Review of HOPE'S HIGHWAY by Dorothy Garlock (see her website)
Warner Books, January 2004
Margie Kinnard has always dreamed of going to Hollywood and, when her father announces he's moving to California, she agrees to go with him, even though they have never been close. The trip doesn't make them any closer but, for safety, Margie and her father travel with several other vehicles, including the car driven by handsome Brady Hoyt. Brady is going to California to deliver his niece to his sister-in-law (his brother killed the girl's mother and then himself) and he will then return to his Colorado horse ranch. Margie feels instant attraction to the cowboy, but her father tells Brady that Margie is a slut and a thief and Margie assumes that Brady believes. Brady wants Margie, but doesn't want to deny her dreams of Hollywood. Compared to that, a rural horse-ranch doesn't seem like much.
The depression-era journey across Route 66 is endangered when a pair of thiefs decide that the caravan would make an attractive target. When Brady foils their robbery attempt, one of the thiefs vows revenge--tracking the party across Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. The catty and unfaithful wife of one of the other men in the caravan adds to the problems as does Margie's father's increasing silence and anger.
Author Dorothy Garlock has obviously researched the great depression-era highway and her research shows. The slow and painful drive, frequent mechanical problems, and dangerous fellow-travellers stand in sharp contrast to today's air-conditioned high-speed freeway system and Garlock's description rings true.
After reading a few pages, I turned to the cover to find if this book was targeted at young readers. This seems not to be the case. The sexual and frequently violent content are definitely aimed for adults. But the writing is often simplistic, the characters single-dimensioned, and the plot straightforward. Garlock fans and fans of the Route 66 experience will want to add this one to their to-be-read collection.
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