Book Review: Driving on the Left, by Gail Ward Olmsted

**May contain spoilers for Jeep Tour. Can be read as a stand-alone though.**

Like Mother, Like Daughter? 

A summer fling changed the entire course of Jackie Sullivan’s life. Back then, she trusted her instincts and took a chance on love. Now she’s at a crossroads and has a big decision to make. How much is she willing to sacrifice for the man she loves? 

Her daughter Becca’s got her own problem- a secret that could threaten her carefully planned-out future. Romance is the last thing on her mind this summer. Jackie and Becca planned to explore the beautiful Irish countryside during a relaxing vacation, but when Becca falls for tour guide Sean, she wants to explore much more. Will Becca resist temptation or follow in her mother’s footsteps? Sean may be just too good to pass up. 

This book is for anyone who believes in the power of love and its ability to make you all sorts of crazy. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I really appreciated the mother/daughter dynamic between Jackie and Becca. Even though there are undercurrents of friendship, I got the impression that Jackie in no uncertain terms has laid down the groundwork for what she feels is an appropriate relationship to have with her young adult daughter. She knows she needs to let go of the reigns, allowing Becca to live her own life, but she also wants to ensure Becca won’t make the same mistakes she made at her age.

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While trying desperately to protect Becca, Jackie is also struggling with her own indecision. There’s a crossroads looming ahead. Soon, she’ll be living primarily without children, entering a new transitional period of her life. She’s so afraid of doing the wrong thing, of changing the routine she’s grown so accustomed to over the last several years. Should she really pursue such big changes without much of a safety net?

In witnessing the relationship between Becca and Sean, I felt as though Jackie was reliving so much of her own youth, only adding to the chaos and turmoil inside of her. Making it even harder for her to make a decision. And, for Becca, she wants to move forward in life uninhibited. If only there weren’t so many stumbling blocks involved, whether it’s from her mother, or Sean and his family, or the fact that all too soon, she’ll be heading back to the States, while her beau will remain in Ireland.

As the synopsis pointed out, Driving on the Left is for anyone who believes in the power of love, but I also felt it’s for anyone who has been in a situation where they’re teetering right on the edge of self-discovery. Young and young at heart, alike. We’ve all felt the strong pangs of love, of heartbreak. And, most of us cling to strong family ties as much as we can, never wanting to let go, but knowing at some point you have to. It was a sweet read, with the ability to take us back to that point in our lives where we truly felt the craziness of love, in all its forms, and what it can do, or make us do for it.

Originally reviewed for Chick Lit Central

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