From the publisher:
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A starry-eyed romantic, a cynical writer, and (the ashes of) an elderly woman take the road trip of a lifetime that just might upend everything they believe about true love.
Millicent Watts-Cohen is on a mission. When she promised her elderly best friend that she’d reunite her with the woman she fell in love with nearly eighty years ago, she never imagined that would mean traveling from D.C. to Key West with three tablespoons of Mrs. Nash’s remains in her backpack. But Millie’s determined to give her friend a symbolic happily-ever-after, before it’s (really) too late—and hopefully reassure herself of love’s lasting power in the process.
She just didn’t expect to have a living travel companion.
After a computer glitch grounds flights, Millie is forced to catch a ride with Hollis Hollenbeck, an also-stranded acquaintance from her ex’s MFA program. Hollis certainly does not believe in happily-ever-afters—symbolic or otherwise—and makes it quite clear that he can’t fathom Millie’s plan ending well for anyone.
But as they contend with peculiar bed-and-breakfasts, unusual small-town festivals, and deer with a death wish, Millie begins to suspect that her reluctant travel partner might enjoy her company more than he lets on. Because for someone who supposedly doesn’t share her views on romance, Hollis sure is becoming invested in the success of their journey. And the closer they get to their destination, the more Millie has to admit that maybe this trip isn’t just about Mrs. Nash’s love story after all—maybe it’s also about her own.
“Debut author Adler combines heat and sweet in this charmingly offbeat rom-com….Adler’s well-drawn characters leap off the page, and she handles difficult topics with grace. She also shows off her comedy chops in some laugh-out-loud road trip mishaps…This delightful debut is sure to find fans.” —Publishers Weekly
“With a road trip, only one bed, and giant misunderstandings, Adler perfectly deploys her novel’s abundant romance tropes. Alternating between Millie’s and Mrs. Nash’s stories, this laugh-out-loud funny contemporary will have readers swooning over and cheering for Millie and Hollis….Adler’s delightful opposites-attract debut is perfect for fans of Tessa Bailey and Christina Lauren.” —Library Journal (starred review)https://amzn.to/3M6vUI9
This was one of the best debuts I’ve read in a while; great characters, interesting settings, and a double storyline that moves seamlessly from one to the other.
Millie is a former child star that hasn’t worked in the business since she was a teen, but she still gets recognized fairly often. She has learned to deal with it, but some of the encounters can be off-putting, to say the least. One such meeting occurs at the airport when a computer glitch cancels all the flights. To her surprise, a friend of her ex is there and rescues her from an uncomfortable situation. Hollis is a bit of a grump while Millie provides the sunshine in this opposites attract, forced proximity romance.
Hollis ends up driving from Washington D.C. to Florida, and Millie goes along for the ride. She is under a real time crunch. She is taking some of the ashes of her best friend, an elderly woman, Mrs. Nash, who passed away recently to Key West to reunite her with the love of her life. Mrs. Nash was a WAVE during the war, stationed in Key West. There she met Elsie, a nurse on the base. They fell in love, but there was no way for them to be together at that time. When the war ended, Elsie sent her back to the boy she was supposed to marry, and to live the life she was supposed to live. But neither of these women ever forgot the other.
The reason for the rush is that it’s taken Millie quite a bit of time to locate Elsie, and she’s in hospice so her days are numbered. Millie is determined to reunite the two women, and Hollis gets invested in the journey as well. The more time Millie spends with Hollis, the more she realizes what a fine man he is, despite his curmudgeonly ways. Meanwhile, Hollis is fighting his attraction to Millie. He has been badly burned by romance and is not looking for any more trouble. He has decided there is no such thing as everlasting love, but of course, Millie is going to change that.
This book is laugh out loud funny, despite the underlying drama of the separated lovers’ reunion that is planned. The road trip makes for great romcom fodder and the happily ever after is just the icing on the cake. I love finding new authors and Sarah Adler is now firmly on my must-read list. Don’t miss this sparkling debut!
5/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
MRS. NASH’S ASHES by Sarah Adler. Berkley (May 23, 2023). ISBN: 978-0593547793. 352p.