This week we’re looking at a bold and refreshing departure that also masters a type of tale the author had never told before. This week we’re looking at Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale.
Over the last several books, Kerry Lonsdale has managed to tell amazing tales that always used some variant of the same basic idea. The books have been phenomenal, but it was getting to a point where one wondered how she would be able to continue in that vein.
So what does she do?
She tells a completely new story and writes the best book she’s written in her career – which is saying something, because her previous four books really were that awesome.
Here, she uses as one of her primary characters a young woman whose motivation is all too easy for me to understand, because we very nearly shared some version of it. Here, Joy lives with guilt from a car crash she survived… but her sister didn’t. In my own case, many years ago I was in a double T-bone car crash yards from my house with both of my younger brothers in the car. Long story short, my Toyota Corolla caught both a Ford Bronco and a Toyota Tacoma broadside, and had one of those two – I do not remember which – hit even a couple of inches further back in the car than it did, I would have shared Joy’s fate. Even as it was, thanks to incompetent personnel at my small town hospital my brother still came close to losing his life that day.
But shockingly, it wasn’t when we get the full reveal of all that happened that night that brought on the waterworks here. And the waterworks *will* come in this book. No, the events of that night had been well established if never explicitly shown by the time they are finally shown. But there is something else, much closer to the end of the book, that opened the faucets pretty damn wide. And it would have been the *perfect* ending – or so says the man that says that Smallville should have ended with the Season 7 finale, rather than continuing on for 3 more years as it did. (Even though even from the moment it aired, I’ve held that the finale we actually got on that show – particularly its last hour, the actual finale – is the singular best hour of television to ever air. So I’ve been known to be wrong, and your mileage may vary.)
What Lonsdale actually closes the book with satisfies a few things and adds quite a bit more depth to the overall tale, so to a point I get why she ended it the way she did. And it even makes the book somewhat reminiscent of a pair of my favorite movies from many years ago, but to list which two would be to get too close to spoiler territory for my comfort. But I still say it should have ended at the waterworks point, as that would have been even more courageous – but courageous doesn’t always sell. 😉
Ultimately a truly remarkable book, and a very refreshing departure for this particular author. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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