Title: Road to Tomorrow
Author: Mary Metcalfe
Publisher: Laskin Publishing (October 15, 2012)
Book genre: Women’s Fiction
Number of pages: 198
Book summary (from Amazon.com): Andrea Garrett is trying to escape her abusive marriage. Fearing for her life, she leaves her two small children with her twin brother and flees her home the day before her husband is due to arrive back from a tour of duty. After falling asleep at the wheel and landing in a ditch, her life takes on a new direction when strangers step in and introduce her to a life she could only have imagined and one that could save her soul and give her children the future they deserve.
There were many things I enjoyed about Mary Metcalfe’s Road to Tomorrow. I enjoyed the setting, the descriptions, the characterizations, and the story’s arc and development. Overall, this was a great, fun, extremely quick read (only a few hours), and one that I immediately recommended to my mother-in-law (in fact, the book is on its way to her now). All in all, a job very well done. Of course, I had a few small quibbles with the story (don’t I always? I know–I’m a terrible, picky person) but, for the most part, they were issues with aspects of the story that are rooted much more in personal preference rather than quality or composition.
More than anything else, I cheered on the strength of Tomorrow‘s main character, Andrea. Although I (very thankfully) have no experience whatsoever with physical or spousal abuse, I can only imagine how unbelievably terrifying, demoralizing, and weakening it must be–and, as a mother, I can also easily empathize with how much those feelings would be magnified if I had two small children also entangled in the situation. The sheer courage it would take to embark on the path Andrea did, not only seeking out a new and safe life for her and her children but leaving her children temporarily behind until she knew she could properly care for them, was an aspect that was not lost on me, and I often found my heart wound tightly and my breath held during the early parts of the book as she started her journey.
I also deeply enjoyed the characterization of the town of Laskin, Massachusetts, where Andrea eventually ends up. It truly resonates of the character of small-town, close-knit America, where everyone is in everyone else’s business (for the better), and your neighbor is not merely your neighbor, but also your friend. I could feel the warmth and candor of the town and its people emanating from the page, and I could also see Andrea blooming under its favorable influence. The town itself emerged as a strong protagonist in the book, and added much to the feel of the story. Again, job very well done.
I had three issues (two very minor, one slightly bigger) with the story. The first two fall under editing and formatting (and one of them might not even be picked up by most readers).
Throughout the story, the characters often refer to their time “at/in university”–this is very much a Canadian term (and one that I’m not surprised was used, given that the author herself is Canadian). However, given that the story takes place in the United States, the term should have been “at/in college.” Same thing when speaking of the grade Andrea’s children were in at school–the term used in book at one point was “grade four,” again much more Canadian in nature (in the U.S., we would say “fourth grade”). Yes, I know. Picky, picky. But I noticed it, and thought I would point it out. It is a detractor to the story? Absolutely not! It is something that I think should be fixed in editing, given the location of the story and that the characters are from the U.S.? I do.
My second issue was in formatting. There were a few times within the story where the point of view shifted, and there was no discernible separation from the previous POV. I caught at least four of these switches and, although I was able to quickly tell what had happened, it would have been nice to at least have a space between paragraphs to signal a change was taking place.
My third, and biggest, “complaint” (although, again, I must emphasize that this is personal preference) was in the tempo of the story. I like my tales to be drawn out, the character’s realizations to span a few pages, the backstory and thought patterns to take their time. I like it this way because it makes it seem more real, more human (or perhaps just closer to how I make decisions and come to realizations of a large nature). The action in Tomorrow seemed to move very fast at points, particularly when it came to Andrea’s love life and willingness to embark upon a new relationship (specially with kids–very young kids–in the picture). It’s likely because I couldn’t see myself moving on that fast, regardless of how bad my previous marriage had been. There were a few instances, also, were characters seemed to come to terms with each other and overcome disagreements and obstacles very easily–sometimes too easily, it seemed to me (and I’m thinking particularly of Andrea’s confrontations with her in-laws in this case). Some of it just didn’t ring true to me. However, I chalk a lot of this up to the fact that I deeply enjoy long, convoluted stories, and this wasn’t that at all. Although there was plenty of drama, problems, and human emotion, Tomorrow is at its core a story of strength, courage, and new beginnings, and that where its focus lay.
So, as I said at the start: all in all, this was a really fun, quick read. I was able to largely identify with the characters, and the story had me on the edge of my seat at least a few times for different reasons. The biggest test is certainly the fact that I had no problem recommending it to my mother-in-law–I want her to keep on liking me, so I would never steer her wrong in the books-you-should-read department!
About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!
About the book: Andrea Garrett is trying to escape her abusive marriage. Fearing for her life, she leaves her two small children with her twin brother and flees her home the day before her husband is due to arrive back from a tour of duty. After falling asleep at the wheel and landing in a ditch, her life takes on a new direction when strangers step in and introduce her to a life she could only have imagined and one that could save her soul and give her children the future they deserve. Get Road to Tomorrow through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author: Mary Metcalfe lives in the foothills of the Laurentians, northeast of Ottawa, Canada with her husband, three cats and a very large dog. Love of writing runs in the family. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author.
Clarion Review described Mary’s debut novel as a “sparkling debut… readers will love being swept along by Winds of Change.”Road to Tomorrow is her third novel in the Look to the Future series. Connect with Mary on her website, blog, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.
About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Road to Tomorrow! Here’s what you need
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest
- Leave a comment on my blog.
That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Road to Tomorrow tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!