"The Amazing Race" meets Around the World in 80 Days as a woman desperate to save her family bookstore falls for her competition.
Born and raised in New York City, Ramona Keene dreams of attending photography school and traveling to Paris, but her reality never quite catches up with her imagination. Instead, she works at her uncles' quaint bookstore, where the tea is plentiful and all the adventures are between the covers of secondhand books. But when the new landlord arrives with his Evil Nephew in tow, Romy's quiet life comes crashing down. He plans to triple the rent, something her uncles can't afford.
In order to earn the money to help save the bookstore, Romy applies for a job at ExLibris Expeditions, a company that re-creates literary journeys. Romy snags the oddest internship ever: retrace Phileas Fogg's journey from Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days and plan a suitable, contemporary adventure for a client. The task is close to impossible; sticking to the original route means no commercial aircraft permitted, and she's got a lot less than eighty days to work with. Shaking off her fear of leaving home, Romy takes on the challenge, only to discover she's got competition. Worse, Dominic Madison turns out to be the - unfortunately hot - nephew of her family's worst enemy.
Can Romy win the race and circle the globe in time to save the bookstore? And what happens when she starts to fall for the very person who may just be the death of her dreams?
This book is the slow burn romance between Ramona and Dominic...and it's also a slow burn romance between Ramona and travel, adventure, and being willing to trust herself in different places and situations.
I think that is what really drew me to this one, more than anything, the idea of travel. I am not going to lie, travel is my happy place. I am never more alive than when I am planning a trip, or deciding where we are going next, or on the plane, or in a new place (or even one I have been to before but wanted to see again. So, 2020 has been a rough one. Heck, as I am writing this, the State Department *just* removed their 4th level warning on leaving the country, although most of the world is still blocked to US travelers. But, enough about the disaster that is 2020.
Traveling with Ramona, well, it was an adventure and I can't lie it was good for me, and for her, and for the people who met her.
I loved the loosely based idea of travel based on novels and the recreation of the trip even thought it was not able to be 100% recreated.
I also enjoyed the relationship that she developed with Dom as she got to know him better in rooms in Mumbai, on trains, on a rather notable helicopter ride...through all of it, I liked that you watched Ramona open up as "New Romy" and as she opened up to the new her, and to new experiences, she was more willing to let Dom in, and I loved that opening up of her as a person.
I think, as the author says at the end, travel opens you up to so many things that are different, to new experiences and to new ways of seeing the same things, and I loved that you got to take that journey.
I enjoyed and recommend this title...especially for anyone who is more than ready to leave their house, even if it's still from the comfort of your favorite reading spot.
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