Three women, two weeks, one convertible: Sometimes life doesn't take you in the direction you expect. Colleen Bradley is married with a teenage son, a modest business repurposing and reselling antiques, and longtime fear that she was not her husband's first choice. When she decides to take a road trip down the east coast to check out antique auctions for her business, she also has a secret ulterior motive. Her one-woman mission for peace of mind is thrown slightly off course when 16-year-old Tamara becomes her co-pilot. The daughter of Colleen's brother-in-law, Tamara is aware that when people see her as a screw-up, but she knows in her heart that she's so much more. She just wishes her father could see it, too. The already bumpy trip takes another unexpected turn when they stop at the diner that served as Colleen's college hangout and run into her old friend Bitty Nolan Camalier. Clearly distressed, Bitty gives them a story full of holes: Angry with her husband, she took off on her own, only to have her car stolen. Both Colleen and Tamara sense that there's more that Bitty isn't sharing, but Colleen offers to give Bitty a ride to Florida. So one becomes two becomes three as Colleen, Tamara, and Bitty make their way together down the coast. It's a road trip fraught with tension as Tamara's poor choices come back to haunt her and Bitty's secrets reach a boiling point. With no one to turn to but each other, these three women might just discover that you can get lost in life but somehow, true friends provide a roadmap to finding what you’re really looking for.
©2014 Beth Harbison (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
After the Harbison's so-so story in "Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger," I was a little apprehensive about reading "Driving with the Top Down." I needn't have worried. She's back on track. I loved the interplay between Colleen, Bitty, and Tamara. I'm hard pressed to pick my favorite character. As they travel down the east coast looking for "treasures," each they all begin to trust each other in lives they have begun to mistrust. They share there stories: Coleen, who feels she has always been her husband's second choice; Bitty, who realizes that without her husband's identity, she has ceased to exist; and Tamara, a sixteen year old who couldn't make a good decision if you put a gun to her head. This is a beautiful story of learning to trust and love again and finding the true meaning of your life. And learning to live it while you're "driving with the top down."
Special thanks to Sasha, Stacy and Stef for sharing the Audible experience with me and being the best of company during my recovery.
Colleen Bradley feels a strong need to get away from her home, her husband and her son for awhile. As the owner of her own antique store she write this off; both figuratively and literally as a business trip. Then at the eleventh hour she gets a traveling companion her niece Tamara. The sixteen year old girl is a 'hot mess' and inwardly Colleen moans at the thought of the next two weeks with the moody, churlish teen. The girl is the daughter of her husband's brother; product of a one night stand who'd had no contact with her father prior to her mother's death; distant and strained described their relationship aptly.
The pair take off and drive from Maryland to North Carolina; stopping at a rural restaurant that was Colleen's old college hangout. As they sit down to eat Colleen begins to tell Tamara a little about her old friend Bitty; the name an homage to her petite frame. Amazingly Colleen spots a woman who looks like an aged version of Bitty.
Bitty Nolan Camalier is at the old college haunt in order to kill herself. After twenty years of verbal and emotional abuse her husband has tossed her out of their home. Thus after having been essentially an appendage for twenty years she has been suddenly transformed into nothing more than an amputated body part.
When Colleen leaves the restaurant two has become three and though this is resented by Tamara all three women will find their lives forever altered by the two weeks they spend together.
This is an excellent audiobook; five stars all the way.
I've read all of Beth Harbison's books and have liked most of them. However, after being sorely disappointed with the last 2 that I read (When In Doubt, Add Butter & Chose The Wrong Guy, Gave Him The Wrong Finger), I was reluctant to spend a credit on this one. I'm thrilled to say that this book is Beth Harbison at her best - great story, as well as characters with depth that I cared about & could relate to. Orlagh Cassidy did an excellent job, as usual, as narrator. I definitely recommend Driving With The Top Down!
what a great book! this was my first Beth Harbison book but it won't be my last. I enjoyed the storyline, characters, and the narratir was spot on!
I enjoyed the audible because the reader gave the characters personality.
The characters overcame obstacles and all came out winners. Happy endings all around.
The characters let their guards down, sharing some of their true selves while playing a Truth or Dare kind of game.
The lead character--showed compassion and wisdom and helped the others overcome their difficult situations.
I usually listen to my Audible selections in my car while I am running errands, but with this book, I was so interested in the characters, I continued to listen after I returned home. It was a true "page turner" for me.
Not too much angst, unforced humor, characters I cared about and interesting back stories for each woman. Plus a happy ending. What can I complain about? It was well worth the $4.95.
I generally love her books, but this one was slow and I found myself really bored halfway through the book
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