A huge thank-you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for this e-arc of The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary.
Beth O’Leary is one of my auto-read authors, but did her newest novel, The Road Trip, live up to my expectations?
If you were to ask what my favorite contemporary romance book is, I wouldn’t hesitate even one moment before replying with The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. I read it in 2019 and immediately fell in love with the unique plot and the way the author seamlessly combined an adorable love story with more challenging and realistic topics. In the summer of 2020, I listened to The Switch by the same author. Once again, I was astounded by how a book could be so light and sweet while also including such serious undertones. It will come as no surprise to you that I was thrilled to receive an ARC (advanced reader copy) of The Road Trip and my expectations were very high.
I personally believe that all of the novels by Beth O’Leary are perfect for spring and summer reading. There’s something really refreshing about them that reminds me of these seasons. Needless to say, you might be adding The Road Trip to your beach or poolside reads this year. Find out if it belongs on your book stack by reading my review.
Review of “People We Meet On Vacation” by Emily Henry // Review of “The Lucky Escape” by Laura Jane Williams // My Favorite Contemporary Romances
My honest review of The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary.
Two exes reach a new level of awkward when forced to take a road trip together in this endearing and humorous novel by the author of the international bestseller The Flatshare.
What if the end of the road is just the beginning?
Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry’s enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven’t spoken since.
Today, Dylan’s and Addie’s lives collide again. It’s the day before Cherry’s wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland–he’ll never get there on time by public transport.
So, along with Dylan’s best friend, Addie’s sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart–and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all. (Goodreads Synopsis)
If one could harness secrets for energy, we wouldn’t need petrol – we’d have enough grudges in this car to take us all the way to Scotland.The Road Trip
I’m sitting down to write this review five days after finishing the book and I’m still unsure how to rate it. This is partially to do with the fact that it was so much better than I ever could have imagined it would be, and simultaneously, I feel as though it was just such an unexpected story. I went into this with the expectation that it would be a second chance romance with a splash of surprise reality (something O’Leary has mastered effortlessly with both The Flatshare and The Switch). I’m hopeful that by the time I’ve finished writing this review, I’ll know how many stars it has garnered in my heart and mind.
[CW: familial and emotional abuse, sexual assault and attempted rape, codependency]
I don’t often include my content/trigger warnings so early on in my review, but I find that they’re needed in order to explain where I stand on the story. When Addie picked up Dylan and Marcus on the side of the road, she also picked up some really heavy baggage (about what, I was unsure until over halfway through the story).
The story presents two POVs – Addie and Dylan’s – as well as two timelines – the past and the present. The past tossed me into a whirlwind, instant romance. It’s steamy, fun, and swoon-worthy. It doesn’t take long to love the two as a couple and immediately wonder what could’ve possibly gone wrong to ruin them as is obviously the case in the present timeline. As time goes on, red flags pop up, and before you know it, understanding begins to creep in.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I really appreciate romance books that include reality. I think it’s important for the characters to be relatable and for the challenges that they face to seem like something you or I might experience in life. I didn’t quite expect the book to get as weighty as it did, however. There were moments that truly shocked me and I think?? that I appreciate their inclusion? I guess that it made the relationships between each and every character all the more profound, despite how hard the scenes were to read.
The secondary characters were surprisingly interesting. In the beginning, I wondered at their purpose, but as the chapters went on, I realized why all five of these individuals were in the car together in the present timeline. Without each and every one of them, the tale wouldn’t have been complete. In fact, they added to the humor. Yes, there was humor, despite the heavy undertones, and it was great humor at that. I found myself laughing nearly as many times as I found myself sitting in sober silence. There was a really excellent balance.
Be aware that this is not your average “chick lit” or “fluff” book. It’s meaningful and substantial, with topics that truly thought-provoking. And now that I have actually written all of this down and really thought it through, I can confidently give it five stars.
Glad to hear that this surpassed your expectations! I loved The Flatshare but I didn’t enjoy The Switch as much. But Road Trip sounds great, and the fact that it is more than just a romance intrigues me. I might pick it up.
Beth’s latest book sounds a lot different to her first two, I still want to read it though! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I honestly can’t wait to read this, I was truly swept from my feet with ‘The Flatshare’ and loved the story O’Leary created! I too appreciate when a romance it’s not just swooning, but reality is intertwined too, really can’t wait to read it! thank you for your review x
This sounds awesome, especially for spring and summer. I love that it has a little more substance in it as I prefer more thought-provoking books (while also being entertaining, of course ha!).
I love a book with a little deeper meaning behind it. I will for sure add this to my list!
I am so excited for this book! I loved The Flatshare so much and it’s great to hear that this one is fantastic as well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
It is on my list now!
I actually was looking for some well-written contemporary romance to add to my spring/summer readings. I love that you said topics in the book are thought-provoking: that is exactly what one seeks in a good read.
I haven’t read a single book by this author yet, though I did add The Flatshare to my TBR list a while back, I simply haven’t gotten around to it. Really enjoyed reading your review of The Road Trip. Sometimes it’s the ones where you struggle to rate and review that are the best books. I am quite intrigued by this one and I will have to add it to my TBR so I can hopefully read it soon.
I’ve heard so many good things about Flatshare, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. After reading you’ve read everything by this author I think I need to hop on it and read that one and The Road Trip.
I’m not usually a fan of road trip books but this is Beth O’leary and your review is equally compelling. Thanks for sharing!
I also find that I enjoy books (especially romance) more when they are realistic! I think the “forced to be together” trope is one of my favourites and have added it to my “to read” list on Goodreads!
You have me completely hooked! I need to read this book ASAP, seems right up my alley. Amazing review!
i was intrigued when i saw this on your story this morning and after reading this i will def add it to my list!
xx rebecca // http://www.rebeccapiersol.me
I have not read anything by this author but would love to check out this book. It seems that she’s a good author based on your opinion. 🙂
This definitely sounds like a thought-provoking book! I might have to add it to my summer reading list to give it a try. Xx.
I LOVED The Flatshare and cannot wait to read The Road Trip when it comes out!!
I hadn’t heard of Beth O’Leary, but she certainly sounds like i need to add her books to my list! They all sound cool!
I wasn’t a fan of The Flat Share at all—it just didn’t click with me. I just have the hardest time reading contemporary romances, but I’m so glad to see you enjoyed this one. I think I have a few friends who would love this as a gift!
I haven’t heard of this author, though my interest is now piqued. Thank you for the recommendation!
Fabulous review!! I adored the Flatshare but still need to get around to The Switch. This sounds like it needs to go right to the top of my list, especially given that it beat your high expectations. Thanks for the recommendation!
Sounds like an excellent book! I love when a book can balance humor, romance and difficult subject matter well. It’s much more relatable because life is messy too.
Ok, I think I’m going to DM you on IG and ask for your best recommendations for a few genres I love because I honestly feel like you’ve read every book I would want to ever read haha!
I didn’t enjoy The Flat Share at all … not sure about her writing style. Thank you for the review though.
The begging of two Ex’s going on a road trip really caught my attention. This would be a nice relaxing summer read if I may say do! I would definitely add to my summer reading list
This sounds like such a good book. I am going to add it to my reading list!