One of my favorite plots in contemporary romances is friends to lovers. There’s something appealing about the long suffering character who has been secretly in love with his/her best friend. For years he/she has watched on the sidelines but are unable or unwilling to say something or do something for fear that it will ruin the friendship. Then one day something happens and the best friend’s eyes open up and poof, they are in love. (And they live happily ever after…)
MJ Fredrick’s book, Road Signs, uses this plot line. Willow Hawkins is a successful career woman. She has a job she loves as but after attending a wedding she starts to feel like she’s missing something and goes looking for a little romance. Rather than spend Thanksgiving alone, she opts to travel to Wisconsin to meet her potential boyfriend’s family. The trip is a disaster. His mother assumes that because she is coming home with her son for a holiday they are steps away from the alter. Her eyes are opened up to how he behaves in public and she discovers that she’s just not that in to him.
So what’s a girl stranded in Wisconsin to do? She call’s her trusty best friend Cameron Trask to come rescue her. Cam has a big interview for his dream job in Seattle on Monday. He’s planning on taking a train and needs to leave soon to allow plenty of time. But when Willow calls he is unable to say no despite the fact that he no longer owns a car. So he takes his brother’s car and the adventure begins.
Will is grateful to Cam for picking her up and somehow convinces him to drive to Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with his family instead of driving back to Chicago where he can get ready to leave for Seattle. This is the first of many instances when Cam caves instead of confessing the whole truth to Willow. When he finally confesses, Willow makes her mission to get him to Seattle. A mishap with a train ticket leads them to set off on the road trip of a lifetime staying in crappy motels, driving in treacherous conditions, and singing in a karaoke bar.
I found the dance between Willow and Cam to be very frustrating. I could understand the first couple of hesitations but I got irritated and just wanted to smack them both upside the head. The situations were getting more unbelievable as the story went on and I couldn’t picture all of that happening to these two people in the span of six days. I also couldn’t stop from thinking about another book from Carina Press, The Kiss Test, which employed a similar plot line.
I did like Cam’s family. Brian tries to tell Willow that she shouldn’t wait and that she’s in love with Cam. Cam’s mother worries that Willow isn’t right for him though she does care for her. When something happens to Willows home, it’s Cam’s family that takes care of things for her.
Ultimately I think I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. I finished it and instead of the usual stupid grin on my face or desire to re-read sections again, I went looking for my next read.
2.5-3 out of 5
Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley.