ROMANCE

Side Trip

Lake Union: Amazon. Jul. 2020. 334p. ISBN 9781542016964. pap. $14.95. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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In order to assuage her guilt over her sister’s untimely death, surfer girl Joy Evers departs on a Route 66 road trip to fulfill items on her sister’s bucket list on her way to join her fiancé in New York City. But Joy’s trip takes a surprising turn when she ends up sharing the journey with gorgeous singer-songwriter Dylan Westfield, who is on a similar trek of his own. Through alternating perspectives and a twisting, nonlinear plot, Joy’s and Dylan’s stories unfold as they fall in love and imagine what their futures might hold. Some readers may appreciate the complicated nature of this unconventional romance, but, unfortunately, the jarring final twist undoes a large chunk of the narrative then ties up the plot far too neatly.
VERDICT Fans of conventional contemporary romances may be put off by the meandering and melodramatic way that the hero and heroine finally get their happily ever after. However, readers of romantic dramas à la Nicholas Sparks will likely be more tolerant of the story’s contortions.

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