I wanted to like this book. It was really promising, with a cross country road trip, estranged family inheritance and mysterious hitchhiker. While it does have all those things, I found it really hard to like any single character. Cora is a rather vapid fashion influencer (ugh) and had it not been 90% from her POV I suspect she would have been even more unlikable. Her husband is borderline controlling as he is constantly gaslighting her about her ability to make the trip and her friend Adele is ungrateful and jealous. Yes, some of that comes up in the twist—more on that in a moment.
After picking up their hitchhiker Gianna things get dicey and I get more involved, until Gianna disappears and they don’t go for any obvious next steps. Cora has Gianna's fathers phone number, why not call him, if she had many things that would have been avoided. Again some of that dopey oversight was needed for the twist, but it made me hate Cora even more.
The trip is really well researched—the author has clearly done a lot of googling or has traveled at least parts of their route, which was fun—to a point. Sometimes it felt a bit like a history lecture when they toured museums.
Then there's the twist. Now I love a twist, but I want it to be something that feels reasonable for the story—and this whole set-up is supposed to be: mysterious hitchhiker and bad-guy boyfriend. Out of nowhere we get a set of chapters from another character's POV where all is revealed and Cora’s life goes to hell. Sure, it makes some of the earlier issues I had make sense, but it all felt like quite a reach. Had I not been over 75% through the book I may have just quit there.
I was also really thrown, after the seemingly well researched trip, to have the ‘million dollar house’ she inherits be what appeared to be a 2 bedroom ranch.
I did like that Cora ended up sticking to her guns in the end and was able to get something from her inheritance other than money, which was a nice move for her, though I wish that depth of personality was shown to us earlier so I would have cared along the way.
Overall, I don't think I wasted my time with this one, but I don't think this author will be a repeat read for me.