Book Review: “Hairpin Curves” by Elia Winters

Blurb & Info

(via Goodreads)

Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec… in February. When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.

A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.

As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy. And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Publisher: Carina Adores

Pages: 260

Series: standalone

Review

I mentioned in my December 2020 TBR post that I have never read any romance novels aside from the Twilight series (and I’m not going to brand the entire genre based on my experience reading one series as an adolescent). So, pretty much, I had no idea what to expect when I started reading Hairpin Curves.

Overall, it was a nice read. It was gentle, it was sweet, it was… I don’t want to say boring, because I finished it in two days and didn’t struggle to keep reading, but there was definitely a good deal of blandness to the story that watered down the flavor of my reading experience.

The source of this blandness is the characterization. It took a long time — more than half of the book, actually — for me to feel that Megan and Scarlett were “real” people and not just slapped-together collections of stereotypes. Scarlett is the outgoing, impulsive one, and Megan is the introverted, steady, stuck-in-her-routines one. That’s all they are for over 50% of Hairpin Curves. However, after that midway point the two women start to open up to each other (and the reader) about who they really are and why they act they way they do, and then they become more complex and likeable. If they had been complex right from the start of the novel, I think I would have been much more entranced with this book.

There is also a lot of back-and-forth with how Megan and Scarlett feel toward each other. Some of this is jarring and feels odd and unrealistic — Scarlett complains how everything about Megan and Megan’s life is “beige” and “boring” one minute, and then mentally describes her as cute the next, for example.

The main conflict of Hairpin Curves is Megan and Scarlett’s journey towards a resolution for their feelings for each other, but there is nothing else. Megan has a brother, but other than that neither of the two main characters are mentioned as having friends or family (aside from the one friend who kickstarts the plot by inviting them to the wedding). Like the characterization, their hobbies and any concerns/interests not focused on the other person were only fleshed out after the midway point. I found this grating, since it made the characters feel closer to one-dimensional and not really developed.

The writing, however, was definitely enjoyable if not particularly flashy, and I liked the little adventures and moments of humor Scarlett and Megan got to share during their road trip. I really appreciated how they weren’t just in lust with each other, but really did repair their broken friendship and take the first steps towards individual positive growth.

⭐⭐/5


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