Erica Richards is a suburban housewife who has everything she could ever want - except excitement. A stay-at-home mom of four, Erica and her family live in West Meadow, Long Island. The suburbs. Her daily routine includes a morning workout class (sometimes), shuttling the kids to and from school and other activities, occasionally fielding her sister's latest perceived disaster, and having dinner on the table by the time her husband gets home. If all goes well, that is. If the car hasn't broken down. If there isn't a prior engagement planned. If her husband isn't traveling.
And then her nephew begins acting out and bruises start to appear all over her sister. At Debbie's request, Erica tries to strike up a conversation with her nephew and find out what's going on. But her attempts to help start to turn her life upside down, leaving Erica unsure what to do next.
Wrong Highway is oh, so eighties and I love it! With nods to the era's pop culture, Wendy Gordon's suburban heroine navigates the highways and byways of her life as a mom, a wife, and a woman struggling to stay on the right path. But that "wrong highway" becomes too tempting for Erica to resist.
Erica's frequent reminiscing about her time as a nurse - when faced with her sister's hypochondriac melodrama, when talking to people she feels she needs to validate herself to, even when considering her husband's success - is just one sign of her on discontent. Motherhood is her job and she feels pressure and judgment in that regard when she's amongst her husband's peers, for example. But she's also bored. Her career was challenging and stimulating and that stimulus is missing in her current situation, or so she believes.
Jared, her nephew, offers a release. Something new. And something thrilling. She helps him in covering with his parents, who she makes no bones about losing respect for throughout the story, and ends up using him to find her own excitement.
Of course Erica's dabbling with the dark side starts to catch up to her.
A running subplot of the story is Erica's belief that her sister may be a victim of abuse. I hadn't realized that the set time of the story (1986) was the beginning of domestic violence as an actual legal offense and crime that could finally be punishable by law. Erica's suspicions, founded or not, do lead to her discovering just how difficult making a case for abuse still was, though.
Wrong Highway is a quick and engaging read - and a character driven one for sure, which is usually not my cup of tea. The combination of setting (the eighties) and Erica herself had me completely hooked, though, and hers was a story I definitely wanted to see through to the end.
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here, and for more on Wendy Gordon you can visit her website here. Be sure to check out the playlist she's created for the book - it's sure to put you in the right mood and mindset for this fun debut!
Purchase Links: Amazon | Itasca Books | Barnes & Noble