Ever wondered what the appeal of those recreational vehicles is as you pass them lumbering along the highway? You'll be tempted to hit the road in one after reading Diann Hunt's RV THERE YET?, a fun road trip featuring three menopausal women with men troubles, a penchant for chocolate, and a burning desire to save their old childhood church camp from closing down.
DeDe, Millie Carter, and Lydia Brady are all alumni of Aspen Creek Bible Camp in Colorado, where memories and friendships were forged that continue to stay with them in midlife, more than three decades later. They embark on a whacky road trip from Maine to the west with a blue and white parakeet named Cobbler in a 15-year-old RV called Waldo. But can three women survive togetherness in close quarters?
All three have men troubles, a staple in chick-lit, although Hunt gives it a midlife spin. Lydia is still grieving the death of her husband just months ago, while Millie is harboring bitterness over her ex. DeDe's phone keeps ringing, and caller ID tells her it's Rob Grant, "the-love-of-my-life-turned-traitor" who she's just found out some new information about, which sours her on the relationship. "The voice that once made my heart flutter when he called me Precious, now makes me think of Gollum on Lord of the Rings, and that's just creepy," she shudders. As they stop at various campgrounds on the way to Colorado, DeDe swears she keeps glimpsing Rob. Could he be stalking her? And does she need to let him tell his side of the story? Back home, there's more trouble: a new chocolate shop has opened, run by a svelte younger woman! How can DeDe's shop, La Diva Chocolates, compete?
As she did in HOT FLASHES AND COLD CREAM, Hunt keeps things light and the patter between the women humorous and sometimes a bit over-the-top. There's a lot of forced chocolate trivia interjected at odd points ("Why, did you know that the Aztecs and Mayans were the first to discover the value of the cocoa plant?") and perhaps too much arguing to feel authentic. Sometimes the dialogue is nonstop and there are a few clichés (about her dead mother, Lydia solemnly intones, "My loss is Heaven's gain.") There are also a few disconnects, as when a man with salt and pepper hair is described a few paragraphs later as barely looking old enough to drive.
But these are small problems in a fun story. As in her previous novel, Hunt knows midlife women and their particular angst. When the three women reach Aspen Bible Camp and are reunited with some of the men from their past, get ready for romance to ignite. Hunt does a good job depicting the funny things that happen when you meet up with friends you haven't seen for three decades --- and don't recognize! And amid the beautiful landscape of the Rocky Mountains, DeDe comes to grips with the fact that her faith of late has not been all it should be. As DeDe reflects, "If I've learned anything on this trip it's that every day is a journey. And one thing I know for sure, the journey is easier when traveling with friends --- well, most of the time." If you're looking for a fun, lightweight summer read, you'll enjoy RV THERE YET?
--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. Contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.