone all of it’s own. There are darker moments, especially around the break up of Addie and Dylan. Marcus, Dylan’s best friend, is quite mean and self-centred and it appears to the reader that whilst he says he has Dylan’s best interests at heart, there may be more selfish reasons to his actions. Whilst not as humorous as her previous novels, The Road Trip has the strong, vibrant characters and driven story-line readers of Beth O’Leary books have come to expect.
With it’s own bumps, dips and summits, The Road Trip shows that the journey to true love isn’t always that smooth.
I look forward to reading more from Beth O’Leary in the future.
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